Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau Tui Viti  93
- Born: Abt 1815, Lakeba, Lau Island Group, Fiji, Pacific Islands
- Marriage (1): Adi Litia Samanunu  [LVWG-ZW2] in 1833 in Fiji, Pacific Islands 93
- Marriage (2): Adi Salote Qalirea Kaunilotuna  about 1852
- Died: 1 Feb 1883, Bau, Tailevu, Fiji, Pacific Islands about age 68
Another name for Seru was Ratu Cakobau.
FamilySearch ID: LVWG-CTX.
Ratu Seru Cakobau was born in Nairai island (Kabuna) and raised up in Gau island.
The Kingdom of Fiji, also known as the Kingdom of Viti, was a short-lived monarchy in Fiji . It existed from 1871 to 1874, with Seru Epenisa Cakobau as king.
The Kingdom of Fiji was the first unified Fijian state, and it covered all of modern Fiji, except the island of Rotuma . Cakobau was the Vunivalu (Warlord or Paramount Chief) of the island of Bau . His father, Tanoa Visawaqa , had conquered the Burebasaga Confederacy and subdued much of western Fiji. Cakobau consolidated control of the Fijian Islands and declared himself King of Fiji (Fijian : Tui Viti). This met with opposition from other chiefs, who regarded him as at best first among equals . However, in June 1871, John Bates Thurston , the British honorary consul, persuaded the Fijian chiefs to accept a constitutional monarchy with Cakobau as king, but with real power in the hands of a cabinet and legislature dominated by Australian settlers. The Legislative Assembly met for the first time in Levuka in November 1871.
Within months, government overspending had led to the accumulation of unmanageable debt. In 1872, following continuing economic and social unrest, Thurston approached the British government, at Cakobau's request, with an offer to cede the islands. Two British commissioners were sent to Fiji to investigate the possibility of an annexation. The question was complicated by manoeuvrings for power between Cakobau and his old rival, Ma'afu , with both men vacillating for many months. On 21 March 1874, Cakobau made a final offer, which the British accepted. On 23 September, Sir Hercules Robinson , soon to be appointed the British Governor , arrived on HMS Dido and received Cakobau with a royal 21-gun salute. After some vacillation, Cakobau agreed to renounce his Tui Viti title. On 10 October 1874, Cakobau, Ma'afu, and a group of some senior Chiefs of Fiji signed two copies of a Deed of Cession establishing the Colony of Fiji , which lasted for almost a century.
Cakobau died on February 1st., 1803. Brewster writes (pp.282-3): "It was usual, when the High Chiefs of Fiji died, for one of the ships of the Australian Squadron to come down to the Islands to bury them with ceremonial honours. As, however, King Thakombau eied during the hurricane months no ship could be despatched until the stormy season was over, and so he was placed in a coffin filled with lime. The months of February and March passed away, but about the middle of the latter month a great meteor exploded over Viti Levu. I both saw and heard it, and its noise was truly terrific. The natives said it was the spirit of the old King expressing his indignation at the long time he had been left unburied. In April 1993, H.M.S. Espiegle arrived, with Captain Acland in command.
Under his guidance, King Thakombau was buried with great pomp and ceremony. The gus of the Espiegle fired the last salute, and large sheets of black cloth were swayed up to the yard-arms. Then, at a given signal, they were cut loose and fell into the sea, where hundreds of men were waiting, according to Fijian custom, to swim ashore with them and carry them up to the grave, over which the Last Post was sounded."
Fiji during the time of Cakobau From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The first three quarters of the 19th century were marked by tribal warfare, incursions from neighbouring Tonga , and the increasing encroachment of foreign powers. This period also saw the rise of a warlord by the name of Seru Epenisa Cakobau , who forged the first nation-state covering all of modern Fiji (except the island of Rotuma ) in 1871, before ceding it to the United Kingdom in 1874.
Tribal warfare and Tongan intrusions
In the early 1820s, Levuka was established as the first modern town in Fiji, on the island of Ovalau . The intervention of European traders and missionaries, of whom the first arrived from Tahiti in 1830, led to increasingly serious wars among the native Fijian confederacies . Supplied with weapons by Swedish mercenary Charlie Savage , Ratu Tanoa Visawaqa , the Vunivalu (a chiefly title meaning Warlord, often translated also as Paramount Chief) of Bau Island , defeated the much larger Burebasaga Confederacy and succeeded in subduing much of western Fiji. His successor, Seru Epenisa Cakobau , fought to consolidate Bauan domination throughout the 1850s and 1860s, and started calling himself the Tui Viti , or King of Fiji. He faced opposition, however, from local chiefs who saw him at best as first among equals , and also from the Tongan Prince Enele Ma'afu , who had established himself on the Island of Lakeba in the Lau archipelago in 1848. A Christian, Ma'afu brought Wesleyan missionaries from Tonga, and the Methodist Church gained its first foothold in Fiji. Most chiefs in the west regarded the Wesleyan missionaries, aligned as they were seen to be with Ma'afu, as a threat to their power, refused conversion, and resisted missionary attempts to set up outposts in their villages.
Trouble with the United States[edit ]
Cakobau's claimed position was also undermined by international developments. The United States threatened intervention following a number of incidents involving their consul , John Brown Williams . His trading store had been looted by Fijian natives following an accidental fire, caused by stray cannon fire during a Fourth of July celebration in 1849. When his Nukulau Island house was subjected to an arson attack in 1855, the commander of the United States naval frigate USS John Adams demanded compensation amounting to US$5000 for Williams from Cakobau, as the Tui Viti. This initial claim was supplemented by further claims totalling US$38,531. Cakobau was faced with a dilemma. To disclaim responsibility for the debt, he would have to deny his self-proclaimed and still far-from-universally accepted sovereignty. To admit responsibility, he would have to undertake to pay the debt, or else face punishment from the United States Navy. He chose the latter course, hoping that the United States was only bluffing.
Reality began to catch up with Cakobau in 1858, when the USS Vandalia sailed into Levuka. Unable to pay his debt, and faced with increasing encroachments onto Viti Levu's south coast from Ma'afu, Cakobau approached the British consul with an offer to cede the islands to the United Kingdom, if only they would assume responsibility for his debt in return for 5,000 square kilometres of land. His insistence, however, on being allowed to retain his questionable title of Tui Viti proved unacceptable to the British government, which turned his offer down after four years of consideration in 1862. This followed a report from Colonel W.J. Smythe , who had come to the conclusion, after interviewing every Paramount Chief in Fiji, that Cakobau's title was self-assumed and by no means universally accepted by his fellow chiefs, and that he did not have the authority to cede the islands.
The Kingdom of Fiji[edit ]
Main article: Kingdom of Fiji
Cakobau next turned to the Australian -based (the Commonwealth of Australia didn't exist until 1 Jan 1901) Polynesia Company . The rising price of cotton in the wake of the American Civil War (1861-1865) had interested the Polynesia Company in acquiring land in Fiji for planting. In return for 5,000 km², the company agreed to pay Cakobau's debt. Australian settlers landed on 575 km2 (222 sq mi) of land in Viti Levu, near what was then a Fijian village called Suva , in 1868.
The Polynesia Company settlers were joined by a further several thousand planters throughout the 1860s and 1870s. Often fraudulently, they obtained Fijian land, often in exchange for weapons or alcohol. Competing land claims followed, with no unified government to settle the disputes. Frustrations peaked following the collapse of cotton prices and the destruction of the crop by hurricanes in 1870. In June 1871, John Bates Thurston , the British honorary consul, forged a "marriage of convenience" between Cakobau and the settlers, and persuaded the Fijian chiefs to accept a constitutional monarchy with Cakobau as king, but with real power in the hands of a cabinet and Legislature dominated by settlers. The Legislative Assembly met for the first time in Levuka in November 1871.
Cession to the United Kingdom
The new arrangements proved no more workable than the old. Within months, government overspending had led to the accumulation of another unmanageable debt. In 1872, following continuing economic and social unrest, Thurston approached the British government, at Cakobau's request, with another offer to cede the islands. The British were much more sympathetic to annexing Fiji this time than they had been almost two decades earlier. The murder of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson of the Melanesian Mission at Nukapu in the Reef Islands had provoked public outrage, which was compounded by the massacre by crew members of more than 150 Fijians on board the brig Carl. Two British commissioners were sent to Fiji to investigate the possibility of an annexation. The question was complicated by manoeuvrings for power between Cakobau and his old rival, Ma'afu , with both men vacillating for many months. On 21 March 1874, Cakobau made a final offer, which the British accepted. On 23 September, Sir Hercules Robinson , soon to be appointed the British Governor , arrived on HMS Dido and received Cakobau with a royal 21-gun salute. After some vacillation, Cakobau agreed to renounce his Tui Viti title. The formal cession took place on 10 October 1874, when Cakobau, Ma'afu, and a group of some senior Chiefs of Fiji signed two copies of the Deed of Cession . Ninety-six years of British rule followed.
Ratu Epenisa Seru Cakobau [King Cakobau], 1st and last Tui Viti (King of Fiji) 1871/1874, 6th Vunivalu of Bau 1852/1883, President of the General Assembly, Confederacy of Independent Kingdoms of Viti 1865/1867, 1st and last Tui Bau 1867/1869, born 1815 in Lakeba, converted to Christianity in 1854, taking the name of Epenisa (Ebenezer); a Confederacy of Independent Kingdoms of Viti was established in 1865, with him as Chairman of the General Assembly, in 1869 the confederacy split into the Kingdom of Bau and the Confederation of Lau, with Cakobau assuming kingship of the former, he succeeded in creating a united Fijian kingdom in 1871, and established Levuka as his capital, he ceded the Fijian islands to Britain in October 1874 to counter a perceived American threat of annexation; married 1stly, Adi Litia Samanunu, daughter of the Roko Tui Bau, married 2ndly, Adi Salote Qalirea Kaunilotuna, sister of the first wife, and had issue. He died February 1883.
Noted events in his life were:
Acceded: Vunivalu of Bau, 1852. Vunivalu of Bau (1852-1883)
Conversion: To Christianity, 1854, Fiji, Pacific Islands. Ratu Cakabau converted to Christianity in 1854 (Lotu)
converted to Christianity in 1854, taking the name of Epenisa (Ebenezer)
Acceded: President, 1865, Fiji, Pacific Islands. President of the General Assembly, Confederacy of Independent Kingdoms of Viti 1865/1867
a Confederacy of Independent Kingdoms of Viti was established in 1865, with him as Chairman of the General Assembly, in 1869 the confederacy split into the Kingdom of Bau and the Confederation of Lau, with Cakobau assuming kingship of the former
Acceded: Tui Bau, 1867, Bau, Tailevu, Fiji, Pacific Islands. 1st and last Tui Bau 1867/1869
Crowned: King of Fiji, 1871. When the first modern nation state of Fiji was founded in 1871, Seru Epenisa Cakobau was crowned King at Levuka.
Tui Viti 1871/1874
he succeeded in creating a united Fijian kingdom in 1871, and established Levuka as his capital,
Ceded Fiji to Great Britain, 10 Oct 1874, Levuka, Ovalau Island, Lomaiviti Province, Eastern Division, Fiji. At the southern end of the town lies the village of Nasova , where the King Seru Epenisa Cakobau signed the Deed of Cession , ceding the islands to Great Britain on 10 October 1874.
he ceded the Fijian islands to Britain in October 1874 to counter a perceived American threat of annexation
Seru married Adi Litia Samanunu  [LVWG-ZW2] [MRIN: 104], daughter of Roko Tui Bau  and Unknown, in 1833 in Fiji, Pacific Islands.93 (Adi Litia Samanunu  [LVWG-ZW2] was born about 1815 in Fiji, Pacific Islands and died before 1914 in Fiji, Pacific Islands.)
Seru next married Adi Salote Qalirea Kaunilotuna  [MRIN: 551619289] about 1852.