Vanuatu - Encyclopedia Information
Official name Republic of Vanuatu
Formation 1980 / 1980
Capital Port Vila
Population 200,000 / 42 people per sq mile (16 people per sq km)
Total area 4710 sq. miles (12,200 sq. km)
Languages Bislama* (Melanesian pidgin), English*, French*, other indigenous languages
Religions Presbyterian 37%, Other 19%, Roman Catholic 15%, Anglican 15%, Traditional beliefs 8%, Seventh-day Adventist 6%
Ethnic mix ni-Vanuatu 94%, European 4%, Other 2%
Government Parliamentary system
Currency Vatu = 100 centimes
Literacy rate 82%
Calorie consumption 2722 kilocalories
Vanuatu is an island nation in the South Pacific, about 1,000 miles east of northern Australia and north of, but also a bit west of, New Zealand.
The first Brits to arrive on the islands were Captain Cook and his men in 1774. He called them the New Hebrides. Not that they seem to look that much like the original Hebrides. I mean they are islands it’s true, but lovely though the original Hebrides are, the New Hebrides/Vanuatu seem, frankly, to have a lot more of the Pacific island thing going on.
Anyway, you can still see the name New Hebrides displayed on old stamps from the islands. During the nineteenth century, more and more Brits and French arrived here, so that there was pressure for Britain to annexe the islands and pressure for the French to do so too.
In 1887, Britain and France agreed on a joint naval commission for the islands, but nothing more. Then, eventually, in an unusual arrangement, Britain and France decided in 1906 to share control of the islands between them and run two separate administrations united by a combined court. This was known as the British-French Condominium and had nothing to do with apartments, let alone any form of birth control. It was also rather quiet as invasions go, but we were still ruling the islands or at least co-ruling them.
Vanuatu became fully independent within the Commonwealth on 30 July 1980.