Australasia 1865: Fijian Confederacy

Facing political instability, rising Tongan influence, and debt, Cakobau, ruler of Bau and the paramount Fijian chief, attempted to cede Fiji to Britain in 1858 in return for recognition of his position, but was rejected by the Colonial Office. Instead the British Consul encouraged the Fijian chiefs to unite as a confederacy in 1865. Mildly successful at first, the Fijian Confederacy collapsed within two years due to opposition from the powerful Tongan prince Ma‘afu.

Main Events

17 Dec 1864–17 Jan 1866 Raupatu

In November 1863 the New Zealand Settlements Bill was introduced to allow for the opening of ‘rebel’ Māori tribal land for settlement. In December 1864, January 1865, and January 1866 Governor George Grey signed proclamations authorizing the confiscation of 1.3 million hectares of land in the Waikato, Taranaki, and Bay of Plenty. Pro-government Māori lost almost as much as those who had resisted, although some land was eventually returned or paid wikipedia

16 Feb–? May 1865 La Grange expedition

In November 1864 three settlers disappeared while exploring the land around La Grange Bay in the Kimberley region of the British colony of Western Australia. When news reached Perth, a search party was sent out under the leadership of Maitland Brown in February 1865. Shortly after discovering that the lost men had been killed by Aborigines, the party encountered and killed as many as 20 Aborigines in what some consider a punitive raid, before returning wikipedia

2 Mar 1865–12 Oct 1866 East Cape War

In early 1865 Pai Mārire prophets from Taranaki, New Zealand, travelled to the East Coast, successfully converting many Māori who were disaffected by the New Zealand Wars and land confiscation. Inspired by the extremist Hauhau teachings of Pai Mārire, Māori killed missionary Carl Volkner at Opotiki, eating his eyes and carrying his severed head around the country as a symbol of resistance. Despite mounting attacks ranging from the Bay of Plenty to Napier, the so-called Hauhau were soon suppressed by the colonial government and their Māori wikipedia

9 Apr 1865 Surrender of Robert E Lee

Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending American Civil wikipedia

8–9 May 1865 Fijian Confederacy

Under the encouragement of Henry Mitchell Jones, British Consul in the Fiji and Tonga Islands, the chiefs of Bau, Rewa, Cakaudrove, Macuata, Bua, Naduri, and Lakeba met at Levuka on Ovalau island to establish a Confederacy of Independent Kingdoms of Viti (Fiji). The chiefs agreed to meet every year and nominated Cakobau, chief of Bau and paramount chief of Fiji, as president. Although invited, the Tongan prince Ma‘afu arrived at the end of the meeting, after everything had been signed and the chiefs were leaving. Given Ma‘afu’s dominance in eastern Fiji, this boded ill for the wikipedia