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Vanuatu:
Geography

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Background
Definition
Multiple waves of colonizers, each speaking a distinct language, migrated to the New Hebrides in the millennia preceding European exploration in the 18th century. This settlement pattern accounts for the complex linguistic diversity found on the archipelago to this day. The British and French, who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980, when the new name of Vanuatu was adopted.
Location
Definition
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates
Definition
16 00 S, 167 00 E
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 12,200 sq km
land: 12,200 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes more than 80 islands, about 65 of which are inhabited
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
2,528 km
Maritime claims
Definition
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate
Definition
tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by cyclones from December to April
Terrain
Definition
mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Tabwemasana 1,877 m
Natural resources
Definition
manganese, hardwood forests, fish
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 1.64%
permanent crops: 6.97%
other: 91.39% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanic eruption on Aoba (Ambae) island began 27 November 2005, volcanism also causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis
Environment - current issues
Definition
most of the population does not have access to a reliable supply of potable water; deforestation
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes


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