50 Fascinating Facts About Vanuatu

Vanuatu is an island nation with a population of about 266,000 people. It is located in the South Pacific Ocean and is considered one of the sixty member states that make up the Commonwealth of Nations. If you're looking for an exciting place to travel, Vanuatu should be at the top of your list. This small Pacific Island nation is home to a rich culture and diverse landscape, as well as some fascinating facts. Here are 50 of the most interesting ones

Fascinating Facts

1
Vanuatu consists of a group of islands situated between Fiji and Australia. European explorers first discovered the country in 1606.
2
The name Vanuatu is derived from 'Vanua,' which means land or property, and the word 'tu' means of or belonging to. Put together; you get Vanuatu which means Land or Island of Tall White Persons (or people with long white garments). It was named this by Captain James Cook during his discovery of the island nation.
3
Port Vila, situated on the island of Efate, is Vanuatu's capital city. It has a population of around 32,000 people. Other large cities are Luganville (home to the international airport) and Lenakel.
4
Vanuatu is a bilingual country with both English and French being official languages. However, most of the population speaks Bislama, a pidgin language that incorporates words from both English and French.
5
The official currency of Vanuatu is the Vanuatu Vatu (VUV). However, the Australian dollar is also accepted in many places.
6
The climate of Vanuatu is tropical with a wet season and dry season. The average temperature ranges from 23 degrees Celsius to 27 degrees Celsius.
7
Vanuatu is a popular tourist destination, with people coming to enjoy the stunning beaches, coral reefs, and rainforest hikes. One of the main attractions is the island of Santo, which was once a popular site for World War II soldiers to visit on their way home from battle.
8
There are about 750 indigenous plant species in Vanuatu, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Many types of flora are endemic to specific islands.
9
Vanuatu is also home to a large variety of animal species, including the dugong (a type of sea cow), saltwater crocodiles, and more than 190 bird species.
10
The people of Vanuatu are considered to be very friendly and welcoming. One of the main tourist attractions is the opportunity to experience the local culture and traditional dances.
11
Vanuatu is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, which comprises countries that have ties to the United Kingdom.
12
The economy of Vanuatu is based mainly on tourism, agriculture, and fishing. However, there has been a recent growth in the offshore banking sector.
13
Vanuatu has a very young population, with over 60% of the population under the age of 25.
14
The official religion of Vanuatu is Christianity, with around three-quarters of the population identifying as Christians.
15
There are many different Protestant denominations in Vanuatu, as well as the Catholic Church.
16
Vanuatu is a parliamentary democracy, with a president and prime minister who are both elected by the people.
17
The judicial system of Vanuatu is based on English common law.
18
Vanuatu has a strong tradition of oral storytelling and folklore. One of the most famous stories is about Riamut, a lizard turned man.
19
The native language is Bislama, with English and French being official languages. Many people in Vanuatu can also speak some Spanish.
20
Many indigenous populations were initially from North Pentecost Island but later migrated to the Torres Islands.
21
The most popular sports in Vanuatu are rugby and association football, with the national teams having performed well on many occasions.
22
There is no minimum wage in Vanuatu, although the standard pay for workers is US$2 an hour or US$40 per week (whichever is higher).
23
Vanuatu has a number of active volcanoes, including the infamous Mount Yasur, which is frequently erupting.
24
The unemployment rate in Vanuatu is high, with around 30% of the population being unemployed.
25
The main exports of Vanuatu are copra (dried coconut meat), beef, cocoa, and coffee.
26
There are around 412 kilometers of roads in Vanuatu, with paved roads only covering 22% of the country.
27
Vanuatu is located between Fiji and New Caledonia in the south Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,500 km east of Australia's northern coast.
28
The capital of Vanuatu is Port Vila, with the country being divided into nine provinces and 65 municipalities.
29
The equator lies to the south of Vanuatu, and technology makes it a southern hemisphere country. However, as the nation is also located in Oceania, they are generally considered part of the northern hemisphere.
30
The islands of Vanuatu were formed by volcanic activity on a vast undersea mountain range known as the New Hebrides Trench. As the plates continue to move, this island range is slowly moving south and sinking into the sea at about 5cm per year.
31
Vanuatu was once thought to be a part of the continent of Australia.
32
Although it has been settled for over 3,000 years, Europeans first discovered Vanuatu in 1606 when Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana came across the islands. 'Vanuatu' is derived from the local word for 'ancient.'
33
The first British ship arrived in 1774 and was led by Captain Philip Carteret. He named the islands 'New Britain'.
34
In 1839, John Erskine founded Port Vila as a private settlement, mainly for those who worked at cotton plantations on the island of Efate. It soon grew into the largest settlement in the region.
35
In 1853, the French took control of the New Hebrides and made it a part of their colony of New Caledonia.
36
After years of dispute and several brief occupations by both sides, the islands were only fully divided between the British and French in 1906.
37
During World War II, the islands were used as a staging point for several Allied operations in the south Pacific theatre, including Guadalcanal and Bougainville.
38
In 1978, Vanuatu was granted Independence from the United Kingdom and France. It is now an independent republic with Elizabeth II remaining as the head of state.
39
The first elections were held in 1980 and the National Congress of Vanuatu (NCV) was formed, taking control of the government.
40
In 1991, a new constitution was drafted, which changed Vanuatu from a monarchy to a
41
Since gaining Independence, Vanuatu has seen some changes in government, with the NCV being replaced by the Union of Progressive Parties (UPP) in 2004 and then again by the People's Democratic Congress (PDC) in 2011.
42
Vanuatu has a two-party system, with the PDC and UPP being the main parties.
43
The official language of Vanuatu is Bislama, a pidgin English spoken by around 60% of the population. French and English are also widely spoken.
44
The currency of Vanuatu is the Vatu (VUV), which is divided into 100 centimes.
45
There are around 10,000 Ni-Vanuatu living in Australia, making them one of the largest Pacific Islander communities in the country.
46
The most common religion in Vanuatu is Christianity, with around three-quarters of the population following one of the denominations.
47
The local currency is also used in a few other countries in Melanesia, including East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
48
Vanuatu is home to some of the most active volcanoes globally, with over a hundred on the islands.
49
Mount Yasur is the most popular tourist attraction in Vanuatu, with visitors able to climb up to the crater rim for a close-up view of the molten lava lake below.
50
The highest mountain in Vanuatu is Mount Tabwemasana, which reaches a height of 1,877 m (6,165 ft) and is located on the island of Espiritu Santo.

Sources