The name Vanuatu means: "our eternal land". The population of Vanuatu is
called Ni-Vanuatu. Vanuatu was formerly known as the New Hebrides. The island
state consists of 83 islands, 65 of which are guarded.
James Cook (1728-1779) gave the islands the name New Hebrides, because the
gloomy chain of islands reminded him of the Hebrides on the west coast of
Scotland. Vanuatu is one of the most culturally and scenically diverse
archipelagos in the Pacific.
Since the Pacific plate meets the Australian plate here, there are frequent
earthquakes and there are also active volcanoes on the islands of Tanna and
Ambrym, for example. Almost all islands are blessed with beautiful sandy
The islanders still maintain traditions such as traditional dances and diving.
The country has only recently been increasingly developed for tourism. With
the new flight connections to Australia and New Zealand, the vast majority of
tourists are from these countries.
According to the "Happy Planet Index 2006", Vanuatu is said to be home to the
happiest people in the world.
On March 13, 2015, the island was hit by a huge hurricane, known here as a
cyclone, with winds of up to a little less than 300 km/h afflicted.
The storm left behind massive damage and probably 10 dead.
|Name of the country
||Republic of Vanuatu
|Form of government
||Island nation in the western part of the South Pacific
||"Yumi yumi yumi i glat blong talem se,
yumi, yumi, yumi i man blong Vanuatu"
"We, we, we are happy to tell,
we, we, we are the people of Vanuatu."
||approx. 250,000 (Credit:
||About 98% are Melanesians, the rest: Europeans, Chinese, Vietnamese,
||Christianity, natural religions, kargo cults
||French, English and Bislama
||Port Vila, with about 35,000 residents
||approx. 12,200 km²
||Tabwemasana, at an altitude of 1,877 m
|Largest lake in area
|International license plate
||Vatu (VT) = 100 centimes
|Time difference to CET
|International phone code
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)
Since the culture and thus the history of the residents of the South Sea
was passed down orally, legends often have to be used to research the history of
the country. Therefore, in addition to the scientifically verifiable history, we
also present traditional legends about the history of the country:
Told traditions tell of an old chief, called Roymatu, who knew how to unite the
hostile and cannibalistic tribes. His brother, driven by jealousy, shot Raymatu
with a poisoned arrow. This then died a slow, agonizing death. While he was
struggling with death, he was carried around the island of Efate to bid farewell
to the tribes pacified by him.
He was taken to the Feles Caves on Lepala Island, where he then died. He was
then taken to Devil Point to the Tukutuku Underwater Caves and the Retoka
Islands, also known as Hat Islands, where he was buried. Members of his tribe
were burned as companions.
This old burial site was examined by archaeologists who dated the finds there to
the year 1,300 BC.
Abbreviationfinder website, it is generally assumed that Vanuatu was first settled from Papua New
Guinea about 6,000 years ago.
The Europeans are coming
In the late 16th century, Europeans believed in the existence of a southern
continent. Therefore, they undertook numerous expeditions.
The Portuguese Pedro Ferdinand de Quiros (1555-1614), commissioned by the
Viceroy of Peru, set out from Peru to find the country, to colonize it and to
evangelize the natives to the Catholic faith. De Quiros first reached the
Solomon Islands that had previously been discovered by a Spanish expedition.
De Quiro then saw Mount Mere Lava on April 25, 1606 and stopped briefly on the
island of Gaua. He then sailed further south until he reached Big Bay on May 3,
1606. He named the country Australia del Espiritu Santo because he believed he
had found the continent he was looking for.
Upon landing on Big Bay, he murdered all the nosy natives and took possession of
the land in the name of the Spanish Crown. He founded the New Jerusalem colony
near the Jordan River. De Quiros later went nuts, made himself king and enslaved
the entire ship's crew.
But after just 54 days de Quiros was forced to leave the island because the crew
mutinied and the natives did theirs. It would be another 160 years before the
next conqueror set foot on the island.
The Frenchman Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811) reached the islands in
1766, which he named Maew, Pentecost, Ambrym and Malekula islands. Incidentally,
the beautiful flowers were named after him. He found out that Espiritu Santo was
not the continent he was looking for, just an island. So he only went ashore to
James Cook (1728-1779) reached Espiritu Santo on his second voyage in 1774. He
crossed the waters intensely. However, the hostile natives did not allow landing
on the islands.
Both Bourgainville and Cook had noticed that there were two different races on
the islands, one with darker, smaller people (Melanesians) and one with larger,
light-skinned people (Polynesians).
Sandalwood and traders
By 1820 almost all of the sandalwood reserves in the northern hemisphere were
used up. Sandalwood was held in high regard by the Chinese. B. the British for
example with the Chinese sandalwood for tea.
After the Irishman Peter Dillon (1788-1847) discovered a large deposit of
sandalwood on the Vanuatian island of Erromango, the exploitation of these
reserves began immediately. Sandalwood was soon cut on the islands of Efate,
Anteityum and Tanna.
As the Vanuatuans saw more and more of their forests disappear, the price of
sandalwood began to rise. They no longer only demanded metal, dogs or goats for
it, but weapons, tobacco, hostile tribal members to eat or boats to destroy
their villages. Traders often footed the bill by leaving without paying. At the
next return the mood was accordingly hostile. However, the traders were not
squeamish and often began to simply kill the natives because they viewed them as
Another strategy was to introduce diseases to which the locals were not
immune. So were z. B. Seafarers with measles brought ashore to infect the
natives who were fatal to the disease.
With the introduction of the Ruhr in 1840 and the measles in 1861 on Errommango,
the population was reduced to 800 residents.
By 1860 the sandalwood deposits were almost completely exhausted and the
majority of the natives were killed.
The business was now switched to human trafficking. The Australian Aborigines
were of no use as workers. Therefore, workers were needed for the sugar cane
plantations in Fiji and in the mines in New Caledonia. It is not uncommon for
those recruited to end up in slavery. Only 20% of the workers ever returned to
their home islands.
When Australia introduced the Pacific Island Labor Bill in 1901, trafficking in
human beings was stopped.
In addition to the decimation of the population in the above-mentioned way, they
were mostly robbed of their cultural identity by missionaries.
The missionaries initially met with great opposition. John Williams
(1796-1839) was eaten by the London Missonary Society in 1839. For this reason
the Europeans sent converted Polynesians as missionaries. Many of them were also
killed. In 1845 Samoan teachers were sent to the island of Afate, who were not
to survive long.
The Catholics proselytized the natives most successfully because they allowed
them to preserve elements of their culture.
The British-French condominate
Under a condominate or condominium one understands the rule of two or more
states over a certain area. In 1875, settlers from the island of Tanna sent a
petition to France requesting that the island be annexed. A year later, the
settlers from Efate asked for it too. The Prebysterians then sent petitions
to Great Britain and Australia and also asked for annexation. However, the
countries contacted agreed not to annex.
In 1906, the Anglo-French condominium was sealed. The New Hebrides, as Vanuatu
was still called at the time, were ruled by both countries. This construct
lasted 74 years.
The system began to falter at the beginning of World War II. The people
of France were among the first to support General Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970)
in the Pacific in 1940.
The Japanese reached the neighboring Solomon Islands in 1942, whereupon the
Americans took over the regiment in the New Hebrides in May 1942. With the
establishment of a military base, they brought with them a successful
infrastructure from which the locals also benefited. The Americans were very
popular with them because they treated the Ni-Vatuans equally, paid them well
for their work and gave them modern equipment such as B. brought cool boxes.
However, the Americans quickly disappeared again in 1945. They sank their
equipment in the sea because the condominium refused to pay for the equipment
they left behind.
Today there are popular diving spots at these locations, such as B. the Million
Dollar Point in Espiritu Santo.
The old condominium was to continue to exist until the 1960s.
In the 1970s, society began to polarize into Francophiles and Anglophiles. In
1975 the first elections for a representative assembly took place.
The new elections in 1979 resulted in an absolute majority in the Vanua-aku
The Declaration of Independence, which separated Vanuatu from France and Great
Britain, took place on July 30, 1980.
The first Prime Minister was the Anglican clergyman Walter Lini (1942-1999).
The majority of the Francophiles then left the country and were financially
compensated by the French government.