Fast Facts

Population:
218,000
Capital:
Port-Vila; 34,000
Area:
12,190 square kilometers (4,707 square miles)
Language:
English, French, more than 100 local languages
Religion:
Protestant, Catholic, indigenous beliefs
Currency:
Vatu
Life Expectancy:
67
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $2,900
Literacy Percent:
53
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.

ECONOMY

  • 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

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