Lautoka is the second largest city of Fiji.
It is in the west of the island of Viti Levu, 24 kilometers north of Nadi, and is capital of the Western Division of Fiji.
Covering an area of 1607 square kilometers, it had a population of 42,917 at the 1996 census, the last held to date.
Lautoka is known as the Sugar City because of its cane belt areas.
The main Lautoka Sugar Mill is the city's biggest employer by far.
Built for the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) by imported labourers from India and the Solomon Islands between 1899 and 1903, it hires some 1300 employees today. Other industries include timber milling, garment manufacturing, distillery, brewery, jewellery, blending, steelworks, fishing, hatchery, domestic items, paints, and construction.
The name of the city is derived from two Fijian words meaning "spear hit."
According to an oral tradition, the name arose following a duel between two chiefs.
As one speared the other, he was reported to have cried "Lau-toka!"
The first known European sighting of the Lautoka area took place on 7 May 1789.
Captain William Bligh spotted and roughly charted the coasts of Lautoka while making his epic voyage to Timor, in the wake of the Mutiny on the Bounty in which he and a few sailors loyal to him were thrown overboard and cast adrift on a life boat.
Incorporated as a town in 1929, Lautoka was proclaimed a city on 25 February 1977.
It is governed by a 16-member city council, who elect from among themselves a Mayor.
Bijesh Chand of the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) was elected Mayor in 2005, succeeding Rajendra Goundar, also of the FLP.
Chand later left the party, however, and constested the municipal elections of October-November 2005 as an independent candidate.
He lost his seat.
The FLP won 12 seats and the United Fiji Party (SDL) 4.
Lautoka is the capital of Fiji's Western Division, which contains more than 50 percent of the nation's population.
It is also the headquarters of the Fiji Electrical Authority, the Fiji Pine Commission, and the National Marketing Authority.
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This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lautoka) July 2006
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This information was correct in July 2006. E. & O.E.
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