New Hebrides

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New Hebrides Condominium

Condominium des Nouvelles-Hébrides
1906–1980
Flag of New Hebrides.svg
LocationVanuatu.png
Capital Port Vila
Common languagesEnglish, French, Bislama
History 
 Established
1906
30 July 1980
Area
197612,189 km2 (4,706 sq mi)
Population
 1976
100000
Currency New Hebrides franc, Australian dollar
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Franceville.svg Anglo-French Joint Naval Commission
Vanuatu Flag of Vanuatu.svg
Map of the New Hebrides, 1905 Neue Hebriden 140543a.jpg
Map of the New Hebrides, 1905

New Hebrides, officially the New Hebrides Condominium (French: Condominium des Nouvelles-Hébrides, lit. "Condominium of the New Hebrides") and named for the Hebrides Scottish archipelago, was the colonial name for the island group in the South Pacific Ocean that is now Vanuatu. Native people had inhabited the islands for three thousand years before the first Europeans arrived in 1606 from a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernandes de Queirós. The islands were colonised by both the British and French in the 18th century, shortly after Captain James Cook visited.

Hebrides archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland

The Hebrides comprise a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland. There are two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

Pacific Ocean Ocean between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east and Antarctica or the Southern Ocean in the south.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

Vanuatu Country in Oceania

Vanuatu, officially the Republic of Vanuatu, is a Pacific island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is 1,750 kilometres (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 540 kilometres (340 mi) northeast of New Caledonia, east of New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, and west of Fiji.

Contents

The two countries eventually signed an agreement making the islands an Anglo-French condominium that divided the New Hebrides into two separate communities: one Anglophone and one Francophone. [1] This divide continues even after independence, with schools teaching in either one language or the other, and with different political parties. The condominium lasted from 1906 until 1980, when the New Hebrides gained their independence as the Republic of Vanuatu.

In international law, a condominium is a political territory in or over which multiple sovereign powers formally agree to share equal dominium and exercise their rights jointly, without dividing it into "national" zones.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Politics and economy

The New Hebrides was a rare form of colonial territory in which sovereignty was shared by two powers, Britain and France, instead of just one. Under the Condominium there were three separate governments – one French, one British, and one joint administration that was partially elected after 1975.

The French and British governments were called residencies, each headed by a resident appointed by the metropolitan government. The residency structure greatly emphasised dualism, with both consisting of an equal number of French and British representatives, bureaucrats and administrators. Every member of one residency always had an exact mirror opposite number on the other side who they could consult. The symmetry between the two residencies was almost exact.

The joint government consisted of both local and European officials. It had jurisdiction over the postal service, public radio station, public works, infrastructure, and censuses, among other things. The two main cities of Luganville and Port Vila also had city councils, but these did not have a great deal of authority.[ clarification needed ]

While initial settlers were predominantly British living in Australia, the late 19th century saw an influx of French. Within a few decades, there were twice as many French on the islands as there were British, prompting a multitude of petitions to cede power to either the French or the British. Despite this, the two nations came together to form a condominium, a specialised form of government where both nations would have all of their own administrations and jointly rule the islands. The only place they came together was in the Joint Court. As Mander describes, "The Joint Court was the key to the situation and much was to depend upon it….Three judges–one British, one French, and the third nominated by the King of Spain–were to comprise the court." [2] This meant convictions in court were chosen based on either British or French law, depending on the circumstances.

Other than the Joint Court, everything existed in pairs. "Cynics called the Condominium 'the Pandemonium', as the dual administration produced amazing duplication. There were two police forces with their own laws, including road laws, two health services, two education systems, two currencies, and two prison systems." [3] Additionally, there were separate British and French governments, which meant two immigration policies, two courts (outside of the Joint Court), two corporation laws, and inhabitants of the islands were given the choice as to which government they wanted to go under. For instance, if you were convicted, you could choose whether to be convicted under British or French law. As Miles put it, "The result was an inevitable clash of foreign policy and colonial mentality." [4]

The Condominium was not beneficial for Ni-Vanuatu, as they were "...officially stateless. [For instance,] To travel abroad, they needed an identifying document signed by both the British and the French resident commissioners." [3] Inevitably, this led to revolt across the islands, with a multitude of revolutionary groups forming to attempt to create agency and self-government for themselves.

Local people could choose whether to be tried under the British common law or the French civil law. Visitors could choose which immigration rules to enter under. Nationals of one country could set up corporations under the laws of the other. In addition to these two legal systems, a third Native Court existed to handle cases involving Melanesian customary law. There was also a Joint Court, composed of British and French judges. The President of the Joint Court was appointed by the King of Spain until 1939 when the post was abolished after the retirement of the last President, partly due to the abolition of the Spanish monarchy in 1931. [5]

There were two prison systems to complement the two court systems. The police force was technically unified but consisted of two chiefs and two equal groups of officers wearing two different uniforms. Each group alternated duties and assignments.

Language was a serious barrier to the operation of this naturally inefficient system, as all documents had to be translated once to be understood by one side, then the response translated again to be understood by the other, though Bislama creole represented an informal bridge between the British and the French camps.

See also

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References

Notes
  1. Blais, Hélène (2019), Fichter, James R. (ed.), "Sharing Colonial Sovereignty? The Anglo-French Experience of the New Hebrides Condominium, 1880s–1930s", British and French Colonialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East: Connected Empires across the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries, Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series, Springer International Publishing, pp. 225–247, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-97964-9_10, ISBN   9783319979649 , retrieved 8 August 2019
  2. Mander 1944 , p. 152
  3. 1 2 Harewood et al. 2006
  4. Miles 1994 , p. 201
  5. Woodward, Keith. "A Political Memoir of the Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides". Australian National University. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
Sources

Coordinates: 16°38′S168°01′E / 16.633°S 168.017°E / -16.633; 168.017