Independence Day in Vanuatu

30 Jul 2020  Thu

The Republic of Vanuatu celebrates its Independence Day on July 30. It is a public holiday that commemorates the country’s independence from the United Kingdom and France in 1980.

Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago belongs to Melanesia, along with Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, and part of Indonesia. The islands were originally inhabited by Melanesian people, who first came here over 3,000 years ago.

Spanish were the first European to discover the island which was rediscovered by the French 150 years later. The French were followed by the British. In 1906, France and the UK reached an agreement and began to administer the New Hebrides jointly, establishing the British-French Condominium.

The rise of nationalism in the New Hebrides was triggered by the arrival of Americans during World War II which led to the foundation of the first political party. Originally named the New Hebrides National Party, it was renamed the Vanua’aku Party in 1974. Amid the brief Coconut War, the New Hebrides declared independence on July 30, 1980, as the Republic of Vanuatu.

The first set of banknotes of Vanuatu was issued in the year 1982 which includes 3 denominations of 100 Vatu, 500 Vatu, and 1000 Vatu. The 100 Vatu banknote is shown above which depicts National Motto "Long God Yumi Stanap" and a coat of arms in the obverse with cattle among palm trees in the reverse.

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