The British raised this unit in 1900 but they had already acted as a bodyguard to King Thakombau in 1871/2. They took part in a campaign in 1875/6 against cannibals in the hills of Viti Lavu together with Royal Engineers. The British commander, Sir Arthur Gordon was criticised for taking action without consulting the colonial military authority. But the campaign was a success and the Fijians were highly praised for their conduct.
They also volunteered to fight in the civil war on Samoa in 1898/9 but were not used. The opposing forces were supporters of rival candidates for the throne. Britain and the USA supported one side, Germany the other.
In 1900 they were formed into the Fiji Volunteers. They were commanded by a British officer and three native officers and numbered around 25 men. By 1902 their title was the Fiji Armed Constabulary. Their duties involved dealing with outbreaks of lawlessness amongst the island tribes and defend the island from invasion.