In the 19th century, French and British interests lead to a unique form of government that saw both countries sharing control (known then as the New Hebrides). Things changed with the arrival of Americans during World War II. The belief in a mythical figure named John Frum was the basis for the "Cargo Cult" and today "John Frum" is both a religion and a political party.
Vanuatu maintains strong cultural diversity. In one region in the north, wealth is established by how much one can give away.