Vanuatu, officially the Republic of Vanuatu, is an island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is located about 1750 km east of Australia, 500 km northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji and south of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea. Its colonial name was New Hebrides but this name is only used for historical references. Vanuatu was inhabited by the Melanesian people for thousands of years. The archipelago was discovered by a Spanish expedition commanded by Pedro Fernández de Quirós in 1606. Other Europeans began to settle in the area at the end of the 18th century.
In the 1880s, France and the United Kingdom claimed regions of the archipelago, and in 1906 they agreed to create a framework to jointly manage the New Hebrides, through an Anglo-French condominium. During the 1970s an independence movement emerged, and in 1980 the Republic of Vanuatu was founded. It should be noted that Vanuatu is the only country in Oceania that has French as its official language.