The Republic of Vanuatu, commonly called Vanuatu, is a country made up of 83 islands and located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is 500 km (310 mi) northeast of New Caledonia. Most of the islands have a tropical or sub-tropical climate, and many have active volcanoes, including underwater volcanoes. A major eruption is always a danger and there is frequent volcanic activity. The last eruption occurred in 1945. Vanuatu is an eco-region called the Vanuatu rain forests.
The Republic of Vanuatu was created in 1980, following their independence from British-French Condominium, which had been established in 1906. Melanesian people were the first inhabitants of Vanuatu. Europeans began to settle in the area in the late 18th century. France and the United Kingdom each claimed parts of Vanuatu in the 1880s, eventually starting the British-French Condominium and calling it the New Hebrides.
The capital of Vanuatu is Port Vila, situated on Efate. It is one of the country's largest towns, along with Luganville on Espiritu Santo. Mount Tabwemasana, at 1879 m (6158 ft), and located on the island of Espiritu Santo, is the highest point in Vanuatu.
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