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You are in:  Nations > Oceania > Vanuatu
Vanuatu*Vanuatu flag
Basic facts
The country 
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Capital: Port-Vila
Area: 12,190 sq km; 4,707 sq miles
Population: 192,848 (2000 Estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 19 per cent (1998 Estimate), rural 80 per cent (1998 Estimate)


Exports: Copra, beef, cocoa, timber, coffee

Industry: Food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning, tourism, offshore financial services

Agriculture: Coconuts, cacao, coffee, fish, taro, yams, coconuts, fruit, vegetables

Currency: 1 vatu (VT) consisting of 100 centimes

Natural resources: Manganese, hardwood forests, fish


The people

Ethnic: ni-Vanuatu (Melanesian) 94 per cent, European 4 per cent, Vietnamese, Chinese, Pacific Islanders 2 per cent

Language: English, French and Bislama are the official languages. Numerous Melanesian languages are spoken.

Religion: The majority of the people are Christian. Presbyterian 35 per cent, Anglican 15 per cent, Catholic 15 per cent, indigenous beliefs 8 per cent, Seventh-day Adventist 6 per cent, Church of Christ 4 per cent, Other 17 per cent


The history

Independence: By 1895 both French and English subjects had settled here and in 1902 each nation appointed a Resident Commissioner. This arrangement continued until October 1906 when Britain and France signed an agreement resolving their claims to the country and making it a Condominium under the joint management of both nations. At the end of 1978 this arrangement ended and, following elections in November 1979, the nation became independent from France and the United Kingdom on 30 July 1980. On 15 September 1981 Vanuatu joined the United Nations.

Government: Formerly known as New Hebrides, Vanuatu is a republic governed under a constitution which was formed in 1980. The head of state is a President who is elected to serve a five-year term. Executive power is vested in a council of ministers, which consists of a Prime Minister who is elected by parliament and other ministers appointed by the Prime Minister. Legislative power is vested in parliament, the 50 members of which are popularly elected to serve four-year terms.

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