Vanuatu, full official form - Republic of Vanuatu (bisl. Ripablik
blong Vanuatu, fr. République du Vanuatu) - Pacific state in
Melanesia. It borders in the north with the waters of the Solomon
Islands, in the west - with the economic zone of Australia, in the
south-west - with the territorial waters of New Caledonia, in the
east - with the territorial waters of Fiji. The coastal strip is
2528 km long. The Republic of Vanuatu is located on 83 islands of
the New Hebrides Archipelago. The total land area is 12,190 km².
Vanuatu has a population of 277,554. (2016). The capital is the city
of Port Vila. The first island seen by Europeans was Espiritu Santo,
discovered by the Spanish navigator Pedro Fernandez Quiros in 1606
and taken as part of the “Unknown Southern Land”. In 1906, the
islands became a condominium in Britain and France under the name
New Hebrides. On July 30, 1980, the islands gained independence
under the name "Republic of Vanuatu." Vanuatu is a member of the
United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, Francophonie, the South
Pacific Commission and the Pacific Islands Forum. On August 24,
2012, the Republic of Vanuatu finally became a member of the WTO.
The modern name of the country, Vanuatu (literally: “this land is
forever”), has been officially used since July 30, 1980, when the
islands gained independence from Great Britain and France.
Prior to this event, the archipelago was called "New Hebrides." It
was given in 1774 by the English navigator James Cook in honor of
the Hebrides, located west of Scotland.
The Melanesian state of Vanuatu is a chain of Y-shaped islands
stretching from north to south for 1,176 km. The nearest state, the
Solomon Islands, is located approximately 170 km north of Vanuatu,
New Caledonia - 230 km south-west, Fiji - 800 km east, Australia -
1750 km west.
The land area of Vanuatu is 12,190 km². The
archipelago consists of 14 large and 60 smaller, but inhabited
islands. In total, 83 islands are part of Vanuatu. The most
important of these are the islands of Efate, Espiritu Santo, Tanna
and Malekula. The largest island of Vanuatu is the island of
Espiritu Santo, on the territory of which there is also the highest
point of the country - Mount Tabvemasana (1879 m). On the islands of
Ambrim, Aoba and Tanna, mountains are located whose height exceeds
1000 m above sea level. Most of the islands have a mountainous
terrain, which is caused by the movement of oceanic plates. Some
islands with sheer cliffs are surrounded by fringing coral reefs. To
the west of the archipelago is an oceanic depression up to 8000 m
The northernmost island of Vanuatu is Hiu Island in the
Torres group: it is located 150 kilometers south of the Santa Cruz
Islands belonging to the Solomon Islands. Officially, the island of
Aneityum is the southernmost island of the country, however, the
Republic disputes the more southern islands of Mathieu and Hunter
near New Caledonia.