Destination

South Pacific

Destination Vanuatu Paradise logo
29th edition
        2019

10

 

 

 

History et Geography

 

The first humans to have colonized Vanuatu,
some 3,500 years ago, may have been Melanesian sailors from Papua New Guinea.
Many other groups, some of them Polynesian, settled these islands at a later date.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

10

 

 

History

The southern lands of the Holy Spirit

In May 1606, the Portuguese navigator, Pedro Fernandes de Queiros, was the first European to discover the archipelago.
Believing that he had at last
reached the Southern continent,
the whole purpose of his expedition, he christened the stretch of land where he came ashore “Terra Australia del Espiritu Santo”. Hence the name of Santo Island. The navigator established a colony there, called New Jerusalem, but soon took to the sea again because of the hostility of the natives.
In 1768, it was the French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville who dropped anchor in these waters and gave the name “Grandes Cyclades” to a group of islands (Santo, Pentecost, Malekula, Ambae…) that he came to one after the other.
Today the strait that separates Santo from Malekula bears his name.

From James Cook to John Higginson

A few years later, in July 1774, James Cook (re)discovered these islands on board the Resolution, during his second expedition to the Pacific. We have this famous captain to thank for the first ever chart of the archipelago which he named “New-Hebrides” (in reference to the islands off the
west coast of Scotland).
Several navigators followed in quick succession in the region: La Pérouse, d’Entrecasteaux, Bligh, Dumont d’Urville, etc. These lands were to experience a slow and disorganized colonization.
 

The first settlement of Europeans dates back to 1825, when the Irishman Peter Dillon set up the sandalwood trade with China.
Some Australian planters settled some time later on the islands of Efate and Epi to harvest the copra.
In 1882, the businessman John Higginson, of Irish extraction, established the Compagnie Calédonienne des Nouvelles-Hébrides then the Société française des Nouvelles-Hébrides.

A unique expérience: the
condominium

Throughout the 19th century, these islands were the object of a great deal of rivalry between France and the United Kingdom.
Ultimately they decided to set up a form of joint administration and so it was that, in London, on 20 October 1906, the Condominium of the New
Hebrides came into being.
During the Second World War, the New Hebrides constituted a major rear base for the Americans who built a number of roads and several airfields on Efate and Santo.

The independance

In the sixties, the population started to aspire to greater autonomy. In 1975, the Condominium authorities approved the organization of the first elections by universal suffrage. In November 1979, the anglophone party of Father Walter Lini won the general elections and Walter Lini became the first Prime Minister in history.
Independence was declared on 30 July 1980 and saw the birth of the Republic of Vanuatu. 

 

Georges Sokomanu was the first President of the Republic.
The same year, a secessionist rebellion on the islands of Tanna and Espiritu Santo was quashed with the help of Papua New Guinea and Australia. 
Nowadays, the country lives in peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geography

Located in the Pacific Ocean, 540 km to the North-East of New Caledonia, Vanuatu is made up of more than 80 islands and islets, most of them of volcanic origin, with a total area of 12,189 km2 and shaped as an Y tilted to the left. Some 900 km separate the Torres Islands, in the north, from Anatom, in the south. Since the end of 1994, these islands have been combined into six provinces: Torba, Sanma, Penama, Malampa, Shefa and Tafea.
Situated on the junction line of two continental tectonic plates, on the Pacific Rim of Fire, there are several highly active volcanoes, especially on the islands of Tanna, Ambrym and Lopévi, and some others to a lesser degree. To the east of Epi, when flying low over the sea, you can often detect bubbling in the water caused by two submarine volcanoes.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History et Geography

 

The first humans to have colonized Vanuatu, some 3,500 years ago, may have been Melanesian sailors from Papua New Guinea. Many other groups, some of them Polynesian, settled these islands at a later date.

History

The southern lands of the Holy Spirit

In May 1606, the Portuguese navigator, Pedro Fernandes de Queiros, was the first European to discover the archipelago.
Believing that he had at last reached the Southern continent, the whole purpose of his expedition, he christened the stretch of land where he came ashore “Terra Australia del Espiritu Santo”. Hence the name of Santo Island. The navigator established a colony there, called New Jerusalem, but soon took to the sea again because of the hostility of the natives.
In 1768, it was the French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville who dropped anchor in these waters and gave the name “Grandes Cyclades” to a group of islands (Santo, Pentecost, Malekula, Ambae…) that he came to one after the other.
Today the strait that separates Santo from Malekula bears his name.

From James Cook to John Higginson

A few years later, in July 1774, James Cook (re)discovered these islands on board the Resolution, during his second expedition to the Pacific. We have this famous captain to thank for the first ever chart of the archipelago which he named “New-Hebrides” (in reference to the islands off the west coast of Scotland).
Several navigators followed in quick succession in the region: La Pérouse, d’Entrecasteaux, Bligh, Dumont d’Urville, etc. These lands were to experience a slow and disorganized colonization.
The first settlement of Europeans dates back to 1825, when the Irishman Peter Dillon set up the sandalwood trade with China.
Some Australian planters settled some time later on the islands of Efate and Epi to harvest the copra.
In 1882, the businessman John Higginson, of Irish extraction, established the Compagnie Calédonienne des Nouvelles-Hébrides then the Société française des Nouvelles-Hébrides.

A unique expérience: the condominium

Throughout the 19th century, these islands were the object of a great deal of rivalry between France and the United Kingdom.
Ultimately they decided to set up a form of joint administration and so it was that, in London, on 20 October 1906, the Condominium of the New
Hebrides came into being.
During the Second World War, the New Hebrides constituted a major rear base for the Americans who built a number of roads and several airfields on Efate and Santo.

The independance

In the sixties, the population started to aspire to greater autonomy. In 1975, the Condominium authorities approved the organization of the first elections by universal suffrage. In November 1979, the anglophone party of Father Walter Lini won the general elections and Walter Lini became the first Prime Minister in history.
Independence was declared on 30 July 1980 and saw the birth of the Republic of Vanuatu. 
Georges Sokomanu was the first President of the Republic.
The same year, a secessionist rebellion on the islands of Tanna and Espiritu Santo was quashed with the help of Papua New Guinea and Australia. 
Nowadays, the country lives in peace.

Geography

Located in the Pacific Ocean, 540 km to the North-East of New Caledonia, Vanuatu is made up of more than 80 islands and islets, most of them of volcanic origin, with a total area of 12,189 km2 and shaped as an Y tilted to the left. Some 900 km separate the Torres Islands, in the north, from Anatom, in the south. Since the end of 1994, these islands have been combined into six provinces: Torba, Sanma, Penama, Malampa, Shefa and Tafea.
Situated on the junction line of two continental tectonic plates, on the Pacific Rim of Fire, there are several highly active volcanoes, especially on the islands of Tanna, Ambrym and Lopévi, and some others to a lesser degree. To the east of Epi, when flying low over the sea, you can often detect bubbling in the water caused by two submarine volcanoes.