Vanuatu Geography

Vanuatu Geography and Population


ETYMOLOGY: The name Vanuatu comes from Polynesian vanua ‘land’ and tu ‘stand, exist’, egl. ‘unit of land’.

OFFICIAL NAME: Ripablik Blong Vanuatu, Republic of Vanuatu


POPULATION: 209,000 (2007)

AREA: 12,190 km²

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): bislama (an English-based pidgin language), French, English (off.), approximately 110 oceanic languages

RELIGION: Presbyterians 36%, Catholics 15%, Anglicans 14%, Adventists 8%, indigenous religions 5%, others el. no 22%

COIN: vatu




POPULATION COMPOSITION: ni-vanuatu (melanesiere) 96%, others 4%

GDP PER residents: 1206 $ (2007)

LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 67 years, women 71 years (2007)




Vanuatu, archipelago and independent republic of the western Pacific. The colonial era was quite chaotic, as the islands (then called the New Hebrides) were under joint Franco-British administration, and since independence in 1980, the country has experienced several political crises and scandals. Vanuatu focuses on sectors such as offshore banking (tax havens) and tourism, but development is hampered by the country’s limited size and remote location.

  • Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Vanuatu? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.

National flag

The flag was officially adopted in 1980. Red stands for the blood of the people and for unity, green for the fertility of the islands, and black for the people. The yellow Y – the islands lie like a Y in the Pacific Ocean – symbolizes the sunshine. A wild boar tusk symbolizes prosperity and the fern leaves are a sign of peace.


The archipelago forms part of the large Melanesian arch (see Melanesia). The islands are all of volcanic origin and mountainous, and earthquakes are frequent but rarely powerful; the same goes for the eruptions from the active volcanoes. The climate is tropical and in many places extremely rainy; the natural vegetation form, tropical rainforest, covers most of the area.

Despite Vanuatu’s smallness, the native population is composed of over 100 different ethnic groups; they are almost all Melanesians, make up over 97% of the population and are called ni-vanuatu. The rest are Europeans, Chinese, Koreans and other immigrants; most of these live in the capital, Port Vila, on Éfaté. Many of the small ethnic groups live in remote and rather inaccessible mountain areas with little contact with the outside world. They live on self-sufficient agriculture with the use of simple tools, sweating techniques and long-term fallow. Typical crops are yams and taro, often combined with pig farming.

Commercial agriculture exists mainly as a plantation operation. From here, among other things, cocoa and coffee. In addition, cattle farms and some exports of tropical timber. Like the other Pacific island states, Vanuatu seeks to attract tourists, but hotels are being built on only a few of the islands, particularly Éfaté and Malakula (Pentecostal). Among other things, various forms of eco-tourism with rainforest visits. In addition, springs in vines on Pentecostal Island. Since 2000, the tourism industry has prospered due to unrest in Fiji and the Solomon Islands, but both tourism and Vanuatu’s efforts to mark itself as an international tax haven are hampered by the lack of political stability.

After applying for membership in the World Trade Organization as early as 1995, Vanuatu was not approved until October 2011, after which membership in the World Trade Organization entered into force on 24.8.2012.


According to, official language is in addition to the English-based pidgin language bislama also English and French. In addition, approximately 110 oceanic languages, most small local languages. The language of communication is bislama, which is very close to pijin, which is spoken in the Solomon Islands. Bislama is used especially in the mass media, but only slightly in school, where English or French still dominate.


Vanuatu was approximately 1300 BC populated from other Melanesian islands by immigrants belonging to the lapita culture; later other groups followed, people of Polynesian descent. approximately 1200 AD was a hierarchical society developed in the central islands; leading great men gained influence through the control of the production and exchange of pigs. The Portuguese Pedro Fernandes de Queirós (approximately 1565-1615) reached the islands in 1606 as the first Europeans; in 1768 they were rediscovered by Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, and in 1774 James Cook mappedthem and named them New Hebrides. Society, however, remained fairly unchanged until thousands of men and women in the late 1800’s. began returning home from contract work on plantations in Australia and on the other Pacific islands. From 1906, Britain and France ruled the islands as a condominium, a common colony. During World War II, the islands were an important base for Allied warfare. The many new influences stimulated the growth of cargo cults and later of the anti-European political movement; in 1980 the islands became independent under the name Vanuatu. The country has been marked by political tensions, between nationalists and French-oriented.

In March 2015, Vanuatu was hit by a powerful hurricane that caused major property damage and killed several.

Vanuatu Geography