Initial European interactions and landings did little to change the culture or lifestyle,
especially considering few settled and most of the people on the islands fiercely
fought any attempts to land or settle the islands. This began to change in the 1800s
with the introduction of Christianity. The people almost wholly converted to this
religion as it truly changed their lifestyles and culture, beginning with how the
people dressed and also allowed settlement by foreign powers.
This led to economic expeditions and settlement by both the British and French,
each of whom introduced new cultural aspects and languages to the people. These
two European powers held on to the lands for some time, both changing the culture
in numerous ways, but also creating some division and conflict. Eventually Vanuatu
gained in dependence, but the heavy cultural influences and settlement from Europe
forever changed the people and culture of the island nation. Today the country remains
home to many foreigners and has more significant towns than much of the South Pacific.
However, the people maintain their native languages, foods, and traditions, such
as young men jumping off a tower with nothing but a rope tied to their feet to prove