The 83 islands of Vanuatu (the name means “Land Eternal”) stretch north-south 1,300 km, from the Torres Islands near Hunter Islands (also claimed by France) east of New Caledonia. This neat geographical unit is divided into three groups: the Torres and Banks Islands in the north, the Y-shaped central group from Espiritu Santo and Maewo to Efate, and the Tafea islands (Tanna, Aniwa, Futuna, Erromango, and Aneityum) in the south. Together they total 12,189 square km, of which the 12 largest islands account for 93%. Espiritu Santo and Malekula alone comprise nearly half of Vanuatu’s land area. Its indigenous people govern Vanuatu as an independent Republic.