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Customary Land Tenure in Fiji: a Questionable Colonial Legacy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that the Fijian land tenure system, an inheritance of colonization needs to be re-examined especially in so far as it may be significantly contributory to the Fiji's political and economic problems. It discusses a comparative analysis of the colonial experience in Jamestown and Plymouth colonies in 17th century America because these experiences provide contrasts and parallels with later colonial developments in Fiji. The study of the evolution of the land tenure systems at the colonial settlements of Jamestown and Plymouth offer evidence for the view that institutionalized collective ownership is an imposed construct that appears at variance with a more ?natural? tendency towards individual property. If one looks for an explanation for the economic under-performance among indigenous Fijians certainly the colonial legacy, the institutionalized communal land tenure system, deserves attention.

Keywords: colonial legacy; communal ownership; Fijian land tenure system; Jamestown colonies; Plymouth colonies



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