A group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Fiji was a British colony from 1874 to 1970 when it became an independent dominion within the British Commonwealth. Since independence, tensions have run high between native Fijians and the descendents of Indians brought to the islands as contract laborers in the 19th century. A 1990 constitution favored native Fijians, who comprise 49 percent of the population, but who control 83 percent of Fiji's land. In July 1997, it was amended to afford more equitable rights to the Indian Fijians.