Suva is the capital of Fiji.
It is located on the southeast coast of the island of Viti Levu, in the division of Central Fiji, which it is also the capital of.
Suva became the capital of Fiji in 1877 when the geography of former main Kaivalagi (European) settlement at Levuka on the island of Ovalau proved too restrictive.
At the 1996 census, the last to date, the city of Suva had a population of 77,366.
Including independent suburbs, the population of the Greater Suva urban area was 167,975 at the same census.
Suva is the commercial and political centre of Fiji, and the largest city in the South Pacific outside of Australia and New Zealand.
It is Fiji's main port city and was the host of the 2003 South Pacific Games.
Although Suva is on a peninsula, and almost surrounded by sea, the nearest beach is 40 kilometers (25 mi) away at Pacific Harbour, and the nearby coast is lined by mangroves.
A significant part of the city centre, including the old Parliament Buildings, is built on reclaimed mangrove swamp.
Suva is noted for its considerable rainfall.
Although it is not as wet as Pohnpei, the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia, it has a markedly higher rainfall than Nadi and the western side of Viti Levu, which is known to Suva citizens as "the burning west".
Fiji's tallest building, Suva Central, has been recently completed and stands 24.6 meters (81 ft) taller than the Reserve Bank of Fiji Building.
Suva Central is currently the tallest building in the Pacific Islands region, is located near the old Morris Hedstrom store.
Another well-known landmark is the Suva City Library, built in 1909 and financed by the Scottish-American steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie.
The government buildings complex occupies what was once the bed of a swampy creek.
This was drained in 1935 and over five kilometers of reinforced concrete pilings were rooted in the creek bed to support the massive buildings that were to be erected.
After the foundation stone was laid in 1937, the building was completed in 1939; a new wing was completed in 1967.
Parliament, however, was moved to a new complex on Ratu Sukuna Road in 1992.
Government House was formerly the residence of Fiji's colonial Governors and, following independence in 1970, Governors-General.
It is now the official residence of Fiji's President.
Originally erected in 1882, it had to be rebuilt in 1928, following its destruction by lightning in 1921.
The Suva campus of the University of the South Pacific (USP) occupies what was once a New Zealand seaplane base.
It is the largest of the many USP campuses dotted throughout the South Pacific.
The Fiji Museum, located in the Thurston Gardens, was founded in 1904 and originally occupied the old town hall, but moved to its present location in 1954.
The museum houses the most extensive collection of Fijian artifacts in the world, and is also a research and educational institution, specializing in archeology, the preservation of Fiji's oral tradition, and the publication of material on Fiji's language and culture.
Suva has about 78 parks.
These include the new Takashi Suzuki Garden and the Thurston Gardens.
Opened in 1913, the Thurston Gardens are replete with flora from throughout the South Pacific.
Apted Park, at Suva Point, is a well-known spot for viewing sunrise and sunset.
Demographics of Suva
Suva is a multiracial and multicultural city.
Indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians, the two principal ethnic groups of Fiji, comprise the bulk of Suva's population, but the city is also home to the majority of Fiji's ethnic minority populations, which include Caucasians and Chinese, among others.
The majority of expatriates working in Fiji are also based in Suva.
The most widely spoken language is English, but Fijian, Hindustani, and other Indian languages are also spoken by their respective communities.
Suva is host to more international and regional intergovernmental agencies and NGOs than any other Pacific Island capital, to the considerable chagrin of some other capitals (the staff of these agencies have considerable spending power).
The TRAFFIC Oceania South Pacific Programme, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is located in Suva, in the offices of the WWF South Pacific Programme.
The programme assists in the implementation of CITES, but also strengthens collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund.
The Fiji School of Medicine, which is now classed as a regional agency and a member of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific, and the main campus of the University of the South Pacific are in Suva.
Suva also hosts the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission.
Suva has municipal status and is governed by a Lord Mayor and a 20-member city council, which is controlled by the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua following elections on 12 November 2005.
The current Lord Mayor is Ratu Peni Volavola.
In return for a promise to pay off debts owed to the United States by the Bauan chieftain, Seru Epenisa Cakobau, the Australian-based Polynesia Company was granted 5000 kmē of land, 575 kmē of it near what was then the village of Suva, in 1868.
The original intention was to develop a cotton farming industry, but the land and climate proved unsuitable.
Following the annexation of the Fiji Islands by the United Kingdom in 1874, the colonial authorities decided to move the capital to Suva from Levuka in 1877.
The transfer was made official in 1882.
Colonel F.E. Pratt of the Royal Engineers was appointed Surveyor-General in 1875 and designed the new capital, assisted by W. Stephens and Colonel R.W. Stewart.
Following the promulgation of the Municipal Constitution Ordinance of 1909, Suva acquired municipal status in 1910.
The town initially comprised one square mile; these boundaries remained intact until 1952 when the Muanikau and Samabula wards were annexed, expanding its territory to 13 square kilometers.
In October that year, Suva was proclaimed a City - Fiji's first.
Tamavua was subsequently annexed; the most recent extension of the city boundaries has been to incorporate the Cunningham area to the north of the city.
Urban sprawl has resulted in a number of suburbs that remain outside of the city limits; together with the city itself, they form a metropolitan area known as the Greater Suva Area.
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This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suva) July 2006
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This information was correct in July 2006. E. & O.E.
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