Vanuatu the Republic of Vanuatu, is a Pacific island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, of volcanic origin, is 1,750 kilometres east of northern Australia, 540 kilometres northeast of New Caledonia, east of New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, west of Fiji. Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian people; the first Europeans to visit the islands were a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese navigator Fernandes de Queirós, who arrived on the largest island in 1606. Since the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies had been unified under the king of Spain in 1580, Queirós claimed the archipelago for Spain, as part of the colonial Spanish East Indies, named it La Austrialia del Espíritu Santo. In the 1880s, France and the United Kingdom claimed parts of the archipelago, 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, the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in 1980.
Since independence, the country is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and the Pacific Islands Forum. Vanuatu's name is derived from the word vanua, which occurs in several Austronesian languages, the word tu. Together the two words indicated the independent status of the new country; the prehistory of Vanuatu is obscure. Pottery fragments have been found dating to 1300–1100 BC; the Vanuatu group of islands first had contact with Europeans in 1606, when the Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, sailing for the Spanish Crown, arrived on the largest island and called the group of islands La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo or "The Southern Land of the Holy Spirit", believing he had arrived in Terra Australis. The Spanish established a short-lived settlement at Big Bay on the north side of the island; the name Espiritu Santo remains to this day. Europeans did not return until 1768, when Louis Antoine de Bougainville rediscovered the islands on 22 May, naming them the Great Cyclades.
In 1774, Captain Cook named the islands the New Hebrides, a name that would last until independence in 1980. In 1825, the trader Peter Dillon's discovery of sandalwood on the island of Erromango began a rush of immigrants that ended in 1830 after a clash between immigrant Polynesian workers and indigenous Melanesians. During the 1860s, planters in Australia, New Caledonia, the Samoa Islands, in need of labourers, encouraged a long-term indentured labour trade called "blackbirding". At the height of the labour trade, more than one-half the adult male population of several of the islands worked abroad. Fragmentary evidence indicates that the current population of Vanuatu is reduced compared to pre-contact times. In the 19th century, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, arrived on the islands. Settlers came, looking for land on which to establish cotton plantations; when international cotton prices collapsed, they switched to coffee, bananas, most coconuts. British subjects from Australia made up the majority, but the establishment of the Caledonian Company of the New Hebrides in 1882 soon tipped the balance in favour of French subjects.
By around the start of the 20th century, the French outnumbered the British two to one. The jumbling of French and British interests in the islands brought petitions for one or another of the two powers to annex the territory; the Convention of 16 October 1887 established a joint naval commission for the sole purpose of protecting French and British citizens, with no claim to jurisdiction over internal native affairs. In 1906, however and the United Kingdom agreed to administer the islands jointly. Called the British-French Condominium, it was a unique form of government, with separate governmental systems that came together only in a joint court; the condominium's authority was extended in the Anglo-French Protocol of 1914, although this was not formally ratified until 1922. Melanesians were barred from acquiring the citizenship of either power and were stateless. In the 1920s, indentured workers from French Annam came to work in the plantations in the New Hebrides, they were 437 in 1923, 5,413 in 1930 after the crisis 1,630 in 1937.
There was some social and political unrest among them in 1947. Challenges to the condominium government began in the early 1940s; the arrival of Americans during the Second World War, with their informal habits and relative wealth, contributed to the rise of nationalism in the islands. The belief in a mythical messianic figure named John Frum was the basis for an indigenous cargo cult promising Melanesian deliverance. Today, John Frum is a political party with a member in Parliament; the first political party, established in the early 1970s, was called the New Hebrides National Party. One of the founders was Father Walter Lini, who became Prime Minister. Renamed the Vanua'aku Pati in 1974, the party pushed for independence, gained amidst the brief Coconut War; the independent Republic of Vanuatu was established in 1980. During the 1990s, Vanuatu experienced a period of political instability which resulted in a more decentralised government; the Vanu
Ambae Island known as Aoba or Leper's Island, is an island in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, located near 15°30′S 167°30′E 165 miles NNW of Vanuatu's capital city, Port Vila. First recorded sighting by Europeans was by the Spanish expedition of Pedro Fernández de Quirós in the spring of 1606; the misty sight of Ambae from neighbouring Espiritu Santo, which served as a major World War II airbase, inspired the mythical Bali Ha'i in James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. Rough, black basalt stones compose its shoreline and surface in many places, though the soils are rich; the island appears to be covered in nearly unbroken vegetation. There are no reliable sources save the crater lakes which are inaccessible. Water for all human uses comes from cement-lined wells or water tanks filled with rainwater. Ambae is the emergent portion of Vanuatu's largest volcano, Manaro Voui, which rises 1,496 meters above sea level, or about 3,900 meters above the sea floor. A steam and ash eruption began on November 27, 2005, leading to a Level 2 volcano alert and preparations for evacuations.
On December 8, the eruption became stronger, displacing more than 3,000 of Ambae Island's inhabitants to elsewhere on the island and requiring the evacuation of two hospitals. On September 28, 2017, after a week of increasing volcanic activity to Level 4, the government of Vanuatu ordered a complete evacuation of the island, home to about 11,000 residents. Ash from the eruption has covered killing crops and polluting the air and water. In April 2018 the remaining 10,000 residents were ordered to evacuate permanently; the population is Melanesian, though ancient Polynesian admixtures have given Man-Ambae lighter complexions and Polynesian languages. Religiously Ambae is Christian, split into many denominations; these can be characterized in three stages: the original colonial-missionary churches, the second-stage American-origin evangelical denominations, the newer, less orthodox, fusion/'unity' sects. This last category includes many grass-roots groups originating within Vanuatu. Missionary activity from outside continues from Mormons, who have a growing following on West & North Ambae.
Ambae has a population of less than 11,000, divided into 3–4 discernible language groups. The island has no considerable towns, though the Penama provincial center is located at Saratamata on East Ambae; the local economy is non-monetary, with cash crop income being used for school fees and sundry items like soap, kerosene, etc. Most regular employment is as teachers. Remittances from employed relatives in the towns of Santo or Vila contribute cash to the local economy. Ambae is serviced by fewer than 100 telephone lines on the east side, it has two post offices and National Bank of Vanuatu branches, at Saratamata and Nduindui, regular interisland ship traffic, several Vanair flights a week. Of the small-to-medium outer islands of Vanuatu, Ambae must be considered one of the more "developed." Traditional subsistence agriculture satisfies food needs, while most villagers engage in small-scale cash crop production as well. Grown in large upland gardens, the primary crops are taro, banana and manioc.
Kumala, vegetables and nuts help to provide an excellent diet, though protein is lacking. Without substantial reefs, seafood is less significant a protein source compared with other islands of Vanuatu and in any case is inaccessible to the large populations living at high inland elevations; the island is served by three airstrips with services by Air Vanuatu: Walaha Airport in the southwest, Redcliffe Airport in the south and Longana Airport in the northeast. Anglican liturgies in West Ambae spoken on Aoba