|Full Name||Â||108 New Hebrides Condominium|
|Alliance||Â||Allies - Minor Member Nation or Possession|
|Possessing Power||Â||United Kingdom|
|Entry into WW2||Â||8 Dec 1941|
|Population in 1939||Â||43,000|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseEuropeans first arrived at the New Hebrides islands in 1606, and by the 18th century the island group was colonized by both the British and the French. In 1906, the two European powers agreed to share the islands. Britain and France each appointed one resident to oversee the administration of the New Hebrides, each with equal power to enforce the laws of their respective countries, thus making the Condominium a unique one in the history of European colonialism. The British administration set up its capital at Hog Harbour, while the French ruled from Segond. When France was defeated by Germany in 1940, despite the continued presence of a French resident (now answering to the non-belligerent Vichy France), the British resident became the one with more influence over the course of the war. In early 1941, the Australian military established the New Hebrides Defense Force based on the island of Malekula in New Hebrides; this force would later grow to the size of 2,000 Australians and colonials. When the Pacific War began in Dec 1941, because of New Hebrides' strategic location between Australia and the United States, and later the proximity to the Solomon Islands, the islands of Espiritu Santo, Efate, and others in the island group became important military bases for the Allied war effort, hosting airfields and naval anchorages. Espiritu Santo, for example, saw the establishment of a 6,000-foot long airfield early in the war, carved out of dense jungle by men of US Navy construction battalions. The New Hebrides were defended by troops of the US Army, although ultimately these islands would face no threat of invasion by the Japanese. After the war, Britain and France continued to administer New Hebrides until 1980 when the islands were given independence, forming the new republic of Vanuatu.
Last Major Update: Mar 2014
New Hebrides in World War II Interactive Map
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