The Republic of Vanuatu is a country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is located some 1,750 km east of Australia, 500 km north-east of New Caledonia, west of Fiji and south of the Solomon Islands. Its colonial name was New Hebrides. This name is no longer used except for historical reference.

Ripablik blong Vanuatu
Republic of Vanuatu
Rpublique du Vanuatu
Flag of Vanuatu Coat of Arms of Vanuatu
(In Detail)
National motto: Let us stand firm in God
Location of Vanuatu
Official languages Bislama, English, French
Capital Port Vila
Largest City Port Vila
President Kalkot Mataskelekele
Prime Minister Ham Lini
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 156th
12,200 km
 - Total (?)
 - Density
Ranked 184
Independence 30 July 1980
Currency Vatu
Time zone UTC + 11
National anthem Yumi, Yumi, Yumi
Internet TLD .vu
Calling Code +678


Main article: History of Vanuatu

Many of the islands of Vanuatu have been inhabited for thousands of years, the oldest evidence found dating to 2000 BC. In 1606, the Portuguese-Spanish explorer Pedro Fernndez de Quiros became the first European to reach the islands. Europeans began settling the islands in the late 18th century, after British explorer James Cook visited the islands on his second voyage.

In 1906, the French and British agreed to an Anglo-French Condominium on the New Hebrides, as the islands were then known. In the 1960s, the ni-Vanuatu people started to press for self-governance and later independence; full sovereignty was finally granted by both European nations on July 30, 1980.

During the 1990s, Vanuatu experienced political instability, which eventually resulted in a more decentralised government.


Main article: Politics of Vanuatu

The parliament of Vanuatu is unicameral, and has 52 members; these are elected every four years by popular vote. The leader of the main party in the parliament is usually elected Prime Minister, and heads the government. The chief of state, the President, is chosen every five years by the parliament and the presidents of the six provincial governments.


Main article: Provinces of Vanuatu

Vanuatu has six provinces:


Main article: Geography of Vanuatu

Vanuatu consists of 83 islands, of which two - Matthew and Hunter - are also claimed by the French overseas department of New Caledonia. Most of the islands are mountainous and of volcanic origin, and have a tropical or sub-tropical climate. The nation's largest towns are the capital Port Vila, which is situated on Efate, and Luganville, on Espiritu Santo.


Vanuatu is recognized as a distinct terrestrial ecoregion, called the Vanuatu rain forests (see article). Vanuatu is part of the Australasia ecozone, which also includes neighboring New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, as well as Australia, New Guinea, and New Zealand.


Main article: Economy of Vanuatu

The economy is based primarily on subsistence or small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for 65% of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism (with about 50,000 visitors in 1997), are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits. A small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties.

Economic development is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances from main markets and between constituent islands. A severe earthquake in November 1999, followed by a tsunami, caused extensive damage to the northern island of Pentecote, leaving thousands homeless. Another powerful earthquake in January 2002 caused extensive damage in the capital, Port-Vila, and surrounding areas, and also was followed by a tsunami.

GDP growth rose less than 3% on average in the 1990s. In response to foreign concerns, the government has promised to tighten regulation of its offshore financial center. In mid-2002, the government stepped up efforts to boost tourism. Australia and New Zealand are the main suppliers of Vanuatu's foreign aid.

Vanuatu is a tax haven that does not release account information to other governments and law enforcement agencies. In Vanuatu, there is no income tax, no withholding tax, no capital gains tax, no inheritance taxes, and no exchange controls.


Map of Vanuatu
Map of Vanuatu

Main article: Demographics of Vanuatu

Population: 202,609 (July 2004)

Most of the inhabitants of Vanuatu (95%) are native Melanesian, or Ni-Vanuatu, with the remainder made up of Europeans, Asians and other Pacific islanders. There are three official languages: English, French and Bislama (a creole language which evolved from English). In addition, over one hundred local languages are spoken on the islands.

Christianity is the predominant religion in Vanuatu, consisting of several denominations. The Presbyterian Church, adhered to by about one third of the population, is the largest of them.


Main article: Culture of Vanuatu

List of cities

Below is a partial listing of cities:

Miscellaneous topics

External links

Template:Pacific Islands Template:Former French coloniesaf:Vanuatu bi:Vanuatu ca:Vanuatu da:Vanuatu de:Vanuatu et:Vanuatu es:Vanuatu eo:Vanuatuo fr:Vanuatu ko:바누아투 io:Vanuatu id:Vanuatu it:Vanuatu he:ונואטו lv:Vanuatu lt:Vanuatu ms:Vanuatu zh-min-nan:Vanuatu nl:Vanuatu nds:Vanuatu ja:バヌアツ no:Vanuatu pl:Vanuatu pt:Vanuatu ru:Вануату simple:Vanuatu sk:Vanuatu sl:Vanuatu fi:Vanuatu sv:Vanuatu th:ประเทศวานัวตู tr:Vanuatu zh:瓦努阿图


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