Vanuatu: Country and Foreign Investment
Population, Language and Culture
The islands of Vanuatu have been populated for thousands of years. Europeans first discovered the islands when Spaniard Pedro Fernandez de Quiros landed in 1606. Captain Cook charted the islands in 1774 and commercial exploitation began in the 1820's. In 1906 Britain and France established a condominium over the islands which continued until the islands' independence in 1980.
The population is 258,334 (2012) with an estimated growth rate of 2.3%. The Ni-Vanuatu, the indigenous population, are overwhelmingly Melanesian with small numbers of Europeans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Polynesians and Micronesians. The national language is Bislama (or Bichelama) an English-based Melanesian pidgin. English and French are also official languages.
The population is mainly Christian along with indigenous Pacific religions (about 10%).