Republic of Vanuatu

The Republic of Vanuatu is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, with an total area of about 12,000 km² and a population of 165,000 people. The capital is Vila on the island Efate, the second big city is Luganville on the island Espiritu Santo. The islands are located between Australia and Hawai'i, but closer to Australia.

The islands were settled in the 19th century by British and French, who called them New Hebrides. Since 1906 the islands were administered by an Anglo-French Condominium. 1980 the islands became an independet UN country.

The country, consisting of reefs, atolls and islands, is very poor in natural resources. There are no mines, and history is too short for a decent amount of subterranea. The islands are base on volcanism, but with no resulting lava caves. Earth quakes are frequent, tsunamis less frequent but possible. Still there are a few natural caves, as the islands consist partly of limestone, a result of the coral reefs.

The economy is based on tourism and off shore financial services, during the internet boom there was also an additional income from selling domains with the country code vu. The tourists are mainly from New Zealand and Australia.