The island group of which Vanuatu is a part has been settled since
500BC. Up to and beyond the 13th century AD it was at the heart
of the empire of Tonga.
During the 19th century the islands making up Vanuatu, were settled
by British and French missionaries, planters and traders. The UK
and France eventually agreed on a condominium over the two islands.
After the Second World War, a complex power struggle began between
the islanders and the interests over the future political and economic
course of the islands. The constitutional position was settled in
1977 at a conference in Paris between British, French and New Hebridean
representatives at which it was agreed that the islands should become
fully independent within three years.
At elections held in November 1979, just a few months before scheduled
Vanuatu is recognised as one of the most culturally diverse countries
in the world.
There are small communities of French, British, Australian, new
Zealand, Vietnamese, Chinese and other Pacific Island people living
in harmony with the Ni-Vanuatu.