Vanuatu History

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History[edit | edit source]

The first Europeans to visit the islands were a Spanish expedition, who arrived on the largest island in 1606. Since the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies had been unified under the king of Spain in 1580, following the vacancy of the Portuguese throne, which lasted for sixty years, until 1640, when the Portuguese monarchy was restored, the archipelago was claimed for Spain, as part of the colonial Spanish East Indies, and named it La Austrialia del Espíritu Santo.

In the 1880s, France and the United Kingdom claimed parts of the archipelago, and in 1906, they agreed on a framework for jointly managing the archipelago as the New Hebrides through an Anglo–French condominium. An independence movement arose in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in 1980.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

1774 - Vanuatu is explored by Captain James Cook, who renames them New Hebrides after the islands off Scotland
1800 - English missionaries begin arriving. The population is about one million
1860 - Natives are kidnapped to work on sugar and cotton plantations in Queensland, Australia and Fiji
1875 - French Tanners, who are Catholic settlers, petition France to annex the islands
1876 - English Presbyterian missionaries petition England to annex the islands
1887 - The islands were placed under an English and French Naval commission. Records are kept in both French and English
1901 - Australia introduces the Pacific Islands Labor Bill, ending the kidnapping of islanders
1906 - A condominium government run by England and France is established
1940 - Allied forces use the island as a base 1960 - European settlers claim over 30 percent of the land
1978 - The condominium government ceases
1980 - The islands become independent as Vanuatu and most French nationals leave

References[edit | edit source]