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Map Courtesy CIA World Factbook

The Republic of Vanuatu is a country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is located some 1,750 km east of Australia, 500 km north-east of New Caledonia, west of Fiji and south of the Solomon Islands. Its colonial name was New Hebrides. This name is no longer used except for historical reference.

Many of the islands of Vanuatu have been inhabited for thousands of years, the oldest evidence found dating to 2000 BC. In 1606, the Portuguese-Spanish explorer Pedro Fernández de Quiros became the first European to reach the islands. Europeans began settling the islands in the late 18th century, after British explorer James Cook visited the islands on his second voyage.

In 1906, the French and British agreed to an Anglo-French Condominium on the New Hebrides, as the islands were then known. In the 1960s, the ni-Vanuatu people started to press for self-governance and later independence; full sovereignty was finally granted by both European nations on July 30, 1980.

During the 1990s, Vanuatu experienced political instability, which eventually resulted in a more decentralised government.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Vanuatu".