Other destructive agencies were epidemics, such especially as measles and small-pox, which swept away 30,000 Fijians in 1875; the introduction of strong drinks, including, besides vile spirits, a most pernicious concoction brewed in Tahiti from oranges; Maori Religion and Mythology, p. 26.
The Fijians are a people of Melanesian (Papuan) stock much crossed with Polynesians (Tongans and Samoans).
The Fijians have other characteristics of both Pacific races, e.g.
If less readily amenable to civilizing influences than their neighbours to the eastward, the Fijians show greater force of character and ingenuity.
The Fijians were formerly notorious for cannibalism, which may have had its origin in religion, but long before the first contact with Europeans had degenerated into gluttony.
The Fijians combined with this greediness a savage and merciless natures.
Affection and a firm belief in a future state, in which the exact condition of the dying is continued, are the Fijians' own explanations of the custom, once universal, of killing sick or aged relatives.
Yet in spite of this savagery the Fijians have always been remarkable for their hospitality, open-handedness and courtesy.
The former religion of the Fijians was a sort of ancestorworship, had much in common with the creeds of Polynesia, and included a belief in a future existence.
The weapons of the Fijians are spears, slings, throwing clubs and bows and arrows.
Fijians are fond of amusements.
The Fijians show no disposition to intermarry with the Indian coolies.
With the introduction of coolies the Fijians began to fall behind in the development of their country.
Thomson, The Fijians (London, 1908).