Vanuatu, an archipelago of approximately 83 islands is situated in the South-western Pacific Ocean, about 1,750 kilometers east of Australia and 500 kilometers northeast of New Caledonia. The Republic of Vanuatu lies between latitude 13o south and 23o south and longitude 166o east and 172o east. The total land area is approximately 12,200 square kilometers and the territorial waters cover 450,000 square kilometers.
You can check the location in the Google Site of the global site and also see the location in the South Pacific Region The climate varies considerably from tropical to subtropical according to exposure to trade winds and elevation. The north is wetter and more humid than the south. The average midday temperature in Port Vila is 29 degrees C. in summer and 25 degrees C. in winter. Rainfall is about 235 centimeters (90 inches) annually. Both the climate and arable soils are very conducive to the development of land and livestock husbandry.
Click above map to know the names of islands
The total population of Vanuatu is estimated to be more than 200,000 people. About 95% of the population is indigenous known as "Ni-Vanuatu". The other segment of the population includes people of different nationalities, such as Australians, New Zealanders, Europeans, Asians and other Pacific Islanders. Over 20% live in the two large cities of Port Vila and Luganville. More than 30,000 people live in the capital city of Port Vila.
Vanuatu or New Hebrides as it was known in the condominium days has been inhabited for over 4000 years was discovered by Europeans in May 1606 by the Spanish Explorer Captain, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros. After de Quiros followed Captain James Cook in 1774, French and English missionaries, traders, and black birders who took local people as slaves to work in the Sugar cane plantations in Queensland, Australia. Most of these people never returned home.
After some 74 years of joint "Condominium" rule between Britain and France, Vanuatu finally received its independence on the 30th July 1980. On December 1994, the 11 Local Government Councils were changed into 6 provinces, giving them more autonomy to decide on what is best for their people, though still under the rule of the national Government.
Political and Administrative Setup
The Republic of Vanuatu is an independent parliamentary democracy, with 52 members of Parliament, for which general elections are held every 4 years. The most recent national election was held in July 2004 where the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP), the National United Party (NUP) and the Green Confederation Party (GCP) coalition was elected.
The head of state is the President of the Republic, who is elected for a period of five years by an electoral college consisting of Members of Parliament and the Presidents of the Provincial Councils. The new President of the Republic of Vanuatu was elected in August 2004.
The Prime Minister and the 12 co-members of the council of ministers oversee the administration of Vanuatu's 13 government ministries.
The Constitution provides for executive and legislative arms of government, and the judiciary. The President is Vanuatu's Head of State. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court with a Chief Justice and a Magistrates Court.
Vanuatu is a full member of the British Commonwealth, the French League of Nations, the United Nations, Agence de Co-operation Culturelle et Technique, the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation (SPEC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (which has its regional headquarters here in Port Vila).
Information courtesy of the Government of Vanuatu's website: www.vanuatu.gov.vu
Language and Education
The people speak over 100 indigenous languages. English, French and Bislama are the official languages. Business is conducted mainly in English, although there are many French companies who conduct their business in both French and English.
The principal languages of education are English and French, and with the current revised education policies, vernacular is being introduced in some schools in rural areas.
The current dual education system has its own problems and difficulties, but it gives a country a strong competitive advantage over other Pacific Island States, since people can speak and understand both English and French. In response to business needs within communities in Vanuatu, Chinese and Japanese are becoming more popular.
The University of the South Pacific has a campus in Port Vila with currently 930 students enrolled from around the pacific.