Fast Facts

Port-Vila; 34,000
12,190 square kilometers (4,707 square miles)
English, French, more than 100 local languages
Protestant, Catholic, indigenous beliefs
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $2,900
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Vanuatu
Map: Vanuatu

France and the U.K. jointly administered some 80 South Pacific islands known as the New Hebrides for 74 years until independence in 1980. During World War II the U.S. launched attacks from here against Japanese troops in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, inspiring James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. Tourism augments income from copra, tuna processing, meat canning, and timber sales. South American hardwoods have been introduced to expand forests.


  • Industry: Food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning
  • Agriculture: Copra, coconuts, cacao, coffee; fish
  • Exports: Copra, beef, cacao, timber, kava

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

Related Features

  • Photo: man descends into a crater of lava

    Descend Into an Active Volcano

    Get inspired with our Ultimate Adventure Bucket List, a collection of 40 trips that range from totally extreme to actually doable.

  • Photo: Polynesian sailboat

    Pioneers of the Pacific

    How could a Neolithic people with simple canoes and no navigation gear colonize hundreds of far-flung islands scattered across the Pacific?

  • <p>Photo: White sand beach</p>

    South Pacific Photos

    Scattered about the world's largest ocean, the legendary islands of the South Pacific are a wonder to travelers, full of beautiful sights and fascinating cultures.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

  • Picture of a volcano on Reunion Island

    Who Will Win?

    Browse photos of nature, cities, and people and share your favorite photos.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Get Social With Nat Geo Travel