Port-Vila, the capital and largest city of Vanuatu, is located on Ēfatē Island along the shore of a small bay. In contrast to the more traditional rural areas of Vanuatu, Port-Vila reflects considerable European influence. Louis Antoine de Bougainville led the first French naval expedition to circumnavigate the world, from 1766 to 1769. Members of the expedition became the first Europeans to see many of the Pacific islands they encountered. Bougainville was also a distinguished scientist, and fought in the American War of Independence.
Villagers seek shelter under the overhang of this roof on Ambrym Island, one of more than 80 Pacific islands that make up the country of Vanuatu. The house, like many of the houses on these islands, is built of bamboo and palm leaves. Handcrafted masks play an important role in ritual dances in Vanuatu. Masks are also made for sale to tourists. Most of Vanuatu’s population engages in subsistence agriculture. Here farmers on Pentecost Island in northern Vanuatu harvest yams, one of Vanuatu’s primary food crops.