The islands, which were partially settled by Melanesians more than 3,000 years ago (around 1300 BC), were discovered in 1606 by the Spanish navigator P. F. de Quirós (rediscovered in 1768 by the French L. A. de Bougainville) and given the name by J. Cook in 1774 New Hebrides. Europeans have immigrated since the first half of the 19th century (Christian mission, beginning sandalwood felling, considerable decimation of the population due to imported diseases). After rivalries over colonial politics, Great Britain and France signed a treaty for the joint administration of the islands in 1887 (condominium since 1906, treaty supplemented in 1914). During World War II, the New Hebrides were a major Allied military base against the Japanese.
According to militarynous, the VP, founded in 1971 as the New Hebrides National Party, was the supporter of the independence movement. In 1977 the New Hebrides gained internal autonomy. After the VP’s election victory (1979), Jimmy Stevens, the leader of the Na-Griamel party founded in 1966, made an unsuccessful attempt to secede the island of Espiritu Santo (mainly supported by settlers of French origin). On July 30, 1980, the New Hebrides became an independent republic within the Commonwealth of Nations as Vanuatu (roughly “land that rises out of the sea”), and in September 1981 it was admitted to the UN. The first president was Ati George Kalkoa, who after his election, following a Melanesian custom, became Sokomanu (“Leader of Thousands”) called. The longtime Prime Minister (1979–91) and Chairman of the VP (1972–91) Walter Hayde Lini (* 1942, † 1999) represented the program of »Melanesian socialism«. In April 1983, Vanuatu declared itself a nuclear-weapon-free zone by law. Together with Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu concluded an agreement in March 1988 on principles of closer cooperation (formation of the “Melanesian Spearheads Group”). – The domestic political situation has been characterized by frequent changes of government since the 1990s. Parliamentary elections were last held on January 22, 2016, after 14 MPs, including several ministers, were sentenced to prison terms in October 2015 for corruption and President Baldwin Lonsdale, who was elected in 2014 then dissolved parliament at the end of November 2015. A total of 17 parties were elected to the new parliament. Most of the seats were won by independent candidates (8 out of 52 seats), followed by the Land and Justice Party (7 seats), the Vanua’aku Pati (6 seats) and the Union of Moderate Parties (6 seats). The RMC leader Charlot Salwai (* 1963) became prime minister on February 11, 2016. President Baldwin Lonsdale passed away on June 17, 2017. According to the constitution, the chairman of parliament Esmon Saimon (* 1955) took over the office. On July 6, 2017, the responsible body elected the clergyman Tallis Obed Moses as the new head of state.
Chief Roi Mata’s Domain (World Heritage)
The World Heritage Site includes several sites on three islands that are significant for the history of the Pacific State: Efate, Lelepa and Artok. They are related to the work of the legendary great chief Roi Mata, who died at the end of the 16th or beginning of the 17th century.
Chief Roi Mata’s Domain: Facts
|Official title:||Cultural landscape “Chief Roi Mata’s Domain”|
|Cultural monument:||Archaeological sites with testimonies and information on where to stay for chief Roi Mata from the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th century on three islands in the Pacific state of Vanuatu: Efatre (place of residence), Lelepa (place of death) and Artok (place of burial in a mass grave); legendary figure of the Melanesian tradition; According to the narrative, peacemaker between the clans of the region, founder of a community encompassing all tribes and initiator of various social reforms; The subject of orally transmitted traditions and the incarnation of certain values as a centuries-old cultural basis|
|Location:||Islands of Efatre, Lelepa and Artok|
|Meaning:||Unique place where a tradition that legitimizes rule and values and creates social unity to this day is maintained; outstanding example of the importance and practice of the chief system in the South Pacific; Expression of the nature-oriented connection of the Melanesian population with tradition and its influence as a spiritual source, which is still effective today|