Fiji (Fijian: Viti; Fiji Hindi: फ़िजी Phījī), officially the Imperial Dominion of Fiji, is an island country of the British Empire in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) northeast of New Zealand's North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand's Kermadec Islands to the southeast, Tonga to the east, the Samoas and Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, and the Gilbert and Ellice Islands to the north.
The country comprises an archipelago of more than 332 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of circa 18,300 square kilometres (7,100 sq mi). The farthest island is Onu-i-Lau. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population of almost 860,000. The capital and largest city, Suva, is on Viti Levu. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu's coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres like Nadi (tourism) or Lautoka (sugar cane industry). Viti Levu's interior is sparsely inhabited due to its terrain.
The majority of Fiji's islands were formed through volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago. Today, some geothermal activity still occurs on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Fiji has been inhabited since the second millennium BC. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch and the British explored Fiji. Britain ruled Fiji as a Crown Colony from 1874 until 1938, when the Empire Act raised its status to be equal with the rest of the British Empire. During World War II, thousands of Fijians volunteered to aid in Allied efforts via their attachment to the New Zealand and Australian army units.
Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific island realm due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. Epeli Nailatikau has been the Premier of Fiji since 2006.