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 deep.
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.