Independence Day in Vanuatu

In Vanuatu, Independence Day is a holiday observed annually on July 30th. If that day falls on a Sunday, then the holiday is observed on the following Monday; otherwise, it’s observed on this day every year. It’s the National Day of Vanuatu and is an important day in the country’s history.

It celebrates the end of colonial rule by Great Britain and France in 1980. Because it’s such an important holiday, it’s celebrated all over the country with large celebrations, particularly in the capital city of Port Vila. It’s also a day when non-essential government offices and businesses are closed.

The History of Independence Day in Vanuatu

This archipelago of 82 islands, of which about 65 are inhabited, is located about 1,000 miles east of Australia. It was permanently inhabited as early as 500 B.C., and colonial powers began taking an interest in it during the 17th century. It was claimed by Spain during this time, and they even had a colony there for a while. However, that colony wasn’t successful, and eventually, Spain lost interest in the islands.

During the mid-19th century, the French established the first permanent settlement on the islands, and Great Britain claimed a few parts of it. These two colonial powers would eventually strike an agreement to share the rule of the New Hebrides.

During the 1960s, a secession movement began, and this led to a local assembly being elected. Although this assembly would ultimately fail due to infighting, it did lead to the establishment of a party of national unity in the 1970s. A new constitution was adopted on October 5, 1979, and it went into effect the following year. On July 30, 1980, the country gained independence as the Republic of Vanuatu.

Observing Independence Day in Vanuatu

In this country, large celebrations begin in the capital city of Port Vila. These celebrations include parades, festivals, and plenty of music and dancing. Of course, celebrations are also held across the country so everyone can enjoy this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Vanuatu (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
July 30 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
July 30 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
July 30 Sunday