THEY live in various parts of Fiji but they are a very closely knit community.
And they are proud to call the country their forefathers opted to live in as their home.
Despite the circumstances in which their forefathers were brought to Fiji more than a century ago, this group of people have blended in well with the iTaukei population.
They are the descendants of the 'stolen people' - those who were brought to Fiji from the Solomon Islands either by force or were tricked into coming here.
Since time immemorial, there have been inter-marriages between the Solomon men and iTaukei women but the blood links to the Solomon Islands remain.
Apart from the Solomon islanders, men from New Hebrides, now Vanuatu, were also brought to Fiji during the labour trade, starting in 1865.
They were also taken to Queensland in Australia to work in plantations there.
The descendants of those brought to Fiji from the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have a close bond among them, with an association also formed to look into their interests.
What has been noted by this newspaper during visits to settlements occupied by the Solomon descendants is that they have a common story.
It is about how their forefathers were brought to Fiji, whom they married, where they moved to within the country and where they died, leaving behind a legacy.
To look into the interests of the descendants of those brought to Fiji during the blackbirding era, the Fiji Melanesian Community Development Association was formed in 1988.
"Our mission is to improve the quality of life for all community members and encourage sustainable growth development," said association president Rupeni Oli.
"We aim to promote a spirit of mutual respect, co-operation and understanding amongst the community members irrespective of their religious followings.
"Also, we want to foster belongingness amongst a race living in a multiracial society and promote the material, cultural, social, educational and recreational welfare of members."
Mr Oli said the association's objective was also to secure the establishment of a permanent and recognised machinery for negotiations with outside institutions in matters affecting the association members.
He said the association also aimed to regulate relations and settle disputes between members by amicable agreements whenever possible, and raise funds for provision of better communication with association members.
"To improve the quality of life of our members, we have to ensure that parents and children are sensitised to the importance of education.
"Our emphasis is on education because we believed that only through education will the association members be able to get good jobs and move on with their lives."
Mr Oli said the descendants of people brought to Fiji from the Solomon Islands, especially from Malaita province, were scattered all over the country.
But, the association does not have any data on the exact number of Solomon descendants, those who have direct blood links to the islands.
"However, we are a very closely knit community and we all know our connections throughout Fiji. Some have even traced their roots to the Solomon Islands.
"The settlements of Solomon descendants are scattered all over Fiji, even in Vanua Levu and Ovalau. The only thing is the distance but we meet once every year or when there's a death or some function in one of the settlements."
Mr Oli said the message was often relayed to the Solomon descendants if there was a death in one of the settlements or some function.
He said some of the descendants had traced their roots to the Solomon Islands, mainly in Malaita province, where most of the labourers came from.
"The majority of the Solomon descendants live on parcels of land around the country and most are squatting. Some are doing farming in the interior places.
"Some of us still believe that we can't achieve anything but we can if we try to. In fact, we should try to make an attempt."
Mr Oli said some of the Solomon descendants were living on land given to them by landowners on goodwill.
He said there was uncertainty on what would happen to the Solomon descendants in Wailoku, outside Suva City, when the land leased for them by the Anglican Church expires in 2040.
The blackbirding era began in Fiji in 1865 when the first New Hebridean and Solomon Island labourers arrived in Fiji to work on cotton plantations.
Cotton had become scarce, and potentially an extremely profitable business, when the American Civil War blocked most cotton exports from the southern United States.
"Since Fijians were not interested in regular sustained labour, the thousands of European planters who flocked to Fiji sought labour from the Melanesian islands," says the free online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia.
On July 5, 1865, Ben Pease received the first licence to provide 40 labourers from the New Hebrides to Fiji.
Attempts were made by the British and Queensland Governments to regulate this transportation of labour.
Melanesian labourers were to be recruited for three years, paid three pounds per year, issued with basic clothing and given access to the company store for supplies.
Despite this, most Melanesians were recruited by deceit, usually being enticed aboard ships with gifts and then locked up.
The living and working conditions in Fiji were even worse than those suffered by the later Indian indentured labourers.
In 1875, the chief medical officer in Fiji, Sir William MacGregor, listed a mortality rate of 540 out of every 1000 labourers.
After the expiry of the three-year contract, the labourers were required to be transported back to their villages but most ship captains dropped them off at the first island they sighted off the Fiji waters, according to the Wikipedia.
The British sent warships to enforce the law (Pacific Islanders' Protection Act of 1872) but only a small proportion of the culprits were prosecuted.
A notorious incident of the blackbirding trade was the 1871 voyage of the brig Carl, that was organised by Dr James Patrick Murray to recruit labourers to work in the plantations of Fiji. Murray had his men reverse their collars and carry black books, so to appear to be missionaries.
When islanders were enticed to congregate, Murray and his men would produce guns and force the islanders onto boats.
During the voyage, Murray shot about 60 islanders.
He was never brought to trial for his actions as he was allowed to escape trial by giving evidence against crew members.
The captain of the Carl, Joseph Armstrong, was later sentenced to death.
With the arrival of Indian indentured labourers in Fiji from 1879, the number of Melanesian labourers decreased but they were still being recruited and employed, off the plantations in sugar mills and ports, until the start of the First World War.
Mr Oli said he also visited Queensland in 2009 and made attempts to look for the descendants of his forefathers.
But unfortunately, his research stalled after he changed jobs and all contacts had been lost.
However, he aims to do further research to find out if he has relatives living in Queensland too.