VANUATU

Date of establishment: July 30, 1980

Brief history:

  • Pre-colonial period: the islands of Vanuatu were inhabited by indigenous people who arrived thousands of years ago.
  • 16th – 18th century: European sailors, including Spanish and French explorers, came to the islands.
  • 19th century: Various European powers began to seek control over the islands, leading to conflicts and colonial disputes. In 1906, the New Hebrides (formerly known as Vanuatu) became a British-French territory, which meant joint administration by both countries.
  • World War II: During World War II, the New Hebrides were occupied by United States and New Zealand troops.
  • Road to Independence: In the 1970s, the independence movement grew, despite various political and ethnic differences among the population. In 1980, Vanuatu was officially recognized as an independent state.
  • After Independence: After independence, it became a sovereign state and started developing its own politics, economy, and culture. The country remained a member of the British Commonwealth.
  • 21st century: Vanuatu faces various challenges, including climate change and rising sea levels, which are having a serious impact on the islands.

 

International abbreviation: VU

 

Currency: Vanuatu vatu (VUV)

Banknotes have denominations from 100 vatu to 10 000 vatu.

 

Internet domain: .vu

 

Dialing code: +678

 

Time zone: GMT+11

 

Geography:

Vanuatu is located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, about 1 750 kilometers (1 087 miles) northeast of Brisbane, Australia and 540 kilometers (336 miles) east of New Caledonia.

It has more than 80 inhabited islands and many uninhabited. The largest islands are Espiritu Santo, Malekula, Efate (where the capital Port Vila is located) and Tanna.

The islands are mainly of volcanic origin and there are several active volcanoes. For example, the Mount Yasur volcano is located on Tanna Island, which is a popular tourist attraction.

Vanuatu is vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels.

 

Highest peak: Tabwemasana 1 877 m (6 158 feet) above sea level.

It is located on the island of Espiritu Santo. Mount Tabwemasana is a volcanic cone and at the same time the highest point of the entire island nation of Vanuatu.

 

Climate:

Temperatures are higher all year round. It is between 20°C (68°F) and 32°C (90°F). The hottest period is usually from December to April.

It is occasionally affected by tropical cyclones, especially during the rainy season.

The humidity here is high, creating tropical conditions. The moist air contributes to abundant vegetation and the development of coral reefs.

 

Fauna and flora:

Vanuatu is home to a variety of bird species, including parrots, pigeons, cuckoos, and king doves.

Marine life is abundant along the coast, including various species of fish, turtles, dolphins, and sharks.

Snakes and lizards are also found on the islands. For example, on some islands you will find a snake of the genus Ogmodon, which is unique to the area.

The land is an important nesting ground for sea turtles, including the giant loggerhead and sand loggerhead, which come to lay their eggs.

The coastal areas of the islands are covered with mangroves and palm trees, which are important ecosystems and provide shelter for many species of birds and fish.

The interior of the islands is covered with forest, which includes various types of trees, plants, and flowers.

 

Agriculture:

Most farmers practice subsistence farming, meaning they grow food crops and raise livestock primarily for their own use and the needs of their communities. The main crops include cassava, taro, sweet potatoes, bananas, pineapples, and others.

Coconuts are used for the production of coconut oil, which is widely used in food and cosmetics. Coffee and cocoa are grown in some parts. Fishing is another important industry in the country.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

Some local communities may carry out small-scale mining activities such as collecting stones, sand, or coral for local needs, especially for construction and the production of traditional tools and ornaments.

 

Industry:

Vanuatu has a food industry that processes local products such as coconut oil, coffee, cocoa, and other crops. These products are processed and packaged for local consumption as well as for export.

In the past, the woodworking industry was larger, but due to concerns about deforestation and environmental protection, restrictions were put in place.

Tourism plays an increasingly important role in the country’s economy.

 

Services and other areas of the economy: maritime transport and tourism

 

Natural and historical attractions: beaches, Mele Cascades, Port Vila and Luganville cities, Roi Mata region, and Gaua volcano

Vanuatu is famous for its beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise sea. The coral reefs around the islands are ideal for diving and snorkeling. Visitors can discover abundant marine life, including various species of fish, corals, and other sea creatures.

The country offers visitors a number of natural attractions such as active volcanic cones, waterfalls, rainforests and hot springs.

Vanuatu has a rich indigenous culture and traditions, including dance performances, traditional ceremonies, and handicrafts.

Tourists can undertake various adventure activities here like rock climbing, kayaking, horse riding, bird watching, and fishing.

On some islands, you will find historical monuments such as ancient stone sculptures, which are an important part of the local heritage.

 

Form of government: parliamentary republic

The president is the head of state and represents the country on the international stage. The president is elected in parliamentary elections for a five-year term.

Parliament consists of 52 members. Executive power is exercised by the government, which is led by the prime minister. The prime minister is usually the leader of the political party or coalition that wins the largest number of seats in parliament. The prime minister is appointed by the president and heads the executive government, which is responsible for running the country.

Vanuatu is a multicultural country with a diverse population and cultural traditions. The country’s political system is based on democratic principles and respect for human rights. The people of Vanuatu have the right to free elections and political pluralism.

 

Capital city: Port Vila

The city is located on the island of Efate, which is one of the largest islands of Vanuatu.

Port Vila has a major port that serves to transport goods and passengers between the islands of Vanuatu and international markets. The city also has an international airport, which facilitates the arrival of visitors from other countries.

 

Area: 12 200 km2 (4 710 square miles)

 

Population: 315 000 (2022)

The largest ethnic group is the Melanesians, who make up the majority of the population. There are also smaller numbers of Polynesians and Micronesians. Each of these groups has its own traditions, languages, and cultures.

The country is known for many different languages. It has several official languages, including Bislama (pidgin), French, and English. In addition, there are more than 100 indigenous languages that are commonly spoken on different islands.

The most widespread religion is Christianity, especially Anglicanism, Presbyterianism and the Roman Catholic Church. There are also traditional religious practices and beliefs that are still part of the culture.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 1

 

  1. Chief Roi Mata’s Territory (2008) – This consists of three early 17th century CE sites on the islands of Efate, Lelepa, and Artok associated with the life and death of the last Paramount Chief, Roi Mata, in what is now the state Vanuatu.

 

National parks: