Fiji in Alaska

Ratu Asesela Robanakadavu (right) pictured here in a photo dated from the early 1900s in Alaska. Picture: CANADIAN MUSEUM OF HISTORY

TRUTH is stranger than fiction.

Revelations have surfaced about the extraordinary tale of a young Fijian chief, who set out on a voyage to the northernmost part of the Earth, where he lived among the Inuit (Eskimo) people and had an island and a harbour named after Fiji and him.

Ratu Asesela had set out on a voyage half a world away to the Arctic in the late 1890s at a time when cannibalism and tribal wars were rife in his home country.

Documents revealed he took part in the historic scientific expedition of the Arctic Circle between 1913 and 1918 and when he died, the Inuit of Paulatuk named an island after our country Fiji and a harbour after him.

Little “Fiji Island” is located in the Northwest Territories in Canada, while the south anchorage of the island, is called Jim Fiji Harbour in memory of the Fijian chief, who was fondly known by the Inuit as Jim Fiji.

Ratu Asesela hailed from Nakoronawa Village in the district of Nakasaleka, Kadavu.

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