Vanuatu represents the archipelago from 83 islands located between New Caledonia and Fiji in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean. The biggest of islands is Espiritu Santo (875 sq. miles, 2266 sq.km); other islands of the archipelago - Efate, Malekula, Malo, Pentecost and Tanna.Form of government
The first settlers as believe, arrived to a canoe from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands about 3500 years ago. In 1606 islands were noticed by Pedro Fernández de Kyros, the seafarer of the Portuguese origin, and in 1774 were plotted by the British seafarer James Cook who gave the name to the archipelago of "New Hebrides", in honor of northern Scottish islands. The competing English and French requirements of islands led to formation of the joint government that in 1906 to them allowed to unite in the Anglo-French domination. The Plantatsionny economy of islands founded on the imported Vietnamese labor was prospering till 1920, the market for this production wasn't reduced yet. The diseases which came to the country with missionaries, dealers of a santalaceous tree and others helped to reduce the population to 45000 in 1935, making about 1000000 inhabitants in 1800. Islands formed the basis for allies during World War II. After war radical Melanesians started lobbying acceptance of independence which was reached in 1980. Then the country was renamed into Vanuatu.
In May, 1980 on the island of Espiritu Santo short revolt of the French settlers and workers from plantations took place. Great Britain, France and Papua New Guinea sent there soldiers who suppressed revolt which as declared the new government, was financed by "Phoenix Foundation", the right-wing American group.
In July, 2002 the former prime minister Barack Sope was found guilty of forgery. In April, 2004 Alfred Mazeng was elected the president, but he had to retire when his criminal record was revealed. In August, 2004 Kalkot Mataskelekele was chosen from 16 candidates as the new president. He is the first president of the country supporting the higher education.