Vanuatu – A Place
Vanuatu is officially the Republic of Vanuatu. It is an island nation located on an archipelago of ancient volcanoes in the South Pacific Ocean. There are 13 main islands and many more minor ones. They are spread over a 400-mile north-south area about 500 miles west of Fiji and 1100 miles east of Australia. The capital, Port Vila, is located on Forari. That is the third largest island of Vanuatu. It is located near the center of the island chain.
Vanuatu has a population of approximately 240,000. People from Vanuatu are referred to as Ni-Vanuatu, and most live in rural areas or small villages, but the larger cities of Port Vila and Luganville have populations over 10,000.
The principal languages of Vanuatu are Bislama, French, and English. French and English are the languages of education – the preference of French or English is generally split along lines of political allegiance. Bislama is the official language of Vanuatu, and is classified as a pidgin language, though in some urban areas it is considered a creole. Bislama is essentially a combination of Melanesian grammar and structure with a vocabulary of mostly English words. The majority of the population of Vanuatu speaks and understands Bislama, but often only as a second language.
In addition to the primary languages of Bislama, French, and English, there are over 100 indigenous languages spoken on the islands of Vanuatu. This is the highest language density per capita of any nation in the world. These languages tend to average only 2,000 speakers each, and most are members of the Oceanic branch of the Austronesian language family. The use of these indigenous languages is slowly declining as the three principle languages gain widespread prominence.
Most of the population of Vanuatu belong to one of the many Christian denominations. The largest congregation is the Presbyterian Church, followed by about one-third of the population. The next largest groups are the Roman Catholic and Anglican congregations, with about 15% each. Smaller groups of Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Neil Thomas Ministries (NTM), and Church of Christ followers are also present. Finally, there is a small contingent of less than 1000 Muslims in Vanuatu. Additionally, there are many followers of lesser-known beliefs and traditions, and there have also been instances of “cargo cults” rising within certain populations in Vanuatu. A cargo cult occurs when populations observe the delivery of material goods (often in the form of cargo shipments) and in turn pursue the continued receipt of such goods through rituals and spiritual efforts. Such cults have occurred most often, but not solely, in Melanesia, mostly since the 20th century.
The first Ni-Vanuatu inhabitants likely arrived approximately 3300 years ago, sometime between 1300–1100 BC, as the oldest pottery fragments found on the islands date to this time period.
Not much is known about the prehistoric era of Vanuatu or the first Ni-Vanuatu, but they were probably people of the Lapita culture who arrived in Vanuatu from the Melanesian islands farther west in the Pacific Ocean.
Later migrations brought people of Polynesian origin to Vanuatu, but mostly to the southern islands.
Cultural exchange was accelerated with European explorers discovered and began visiting and trading with the Ni-Vanuatu in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many Ni-Vanuatu were taken as indentured laborers to work on plantations in Fiji, New Caledonia, and Australia, and when they returned, new religions (primarily Presbyterian Christianity and other forms of Christianity) and political developments took root in Vanuatu. In the late 19th century, the governments of France and Great Britain established loose control of Vanuatu, mainly in an effort to protect their traders, planters, and missionaries.
World War II brought Allied armed forces to Vanuatu, and this interaction resulted in the spread of cargo cults and also new political developments mostly concerned with the concepts of land ownership and private property. Political parties began to take shape in the 1970s, and shortly after, a push for independence led to a brief war known as the Coconut War, fought between Papua New Guinean soldiers and Ni-Vanuatu rebels. Following the war, in 1980, the independent Republic of Vanuatu was established.
This section is under development.
Genographic ProjectGeno 2.0 Data
Data from Geno 2.0 is derived from the The National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project — the DAR. The Hg ID is specific to this site and is used to protect the identities of those who take part in Genographic research. Birth Country, Mother's Birth Country, and Maternal Grandmother's Birth Country have been normalized from DAR database fields. The Maternal Origin is determined based on the three previous fields.
Note: Geno 2.0 results currently use Phylotree build 16. I am working on changing results over to build 17.
|Hg ID||Hg Build 16||Birth Country||Mother's Birth Country||Maternal Grandmother's Birth Country|
Sources & Resources
CIA Staff. (2018) Vanuatu. The World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/nh.html.
Sophie Foster and Ron Adams. (2018) Vanuatu. The Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/Vanuatu.
Wikipedia contributors. (2018, August 4). Vanuatu. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 21, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Vanuatu&oldid=853352750.