Vanuatu: History

  1. 1606

    The first island in the Vanuatu group is discovered by Europeans when Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, a Portuguese explorer, visits the area.

  2. 1865

    European settlers, mostly French and British, begin to arrive on the islands, looking to establish cotton plantations. When global cotton prices collapse, the settlers switch to coffee, cocoa, bananas, and, most successfully, coconuts.

  3. 1906

    France and the United Kingdom agree to administer the islands jointly, in what is called the British-French Condominium. Each country sets up its own government that has dominion only over its own citizens. Each country jointly manages the natives.

  4. 1938

    The John Frum cargo cult begins to spread among the indigenous people on the islands. The cult is based on the belief that the goods brought by foreign visitors are actually meant for the native islanders and that one day these goods will be given back.

  5. 1980

    The New Hebrides achieve independence from Britain and France. The new country is named Vanuatu and Father Walter Lini becomes the first prime minister.

  6. 2003

    Vanuatu is taken off the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Developmentā€™s (OECD) list of countries that are uncooperative tax havens.

  7. 2010

    A report from the Asian Development Bank shows that Vanuatu is one of the fastest growing economies in the Pacific.


BBC News