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Vanuatu, officially the Republic of Vanuatu, is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean.
The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some 1,750 kilometres east of northern Australia, 500 kilometres northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.
Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian people. The first Europeans to visit the islands were a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese navigator Fernandes de Queirós, who arrived in Espiritu Santo in 1605; he claimed the archipelago for Spain and named it Espiritu Santo (the Spanish term for Holy Spirit). In the 1880s France and the United Kingdom claimed parts of the country, and in 1906 they agreed on a framework for jointly managing the archipelago as the New Hebrides through a British French Condominium. An independence movement arose in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in 1980.
Vanuatu is an island archipelago consisting of approximately 82 relatively small, geologically newer islands of volcanic origin, with about 1,300 kilometres north to south distance between the outermost islands.
The climate is tropical, with approximately nine months of warm to hot rainy weather and the possibility of cyclones and three to four months of cooler, drier weather characterized by winds from the southeast.