Geographical Location and Population
Levuka is a town on the eastern coast of the Fijian island of Ovalau, in Lomaiviti Province, in the Eastern Division of Fiji. It was formerly the Capital of Fiji.
The town was planned by the British engineers and 3 years after cession, the town ordinance of 1877 was passed giving Levuka residence the right to govern the town.
The township is situated on the eastern coast of Ovalau, in the Lomaiviti Province, in the Eastern Division of Fiji. 17.6840° South and 178.8401°East.
Formerly the capital of Fiji, Levuka is situated on a narrow strip of land between the sea and the steep hills on the eastern side of the island. Levuka developed as an entreport and commercial centre for Fiji in the 1860’s amidst political turmoil. On October 1874, Fiji was ceded to Great Britain and Levuka became the capital. The Government administration was shifted to Suva in 1881 and Levuka’s economy waned. The urban population is 1,131 and peri-urban 3,266.
The first capital of Fiji, Levuka was founded as a whaling settlement in 1830. The cotton boom in the 1860’s brought new settlers, and groups of businessmen followed as the cotton, coconut and tea trades flourished in the surrounding islands. Levuka grew into the hub of the South Pacific until Suva was established as the capital in 1877.
The port town of Levuka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a rare example of a late colonial port town that was influenced in its development by the indigenous community which continued to outnumber the European settlers.
Intangible Cultural Heritage
The town and its low line of buildings set among coconut and mango trees along the beach front was the first colonial capital of Fiji, ceded to the British in 1874.
It developed from the early 19th century as a centre of commercial activity by Americans and Europeans who built warehouses, stores, port facilities, residences, and religious, educational and social institutions around the villages of the South Pacific island’s indigenous population.
It is a rare example of a late colonial port town that was influenced in its development by the indigenous community which continued to outnumber the European settlers.
Thus the town, an outstanding example of late 19th century Pacific port settlements, reflects the integration of local building traditions by a supreme naval power, leading to the emergence of a unique landscape.