New Caledonia

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New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, 1500 kilometres (932.1 mi) east of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and about 20000 kilometres (12,427.5 mi) from Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France is the part of France located in Europe. It can also be described as mainland France or as the French mainland and the island of Corsica...

. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia
Melanesia
Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania extending from the western end of the Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Fiji. The region comprises most of the islands immediately north and northeast of Australia...

 subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands
Loyalty Islands
The Loyalty Islands are an archipelago in the Pacific. They are part of the French territory of New Caledonia, whose mainland is away. They form the Loyalty Islands Province , one of the three provinces of New Caledonia...

, the Belep
Belep
Belep is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....

 archipelago, the Isle of Pines
Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
The Isle of Pines is an island located in the Pacific Ocean, in the archipelago of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France. The island is part of the commune of L'Île-des-Pins, in the South Province of New Caledonia. The Isle of Pines is nicknamed l'île la plus proche du paradis...

 and a few remote islets. The Chesterfield Islands
Chesterfield Islands
Chesterfield Islands is a french archipelago of New Caledonia located in the Coral Sea, 550 km northwest of Grande Terre the main island of New Caledonia. Chesterfield Islands are a 120 km long and 70 km broad structure composed with 11 islets and many reefs...

 in the Coral Sea
Coral Sea
The Coral Sea is a marginal sea off the northeast coast of Australia. It is bounded in the west by the east coast of Queensland, thereby including the Great Barrier Reef, in the east by Vanuatu and by New Caledonia, and in the north approximately by the southern extremity of the Solomon Islands...

 are also part of New Caledonia. Locals refer to Grand Terre as "Le Caillou", the rock.

New Caledonia has a land area of 18,576 square kilometres (7,172 sq mi). The population (2011 estimate) is 256,275. The capital and the only sizeable city of the territory is Nouméa
Nouméa
Nouméa is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia's main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island's European, Polynesian , Indonesian, and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians,...

.

History


The earliest traces of human presence in New Caledonia date back to the Lapita
Lapita
Lapita is a term applied to an ancient Pacific Ocean archaeological culture which is believed by many archaeologists to be the common ancestor of several cultures in Polynesia, Micronesia, and some coastal areas of Melanesia...

 period. The Lapita
Lapita
Lapita is a term applied to an ancient Pacific Ocean archaeological culture which is believed by many archaeologists to be the common ancestor of several cultures in Polynesia, Micronesia, and some coastal areas of Melanesia...

 were highly skilled navigators and agriculturists with influence over a large area of the Pacific.

Europeans first sighted New Caledonia on September 4, 1774, during the second voyage of Captain James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

. He named the territory New Caledonia
Caledonia
Caledonia is the Latinised form and name given by the Romans to the land in today's Scotland north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of their empire...

, as the north-east of the island reminded him of Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. The west coast of Grande Terre was approached by Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse in 1788, shortly before his disappearance, and the Loyalty Islands were first visited in 1796. From then until 1840, only a few sporadic contacts with the archipelago were recorded. Contacts became more frequent after 1840, because of the interest in sandalwood
Sandalwood
Sandalwood is the name of a class of fragrant woods from trees in the genus Santalum. The woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained, and unlike many other aromatic woods they retain their fragrance for decades. As well as using the harvested and cut wood in-situ, essential oils are also extracted...

 from New Caledonia.

As trade in sandalwood
Sandalwood
Sandalwood is the name of a class of fragrant woods from trees in the genus Santalum. The woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained, and unlike many other aromatic woods they retain their fragrance for decades. As well as using the harvested and cut wood in-situ, essential oils are also extracted...

 declined, it was replaced by a new form of trade, "Blackbirding
Blackbirding
Blackbirding is a term that refers to recruitment of people through trickery and kidnappings to work as labourers. From the 1860s blackbirding ships were engaged in seeking workers to mine the guano deposits on the Chincha Islands in Peru...

", a euphemism for enslaving people from New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands
Loyalty Islands
The Loyalty Islands are an archipelago in the Pacific. They are part of the French territory of New Caledonia, whose mainland is away. They form the Loyalty Islands Province , one of the three provinces of New Caledonia...

, New Hebrides
Vanuatu
Vanuatu , officially the Republic of Vanuatu , is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some east of northern Australia, northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.Vanuatu was...

, New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

, and the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

 to work in sugar cane plantations in Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 and Queensland. The trade ceased at the start of the 20th century. The victims of this trade were called Kanakas like all the Oceanian people, after the Hawaiian word for 'man'.

The first missionaries from the London Missionary Society
London Missionary Society
The London Missionary Society was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England in 1795 by evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists, largely Congregationalist in outlook, with missions in the islands of the South Pacific and Africa...

 and the Marist Brothers
Marist Brothers
The Marist Brothers, or Little Brothers of Mary, are a Catholic religious order of brothers and affiliated lay people. The order was founded in France, at La Valla-en-Gier near Lyon in 1817 by Saint Marcellin Champagnat, a young French priest of the Society of Mary...

 arrived in the 1840s. In 1849, the crew of the American ship Cutter was killed and eaten by the Pouma clan. Cannibalism
Cannibalism
Cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy...

 had once been widespread throughout New Caledonia.
On September 24 1853, under orders from Napoleon III, Admiral Febvrier Despointes
Auguste Febvrier Despointes
Auguste Febvrier-Despointes was a French contre-amiral. He served as the first commandant of New Caledonia from 24 September 1853 - 1 January 1854.-Life:...

 took formal possession of New Caledonia and Port-de-France (Nouméa) was founded June 25, 1854. A few dozen free settlers settled on the west coast in the following years. New Caledonia became a penal colony
Penal colony
A penal colony is a settlement used to exile prisoners and separate them from the general populace by placing them in a remote location, often an island or distant colonial territory...

, and from the 1860s until the end of the transportations in 1897, about 22,000 criminals and political prisoners were sent to New Caledonia, among them many Communards
Communards
The Communards were members and supporters of the short-lived 1871 Paris Commune formed in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War and France's defeat....

, including Henri de Rochefort
Victor Henri Rochefort, Marquis de Rochefort-LuCay
Victor Henri Rochefort, Marquis de Rochefort-Luçay , French politician, was born in Paris.-Life:His father was a Legitimist noble who, as Edmond Rochefort, was well known as a writer of vaudevilles; his mother's views were republican...

 and Louise Michel
Louise Michel
Louise Michel was a French anarchist, school teacher and medical worker. She often used the pseudonym Clémence and was also known as the red virgin of Montmartre...

. Between 1873 and 1876, 4,200 political prisoners were "relegated" in New Caledonia. Only forty of them settled in the colony, the rest returned to France after being granted amnesty in 1879 and 1880.

In 1864 nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

 was discovered on the banks of the Diahot River
Diahot River
Diahot is the longest river of New Caledonia, flowing for some 60 miles .It has a catchment area of 620 square kilometres and opens north-westward into the Baie d'Harcourt, flowing towards the northern point of the island along the western escarpment of the Mount Panié.The village of Ouégoa lies on...

 and with the establishment of the Société Le Nickel in 1876 mining began in earnest. The French imported labourers to work in the mines, first from neighbouring islands, then from Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, the Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

 and French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

. The French government also attempted to encourage European immigration, without much success.

The indigenous population was excluded from the French economy, even as workers in the mines, and they were ultimately confined to reservations. This sparked a violent reaction in 1878 as High Chief Atal of La Foa
La Foa
La Foa is a commune in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.Although the provincial seat of the South Province is in Nouméa, La Foa was made the chief town of the administrative subdivision of the South in order to counterbalance the...

 managed to unite many of the central tribes and launched a guerrilla war which cost 200 Frenchman and 1,000 Kanaks their lives. The Kanak population declined from around 60,000 in 1878 to 27,100 in 1921, and their numbers did not increase again until the 1930s.

In June 1940, after the fall of France, the Conseil General of New Caledonia voted unanimously to support the Free French government, and in September the pro-Vichy
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 governor was forced to leave for Indochina. In March 1942, with the assistance of Australia, the territory became an important Allied base, and Nouméa
Nouméa
Nouméa is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia's main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island's European, Polynesian , Indonesian, and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians,...

 the headquarters of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 and Army in the South Pacific. The fleet which turned back the Japanese navy in the Battle of the Coral Sea
Battle of the Coral Sea
The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged...

 in May 1942 was based at Noumea. American troops counted up to 50,000 men, the equivalent of the contemporary population. In 1946 New Caledonia became an overseas territory. By 1953 French citizenship had been granted to all New Caledonians, regardless of ethnicity.

The European and Polynesian
Polynesians
The Polynesian peoples is a grouping of various ethnic groups that speak Polynesian languages, a branch of the Oceanic languages within the Austronesian languages, and inhabit Polynesia. They number approximately 1,500,000 people...

 populations gradually increased in the years leading to the nickel boom of 1969–72, and the Melanesians became a minority, though they were still the largest single ethnic group. Between 1976 and 1988, New Caledonia adopted five different statutes, with each proving to be a source of discontent and, at times, serious disorder, culminating in 1988 with a bloody hostage taking in Ouvéa
Ouvéa cave hostage taking
The Ouvéa cave hostage taking was an event occurring from April 22, 1988 to May 5, 1988 in which members of the separatist group the National Union for Independence-Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front took 27 including a French gendarme and a judge hostage in the island of Ouvéa, New...

. The Matignon Agreements
Matignon Agreements (1988)
Matignon Agreements refers to agreements signed in the Hotel Matignon by Jean-Marie Tjibaou and Jacques Lafleur on June 26, 1988, between loyalists, who wanted to keep New Caledonia as a part of the French Fifth Republic, and separatists, who did not...

, signed on June 26, 1988, ensured a decade of stability. The Noumea Accord
Nouméa Accord
The Nouméa Accord of 1998 promises to grant political power to New Caledonia and its original population, the Kanaks, until the territory decides whether to remain within the French Republic or become an independent state in a referendum to be held between 2014 and 2019...

 signed May 5, 1998, set the groundwork for a 20-year transitional period that will gradually transfer competences to the local government.

Politics


New Caledonia is a sui generis collectivity that has been gradually transferred certain powers from France. It is governed by a 54-member Territorial Congress, a legislative body composed of members of three provincial assemblies. The French State is represented in the territory by a High Commissioner
Colonial and Departmental Heads of New Caledonia
-List of Colonial and Departmental Heads of New Caledonia:-External links:*...

. At a national level, New Caledonia is represented in the National Assembly by two deputies and a senator. At the 2007 French presidential election
French presidential election, 2007
The 2007 French presidential election, the ninth of the Fifth French Republic was held to elect the successor to Jacques Chirac as president of France for a five-year term.The winner, decided on 5 and 6 May 2007, was Nicolas Sarkozy...

 the voter turnout
Voter turnout
Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election . After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1960s...

 in New Caledonia was 68.14%.

For 25 years, the party system in New Caledonia was dominated by the anti-independence The Rally–UMP. This dominance ended with the emergence of a new party, Avenir Ensemble, also opposed to independence but considered more open to dialogue with the Kanak movement, which is part of FLNKS, a coalition of several pro-independence groups.

Customary authority


The Kanak society has several layers of customary authority, from the 4,000-5,000 family-based clans to the eight customary areas (aires coutumières) that make up the territory. Clans are led by clan chiefs and constitute 341 tribes, each headed by a tribal chief. The tribes are further grouped into 57 customary chiefdoms (chefferies), each headed by a Head Chief, and forming the administrative subdivisions of the customary areas.

The Customary Senate is the assembly of the various traditional councils of the Kanaks, and has jurisdiction over the law proposals concerning the Kanak identity. The Customary Senate is composed of sixteen members appointed by each traditional council, with two representatives per each customary area. In its advisory role, the Customary Senate must be consulted on law proposals "concerning the Kanak identity" as defined in the Noumea Accord. It also has a deliberative role on law proposals that would affect identity, the civil customary statute and the land system. A new President is appointed each year in August or September, and the presidency rotates between the eight customary areas.

Kanak people recourse to customary authorities regarding civil matters such as marriage, adoption, inheritance, and some land issues. The French administration typically respects decisions made in the customary system. However, their jurisdiction is sharply limited in penal matters, as some elements of the customary justice system, including the use of corporal punishment
Judicial corporal punishment
Judicial corporal punishment refers to the infliction of corporal punishment as a result of a sentence by a court of law. The punishment can be flogging, caning, birching, whipping, or strapping...

, are seen as clashing with the human rights obligations of France.

Military


The Armed Forces of New Caledonia include about 2,000 soldiers, mainly deployed in Koumac
Koumac
Koumac is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.-History:On 5 January 1977 about 46% of the territory of Koumac was detached and became the commune of Poum. Residents are famous for their technological contribution to the wmirchi.com...

, Nandi
Nandi
Nandi may refer to:* Nandi , the white bull on which Lord Siva rides* Nandi Awards, Film awards given to Tollywood personalities and films* Nandi people, an ethnic group from Africa** Nandi languages...

, Tontouta
La Tontouta International Airport
La Tontouta International Airport or Nouméa - La Tontouta International Airport is the main international airport on New Caledonia. The airport is in the municipality of Païta, approximately 52 km northwest of Nouméa. In 2006, 415,813 passengers used the airport...

, Plum
Plum
A plum or gage is a stone fruit tree in the genus Prunus, subgenus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera in the shoots having a terminal bud and solitary side buds , the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having a groove running down one...

 and Noumea
Nouméa
Nouméa is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia's main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island's European, Polynesian , Indonesian, and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians,...

. The land forces consist of a regiment of the Troupes de marine
Troupes de marine
The or Infanterie de marine, formerly Troupes coloniales, are an arm of the French Army with a colonial heritage. The Troupes de marine have a dedicated overseas service role. Despite their title they have been a part of the Army since 1958...

, the Régiment d’infanterie de marine du Pacifique. The naval forces include two P400 class patrol vessel
P400 class patrol vessel
The P400 patrol ships are small vessels of the French Navy. They were designed to accomplish police operations in the large French Exclusive Economic Zone....

s, a BATRAL
BATRAL
The Bâtiment de Transport Léger are small landing ships of the French Navy. They are able to ferry over 400 tons of matériel, in the hangar and on the deck. Loading and unloading can be done from a harbour or from a beach. Two flat-bottom vessels allow unloading 50 men and light vehicles each...

 and a patrol boat of the Maritime Gendarmerie. The air force is made up of three Casa
Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA
Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA , was a Spanish aircraft manufacturer. It became EADS CASA the Spanish branch of EADS in 1999, but was absorbed by Airbus Military in 2009...

 transport aircraft, four Puma helicopters and a Fennec
Eurocopter Fennec
|-See also:-References:* Jackson, Paul. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004. Coulsdon, UK:Jane's Information Group, 2003. ISBN 0-7106-2537-5.-External links:* * *...

 helicopter, based in Tontouta
La Tontouta International Airport
La Tontouta International Airport or Nouméa - La Tontouta International Airport is the main international airport on New Caledonia. The airport is in the municipality of Païta, approximately 52 km northwest of Nouméa. In 2006, 415,813 passengers used the airport...

. In addition, 760 gendarmes are deployed on the archipelago.

Status



Since 1986 the United Nations Committee on Decolonization has included New Caledonia on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
The United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories is a list of countries that, according to the United Nations, are non-decolonized. The list was initially prepared in 1946 pursuant to Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter, and has been updated by the General Assembly on recommendation...

.

Under the Noumea Accord
Nouméa Accord
The Nouméa Accord of 1998 promises to grant political power to New Caledonia and its original population, the Kanaks, until the territory decides whether to remain within the French Republic or become an independent state in a referendum to be held between 2014 and 2019...

, signed in 1998 following a period of secessionist unrest in the 1980s, New Caledonia is to hold a referendum on independence between 2014 and 2018.

The official name of the territory, Nouvelle-Calédonie, could be changed in the near future due to the accord, which stated that "a name, a flag, an anthem, a motto, and the design of banknotes will have to be sought by all parties together, to express the Kanak identity and the future shared by all parties." To date, however, there has been no consensus on a new name for the territory.

New Caledonia has increasingly adopted its own symbols, choosing an anthem, a motto, and a new design for its banknotes. In July 2010, New Caledonia adopted the Kanak
Kanak people
Kanak are the indigenous Melanesian inhabitants of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the southwest Pacific. They constitute 44.1% of the total population of New Caledonia. Though Melanesian settlement is recorded on Grande Terre's Presqu'île de Foué peninsula as far back as the...

 flag, alongside the existing French tricolor, as the dual official flags of the territory
Flag of New Caledonia
Up to 2010, the only official flag of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France, was the French tricolor. However, with the official adoption of the Kanak flag alongside the French tricolor in July 2010, New Caledonia has become one of the few countries or territories in world with two...

. The adoption made New Caledonia one of the few countries or territories in the world with two official national flags. The decision to use two flags has been a constant battleground between the two sides and led the coalition government to collapse in February 2011.

Administrative divisions



The institutional organization is the result of the organic law and ordinary law passed by the Parliament on February 16, 1999.

The archipelago is divided into three provinces:
  • South Province
    South Province, New Caledonia
    The South Province is one of three administrative subdivisions in New Caledonia. It corresponds to the southern and southwestern portion of the New Caledonian mainland. It is by far the most economically developed and most urbanized part of the archipelago and indeed in the entire Melanesian region...

     (province Sud). Provincial capital: Nouméa
    Nouméa
    Nouméa is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia's main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island's European, Polynesian , Indonesian, and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians,...

    . Population: 183,007 inhabitants (2009).
  • North Province
    North Province, New Caledonia
    The North Province is one of three administrative subdivisions in New Caledonia. It corresponds to the northern and northeastern portion of the New Caledonian mainland.The provincial government seat is at Koné....

     (province Nord). Provincial capital: Koné. Population: 45,137 inhabitants (2009).
  • Loyalty Islands Province
    Loyalty Islands
    The Loyalty Islands are an archipelago in the Pacific. They are part of the French territory of New Caledonia, whose mainland is away. They form the Loyalty Islands Province , one of the three provinces of New Caledonia...

     (province des îles Loyauté). Provincial capital: Lifou
    Lifou
    Lifou is a commune in the Loyalty Islands Province of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean.-Geography:Lifou is made up of Lifou Island, the largest and most heavily populated of the Loyalty Islands, its smaller neighbour Tiga Island, and several uninhabited islets in between these two...

    . Population: 17,436 inhabitants (2009).


New Caledonia is further divided into 33 municipalities: One commune, Poya
Poya, New Caledonia
Poya is a commune in New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The largest part of the commune lies in the North Province of New Caledonia, and a smaller part of the commune lies in the South Province, an odd situation resulting from the creation of New Caledonia's...

, is divided between two provinces. The northern half of Poya, with the main settlement and most of the population, is part of the North Province, while the southern half of the commune, with only 127 inhabitants in 2009, is part of the South Province.
South Province
South Province, New Caledonia
The South Province is one of three administrative subdivisions in New Caledonia. It corresponds to the southern and southwestern portion of the New Caledonian mainland. It is by far the most economically developed and most urbanized part of the archipelago and indeed in the entire Melanesian region...

North Province
North Province, New Caledonia
The North Province is one of three administrative subdivisions in New Caledonia. It corresponds to the northern and northeastern portion of the New Caledonian mainland.The provincial government seat is at Koné....

Loyalty Islands Province
Loyalty Islands
The Loyalty Islands are an archipelago in the Pacific. They are part of the French territory of New Caledonia, whose mainland is away. They form the Loyalty Islands Province , one of the three provinces of New Caledonia...

  1. Thio
    Thio, New Caledonia
    Thio is a commune in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.A novel Aerial tramway existed here at the start of the 20th century to facilitate loading ore ships offshore...

  2. Yaté
    Yaté
    Yaté is a commune in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....

  3. L'Île-des-Pins
    L'Île-des-Pins
    L'Île-des-Pins is a commune in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. L'Île-des-Pins is made up of the Isle of Pines, the smaller Kôtomo Island, and several islets around these two, as well as the distant island of Walpole, which is located almost...

  4. Le Mont-Dore
  5. Nouméa
    Nouméa
    Nouméa is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia's main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island's European, Polynesian , Indonesian, and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians,...

  6. Dumbéa
    Dumbéa
    Dumbéa is a commune in the suburbs of Nouméa in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.-Twin towns: Fréjus, France, since 1985 Punaauia, France, since 1991 Bessières, France Lifou, New Caledonia...

  7. Païta
    Païta
    Païta is a commune in the suburbs of Nouméa in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. New Caledonia's international airport, La Tontouta International Airport, is located there....

  8. Bouloupari
    Bouloupari
    Bouloupari is a commune in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....

  9. La Foa
    La Foa
    La Foa is a commune in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.Although the provincial seat of the South Province is in Nouméa, La Foa was made the chief town of the administrative subdivision of the South in order to counterbalance the...

  10. Sarraméa
    Sarraméa
    Sarraméa is a commune in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....

  11. Farino
    Farino
    Farino is a commune in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....

  12. Moindou
    Moindou
    Moindou is a commune in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....

  13. Bourail
    Bourail
    Bourail is a commune in the South Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.- Geography :This is a rural town of Grande Terre . The municipality is located in both the mountains and along the sea beaches are tourist but remain wild, they are a place popular...

  14. Poya
    Poya, New Caledonia
    Poya is a commune in New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The largest part of the commune lies in the North Province of New Caledonia, and a smaller part of the commune lies in the South Province, an odd situation resulting from the creation of New Caledonia's...

     (part north)


  1. Poya
    Poya, New Caledonia
    Poya is a commune in New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The largest part of the commune lies in the North Province of New Caledonia, and a smaller part of the commune lies in the South Province, an odd situation resulting from the creation of New Caledonia's...

     (part south)
  2. Pouembout
    Pouembout
    Pouembout is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....


  3. Koné
  4. Voh
    Voh
    Voh is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.It has become famous for the aerial photography known as The Heart of Voh, a large formation of vegetation that resembles a heart seen from above...


  5. Kaala-Gomen
    Kaala-Gomen
    Kaala-Gomen is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.The city was founded on its present site in 1899, with a committee appointed by the municipal government...


  6. Koumac
    Koumac
    Koumac is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.-History:On 5 January 1977 about 46% of the territory of Koumac was detached and became the commune of Poum. Residents are famous for their technological contribution to the wmirchi.com...


  7. Poum
    Poum
    Poum is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The town of Poum is located in the far northwest, located on the southern part of Banare Bay, with Mouac Island just offshore....


  8. Belep
    Belep
    Belep is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....


  9. Ouégoa
    Ouégoa
    Ouégoa is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....


  10. Pouébo
    Pouébo
    Pouébo is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....


  11. Hienghène
    Hienghène
    Hienghène is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....


  12. Touho
    Touho
    Touho is a municipality in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. Touho lies on the east coast of the main island and is served by a road and an airfield....


  13. Poindimié
    Poindimié
    Poindimié is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....


  14. Ponérihouen
    Ponérihouen
    Ponérihouen is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....


  15. Houaïlou
    Houaïlou
    Houaïlou is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean....


  16. Kouaoua
    Kouaoua
    Kouaoua is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. Nickel mining is operated in Kouaoua.-History:...


  17. Canala
    Canala
    Canala is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.-History:On 25 April 1995 about 47% of the territory of Canala was detached and became the commune of Kouaoua....



  1. Ouvéa
    Ouvéa
    Ouvéa is a commune in the Loyalty Islands Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The settlement of Fayaoué , on Ouvéa Island, is the administrative centre of the commune of Ouvéa. -Geography:...


  2. Lifou
    Lifou
    Lifou is a commune in the Loyalty Islands Province of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean.-Geography:Lifou is made up of Lifou Island, the largest and most heavily populated of the Loyalty Islands, its smaller neighbour Tiga Island, and several uninhabited islets in between these two...


  3. Maré
    Maré
    Maré is a commune in the Loyalty Islands Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.The commune of Maré is made up of Maré Island and the much smaller Dudun Island, which lie among the Loyalty Islands, to the northeast of New Caledonia's mainland. The settlement...


Geography




New Caledonia is part of Zealandia
Zealandia (continent)
Zealandia , also known as Tasmantis or the New Zealand continent, is a nearly submerged continental fragment that sank after breaking away from Australia 60–85 million years ago, having separated from Antarctica between 85 and 130 million years ago...

, a fragment of the ancient Gondwana
Gondwana
In paleogeography, Gondwana , originally Gondwanaland, was the southernmost of two supercontinents that later became parts of the Pangaea supercontinent. It existed from approximately 510 to 180 million years ago . Gondwana is believed to have sutured between ca. 570 and 510 Mya,...

 super-continent. Zealandia separated from Australia 60–85 million years ago. New Caledonia itself separated from Australia 65 million years ago, subsequently drifting in a north-easterly direction, reaching its present position about 50 million years ago.

The mainland is divided in length by a central mountain range whose highest peak are Mount Panié (1629 m) in the north and Mount Humboldt (1618 m) in the southeast. The east coast is covered by a lush vegetation. The west coast, with its large savannahs and plains suitable for farming, is a drier area. Many ore-rich massifs are found along this coast.

The Diahot River
Diahot River
Diahot is the longest river of New Caledonia, flowing for some 60 miles .It has a catchment area of 620 square kilometres and opens north-westward into the Baie d'Harcourt, flowing towards the northern point of the island along the western escarpment of the Mount Panié.The village of Ouégoa lies on...

 is the longest river of New Caledonia, flowing for some 100 kilometres (62.1 mi). It has a catchment area of 620 square kilometres and opens north-westward into the Baie d'Harcourt, flowing towards the northern point of the island along the western escarpment of the Mount Panié. Most of the island is covered by wet evergreen forests, while savannahs dominate the lower elevations. The New Caledonian lagoon, with a total area of ​​24,000 square kilometers is one of the largest lagoons in the world. It is surrounded by the New Caledonia Barrier Reef
New Caledonia Barrier Reef
The New Caledonia Barrier Reef is located in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, and is the second-longest double-barrier coral reef in the world, after Australia's Great Barrier Reef....

.

Climate


The climate is tropical
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

, with hot and humid period from November to March with temperatures between 27°C and 30°C, and a cooler, dry period from June to August with temperatures between 20°C and 23°C, linked by two short transition periods. The tropical climate is strongly moderated by the oceanic influence and the trade winds that attenuates humidity, which can be close to 80%. The average annual temperature is 23°C, with historical extremes of 2.3°C and 39.1°C.

The rainfall records show that precipitations differ greatly within the island. The 3000 mm of rainfall recorded in Galarino are three times the average of the west coast. There are also dry periods, because of the effects of El Nino. Between December and April, tropical depressions and cyclones can cause winds to exceed a speed of 100 km/h with gusts of 250 km/h and very abundant rainfall. The last cyclone affecting New Caledonia was Cyclone Kerry, in January 2005.

Environment



New Caledonia has many unique plants and animals, especially birds. It has the richest diversity in the world per square kilometre. The biodiversity is caused by Grande Terre's central mountain range, which has created a variety of niches, landforms and micro-climates where endemic species thrive.

Bruno Van Peteghem
Bruno Van Peteghem
Bruno Van Peteghem was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2001, for his campaign to place the island's coral reef on UNESCO's World Heritage List in order to protect the reef against destruction from nickel mining industries.-References:...

 who was in 2001 awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize
Goldman Environmental Prize
The Goldman Environmental Prize is a prize awarded annually to grassroots environmental activists, one from each of the world's six geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America. The prize includes a no-strings-attached award of...

 for his efforts on behalf of the Caledonian ecological protection movement in the face of "serious challenges" from Jacques Lafleur
Jacques Lafleur
Jacques Lafleur was a French politician born in Nouméa, New Caledonia.Lafleur was a onetime leader of one of the two anti-independence parties in New Caledonia, the RPCR . He was a signatory to the Matignon Accords in 1988 and the Nouméa Accord in 1998...

's RPCR
Rally for Caledonia in the Republic
The The Rally–UMP is a conservative political party in New Caledonia, strongly supportive of the French status of the region; it is affiliated with the French Union for a Popular Movement.-History:...

 party. Progress has been made in a few areas in addressing the protection of New Caledonia's ecological diversity from fire, industrial and residential development, unrestricted agricultural activity and mining (such as the judicial revocation of INCO
Inco
Vale Canada Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Brazilian mining company Vale. It is Vale's nickel mining and metals division and is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada...

's mining license in June 2006 owing to claimed abuses.

Flora



With 44 species in five generas, New Caledonia is the tropical country with the highest concentration of Gymnosperms. Of the 44 species of gymnosperms, 43 are endemic, including the only known parasite Gymnosperm (Parasitaxus usta). It is one of five regions the world in which the Nothofagus
Nothofagus
Nothofagus, also known as the southern beeches, is a genus of 35 species of trees and shrubs native to the temperate oceanic to tropical Southern Hemisphere in southern South America and Australasia...

 still exists, with five species.

Shrubby vegetation (maquis minier) occurs on metalliferous soils, mostly in the south. The soils of ultramafic rocks (mining terrains) have been a refuge for many native flora species because they are toxic and inadequately mineralized for most foreign species.

Of the 35 araucaria
Araucaria
Araucaria is a genus of evergreen coniferous trees in the family Araucariaceae. There are 19 extant species in the genus, with a highly disjunct distribution in New Caledonia , Norfolk Island, eastern Australia, New Guinea, Argentina, Chile, and southern Brazil.-Description:Araucaria are mainly...

 tree species recorded worldwide, 13 are endemic to New Caledonia. The largest fern
Fern
A fern is any one of a group of about 12,000 species of plants belonging to the botanical group known as Pteridophyta. Unlike mosses, they have xylem and phloem . They have stems, leaves, and roots like other vascular plants...

 of New Caledonia is the Cyathea intermedia, it can reach 30 m and is the largest known on earth. Cyathea intermedia is endemic but very common on acid ground, it grows at a speed of 1 m per year on the east coast, usually in the fallow or forest openings. There are also Cyathea novae-caledoniae.

Fauna



New Caledonia is home to the New Caledonian crow
New Caledonian Crow
The New Caledonian Crow is a tool-using species of crow endemic to New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands. These crows are some of the only non-primate animals known to invent new tools by modifying existing ones, and then passing these innovations on to other individuals in the cultural group...

, a bird noted for its tool-making abilities, which rival that of primates. These crows are renowned for their extraordinary intelligence and ability to fashion tools to solve problems, and make the most complex tools of any animal yet studied apart from humans.

The endemic Kagu
Kagu
The Kagu or Cagou is a crested, long-legged, and bluish-grey bird endemic to the dense mountain forests of New Caledonia. It is the only surviving member of the genus Rhynochetos and the family Rhynochetidae, although a second species has been described from the fossil record...

, agile and able to run fast, is a flightless bird, but it is able to use its wings to climb branches or glide. It is the surviving member of monotypic
Monotypic
In biology, a monotypic taxon is a taxonomic group with only one biological type. The term's usage differs slightly between botany and zoology. The term monotypic has a separate use in conservation biology, monotypic habitat, regarding species habitat conversion eliminating biodiversity and...

 family Rhynochetidae, order Gruiformes
Gruiformes
The Gruiformes are an order containing a considerable number of living and extinct bird families, with a widespread geographical diversity. Gruiform means "crane-like"....

.

There are 11 endemic fish species and 14 endemic species of decapod
Decapoda
The decapods or Decapoda are an order of crustaceans within the class Malacostraca, including many familiar groups, such as crayfish, crabs, lobsters, prawns and shrimp. Most decapods are scavengers. It is estimated that the order contains nearly 15,000 species in around 2,700 genera, with...

 crustaceans in the rivers and lakes of New Caledonia. Some exist only in small areas such as Neogalaxias. The Nautilus
Nautilus
Nautilus is the common name of marine creatures of cephalopod family Nautilidae, the sole extant family of the superfamily Nautilaceae and of its smaller but near equal suborder, Nautilina. It comprises six living species in two genera, the type of which is the genus Nautilus...

, considered a living fossil
Living fossil
Living fossil is an informal term for any living species which appears similar to a species otherwise only known from fossils and which has no close living relatives, or a group of organisms which have long fossil records...

 and close to the Ammonites which became extinct at the end of the Mesozoic era, is endemic to New Caledonia. It is one of four surviving species of cephalopod
Cephalopod
A cephalopod is any member of the molluscan class Cephalopoda . These exclusively marine animals are characterized by bilateral body symmetry, a prominent head, and a set of arms or tentacles modified from the primitive molluscan foot...

s.

Several species of New Caledonia are remarkable for their size: the Ducula goliath is the largest pigeon in the world; Rhacodactylus leachianus
Rhacodactylus leachianus
The New Caledonian Giant Gecko or Leach's Giant Gecko , is a large species of gecko first described by Georges Cuvier in 1829. It is often commonly referred to as a Leachie gecko . It is the largest of the Rhacodactylus geckos...

, the largest gecko in the world; the Phoboscincus bocourti the largest skink
Skink
Skinks are lizards belonging to the family Scincidae. Together with several other lizard families, including Lacertidae , they comprise the superfamily or infraorder Scincomorpha...

 in the world, thought to be extinct but rediscovered in 2003.

Demographics



At the last census in 2009 New Caledonia had a population of 245,580. Of these, 17,436 live in the Loyalty Islands Province, 45,137 in the North Province
North Province, New Caledonia
The North Province is one of three administrative subdivisions in New Caledonia. It corresponds to the northern and northeastern portion of the New Caledonian mainland.The provincial government seat is at Koné....

, and 183,007 in the South Province
South Province, New Caledonia
The South Province is one of three administrative subdivisions in New Caledonia. It corresponds to the southern and southwestern portion of the New Caledonian mainland. It is by far the most economically developed and most urbanized part of the archipelago and indeed in the entire Melanesian region...

. Population growth has slowed down since the 1990s, but remains strong with a yearly increase of 1.7% between 1996 and 2009.

Natural growth is responsible for 85% of the population growth, while the remaining 15% is attributable to net migration. The population growth is strong in the Southern province (2.3% per year between 1996 and 2009), moderate in the Northern Province (0.7%), but negative in the Loyalty Islands, which are losing inhabitants (- 1.3%).

Over 40% of the population is under 20, although the rate of older people on the total population is increasing. Two residents of New Caledonia out of three live in Greater Nouméa. Three out of four were born in New Caledonia. The total fertility rate
Total Fertility Rate
The total fertility rate of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if she were to experience the exact current age-specific fertility rates through her lifetime, and she...

 went from 3.2 children per woman in 1990 to 2.2 in 2007.

Ethnic groups


In 2009, 40.3% of the population reported belonging to the Kanak community, 29.2% to the European
Caldoche
Caldoche is the name given to European inhabitants of the French territory of New Caledonia, mostly native-born French settlers. The formal name to refer to this particular population is Calédoniens, short for the very formal Néo-Calédoniens, however this self-appellation technically includes all...

 community and 8.7% to the community originating from Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna, officially the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands , is a Polynesian French island territory in the South Pacific between Tuvalu to the northwest, Rotuma of Fiji to the west, the main part of Fiji to the southwest, Tonga to the southeast,...

. The remaining identified communities represented 7.3% of the population, and included Tahitians
Tahitians
The Tahitians, or Maohis, are indigenous peoples of Tahiti and thirteen other Society Islands, as well as the modern population of these lands of mixed ancestry . The Tahitians are one of the most significant indigenous Polynesian peoples of Oceania....

 (2.0%), Indonesians
Overseas Indonesian
An Overseas Indonesian is a person of Indonesian origin who lives outside of Indonesia. This term applies to people of Indonesian birth and descent who are citizens or residents of temporary status.-History:...

 (1.6%), Vietnamese
Vietnamese people
The Vietnamese people are an ethnic group originating from present-day northern Vietnam and southern China. They are the majority ethnic group of Vietnam, comprising 86% of the population as of the 1999 census, and are officially known as Kinh to distinguish them from other ethnic groups in Vietnam...

 (1.0%), Ni-Vanuatu
Ni-Vanuatu
Ni-Vanuatu is a demonym used to refer to all Melanesian ethnicities originating in Vanuatu.It also refers, more generally, to nationals and citizens of Vanuatu, whatever their ethnicity....

 (0.9%) other Asian (0.8%) and other (1.0%). 8.3% belonged to multiple communities, 5% declared their community as "Caledonian", 1.2% did not respond. The question on community belonging, which had been left out of the 2004 census, was reintroduced in 2009 under a new formulation, different from the 1996 census, allowing multiple choices and the possibility to clarify the choice "other".

The Kanak people, part of the Melanesian group, are indigenous to New Caledonia. Their social organization is traditionally based around clans, which identify as either “land” or “sea” clans, depending on their original location and the occupation of their ancestors. According to the 2009 census, the Kanak constitute 94% of the population in the Loyalty Islands Province, 74% in the North Province and 27% in the South Province. The Kanak live in relatively poor socio-economic situations.

Europeans
Europeans in Oceania
European exploration and settlement of Oceania began in the 16th century, starting with Spanish landings and shipwrecks in the Marianas Islands, east of the Philippines. Subsequent rivalry between European colonial powers, trade opportunities and Christian missions drove further European...

 first settled in New Caledonia when France established a penal colony on the archipelago. Once the prisoners had completed their sentences, they were given land to settle. According to the 2009 census, of the 71,721 Europeans in New Caledonia 32,354 were native-born, 33,551 were born in other parts of France, and 5,816 were born abroad. The Europeans are divided into several groups: the Caldoche
Caldoche
Caldoche is the name given to European inhabitants of the French territory of New Caledonia, mostly native-born French settlers. The formal name to refer to this particular population is Calédoniens, short for the very formal Néo-Calédoniens, however this self-appellation technically includes all...

 are usually defined as those born in New Caledonia who have ancestral ties that span back to the early French settlers. They often settled in the rural areas of the western coast of Grande Terre, where many continue to run large cattle properties.

Distinct from the Caldoches are those were born in New Caledonia from families that had settled more recently, and are called simply Caledonians. The French-born immigrants who come to New Caledonia are called métros, indicating their origins in metropolitan France. There is also a community of about 2,000 pieds noirs, some of them prominent in anti-independence politics, including Pierre Maresca, a leader of the RPCR
Rally for Caledonia in the Republic
The The Rally–UMP is a conservative political party in New Caledonia, strongly supportive of the French status of the region; it is affiliated with the French Union for a Popular Movement.-History:...

.

Languages and religion



The French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 began to spread with the establishment of French settlements, and French is now spoken even in the most secluded villages. The level of fluency, however, varies significantly across the population as a whole, primarily due to the absence of universal access to public education before 1953, but also due to immigration and ethnic diversity. At the 2009 census, 97.3% of people aged 15 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas only 1.1% reported that they had no knowledge of French.

The 28 Kanak languages ​spoken in New Caledonia are part of the Oceanic group of the Austronesian
Austronesian languages
The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people. It is on par with Indo-European, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the...

 family. Kanak languages ​​are taught from kindergarten (4 languages ​​are taught up to the bachelor's degree) and an academy is responsible for their promotion. The three most widely spoken languages ​​are Drehu (spoken in Lifou
Lifou
Lifou is a commune in the Loyalty Islands Province of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean.-Geography:Lifou is made up of Lifou Island, the largest and most heavily populated of the Loyalty Islands, its smaller neighbour Tiga Island, and several uninhabited islets in between these two...

), Nengone (Maré
Maré
Maré is a commune in the Loyalty Islands Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.The commune of Maré is made up of Maré Island and the much smaller Dudun Island, which lie among the Loyalty Islands, to the northeast of New Caledonia's mainland. The settlement...

) and Paicî (north of Grande Terre). At the 2009 census, 35.8% of people aged 15 or older reported that they could speak (but not necessarily read or write) one of the indigenous Melanesian languages
Melanesian languages
The Melanesian languages are the indigenous languages of Melanesia. They include about 400 Austronesian languages and numerous families of Papuan languages....

, whereas 58.7% reported that they had no knowledge of any of them.

The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 claims half of the population as adherents, including almost all of the Europeans, Uveans, and Vietnamese and half of the Melanesian and Tahitian minorities. Of the Protestant churches, the Free Evangelical Church and the Evangelical Church in New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands have the largest number of adherents; their memberships are almost entirely Melanesian. There are also numerous other Christian groups and small numbers of Muslims.

Economy



New Caledonia has one of the largest economies in the South Pacific, with a GDP per capita slightly higher than New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, though there is significant inequality in income distribution, and long-standing structural imbalances between the economically dominant South Province and the less developed North Province and Loyalty Islands. The currency in use in New Caledonia is the CFP franc
CFP franc
The CFP franc is the currency used in the French overseas collectivities of French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna. The initials CFP originally stood for Colonies Françaises du Pacifique...

, pegged to the euro at a rate of 100 CFP to 0.84 euros. It is issued by the Institut d'Emission d'Outre-Mer.

GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 grew by only 1.1% in 2009, a result affected by a contraction of domestic demand and a deflationary situation brought about by a drastic fall in nickel prices. In the same year, GDP per capita stood at 3.1 million CFP francs.

Financial support from France is substantial, representing more than 15% of the GDP, and contributes to the health of the economy. Tourism is underdeveloped, with 100,000 visitors a year, compared to 400,000 in the Cook Islands
Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

 and 200,000 in Vanuatu
Vanuatu
Vanuatu , officially the Republic of Vanuatu , is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some east of northern Australia, northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.Vanuatu was...

. Much of the land is unsuitable for agriculture, and food accounts for about 20% of imports. According to FAOSTAT, New Caledonia is one of world's largest producers of: yams
Yam (vegetable)
Yam is the common name for some species in the genus Dioscorea . These are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania...

 (33rd); taro
Taro
Taro is a common name for the corms and tubers of several plants in the family Araceae . Of these, Colocasia esculenta is the most widely cultivated, and is the subject of this article. More specifically, this article describes the 'dasheen' form of taro; another variety is called eddoe.Taro is...

 (44th); plantains (50th); coconuts
COcOnuts
COcOnuts is the second album released by Jane, comprising Animal Collective member Panda Bear, and Scott Mou. It was originally self-released on CD-R's, but later became the first album released by Psych-o-path Records in 2005. The Psych-o-path version was remastered by Rusty Santos and Edik Kleyner....

 (52nd). The exclusive economic zone
Exclusive Economic Zone
Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...

 of New Caledonia covers 1.4 million square kilometres. The construction sector accounts for roughly 12% of GDP, employing 9.9% of the salaried population in 2010. Manufacturing is largely confined to small-scale activities such as the transformation of foodstuffs, textiles and plastics.

In 2007, exports from New Caledonia amounted to 2.11 billion US dollars, 96.3% of which were mineral products and alloys (essentially nickel ore and ferronickel). Imports amounted to 2.88 billion US dollars. 26.6% of imports came from Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France is the part of France located in Europe. It can also be described as mainland France or as the French mainland and the island of Corsica...

, 16.1% from other European countries, 13.6% from Singapore (essentially fuel), 10.7% from Australia, 4.0% from New Zealand, 3.2% from the United States, 3.0% from Japan, and 22.7% from other countries. The trade deficit is very high at over 130 billion CFP francs.

Nickel sector




New Caledonian soils contain about 25% of the world's nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

 resources. The late-2000s recession has gravely affected the nickel industry, as the sector faced a significant drop in nickel prices (-31.0% year-on-year in 2009) for the second consecutive year. The fall in prices has led a number of producers to reduce or stop altogether their activity, resulting in a reduction of the global supply of nickel by 6% compared to 2008.

This context, combined with bad weather has forced the operators in the sector to revise downwards their production target. Thus, the activity of mineral extraction has declined by 8% in volume year on year. The share of the nickel sector as a percentage of GDP fell 3%, to 5% in 2009 compared with 8% in 2008. A trend reversal and a recovery in demand, have been recorded early in the second half of 2009, allowing a 2.0% increase in the local metal production.

Culture



Wood carving
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

, especially of the houp (Montrouziera cauliflora
Montrouziera cauliflora
Montrouziera cauliflora is a species of flowering plant in the Clusiaceae family.It is found only in New Caledonia.-References:* Jaffré, T. et al. 1998. . Downloaded on 20 July 2007....

), are a contemporary reflection of the beliefs of the traditional tribal society, and include totems, masks, chambranle
Chambranle
In architecture and joinery, the chambranle is the border, frame, or ornament, made of stone or wood, that is a component of the three sides round chamber doors, large windows, and chimneys....

s, or flèche faitière
Flèche faîtière
A flèche faîtière is a carved rooftop spear or spire or finial that adorns Kanak houses, particularly the Great Houses of the Kanak Chiefs, in New Caledonia. The ceremonial carving is the home of ancestral spirits and is characterized by three major components. The ancestor is symbolized by a...

, a kind of arrow which adorns the roofs of Kanak houses. Basketry is a craft widely practiced by tribal women, creating objects of daily use.

The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre
Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre
The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, on the narrow Tinu Peninsula, approximately northeast of the historic centre of Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia, celebrates the vernacular Kanak culture, the indigenous culture of New Caledonia, amidst much political controversy over the independent...

, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano
Renzo Piano
Renzo Piano is an Italian architect. He is the recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, AIA Gold Medal, Kyoto Prize and the Sonning Prize...

 and opened in 1998, is the icon of the Kanak culture.

The Kaneka is a form of local music, inspired by reggae
Reggae
Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady.Reggae is based...

 and originating in the 1980s.

The Mwâ Ka is a 12m totem pole
Totem pole
Totem poles are monumental sculptures carved from large trees, mostly Western Red Cedar, by cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America...

 commemorating the French annexation of New Caledonia, and was inaugurated in 2005.

Media


Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes
Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes
Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes is a daily, French-language newspaper published in New Caledonia since June 15, 1971. The newspaper, which is owned by Groupe Hersant Média, is New Caledonia's only daily publication. Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes does not publish a Sunday edition.-External links:*...

 is the only daily newspaper in the archipelago. A monthly publication, Le chien bleu, parodies the news from New Caledonia.

There are five radio stations: the public service broadcaster RFO radio Nouvelle-Calédonie, Océane FM, Radio Djido (established by Jean-Marie Tjibaou
Jean-Marie Tjibaou
Jean-Marie Tjibaou was a leader of the Kanak independence movement and a politician in New Caledonia. The son of a tribal chief, Tjibaou was ordained a priest but abandoned his religious vocation for a life in political activism...

), NRJ and Radio Rythmes Bleus.

As for television, the public service broadcaster RFO Nouvelle-Calédonie has two channels: Télé Nouvelle-Calédonie, dedicated partly to local programming and newscasts and Tempo
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

, which retransmits French programmes. Canal+
Canal+
Canal+ is a French premium pay television channel launched in 1984. It is 80% owned by the Canal+ Group, which in turn is owned by Vivendi SA. The channel broadcasts several kinds of programming, mostly encrypted...

 relays the programming of Canal + France, and CanalSat
CanalSat
CanalSat is a French digital satellite and DSL pay television service. It is owned by Vivendi with a 65% share, minority shareholders are Lagardère , TF1 and M6...

 proposes 17 digital channels in French. Analogue television broadcasts ended in September 2011, completing the digital television transition
Digital television transition
The digital television transition is the process in which analog television broadcasting is converted to and replaced by digital television. This primarily involves both TV stations and over-the-air viewers; however it also involves content providers like TV networks, and cable television...

 in New Caledonia. The French broadcasting authorities are considering bids for two new local television stations, NCTV and NC9, planned to be launched in 2012.

The media are considered to be able to operate freely, but Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

 raised concerns in 2006 about "threats and intimidation" of RFO staff by members of a pro-independence group.

Sports


The New Caledonia football team
New Caledonia national football team
The New Caledonia national football team is the team of New Caledonia and is controlled by the Fédération Calédonienne de Football. Although they were only admitted to FIFA in 2004, they have been participating in the OFC Nations Cup since its inception. They have been one of this relatively small...

 began play in 1951, and was admitted into FIFA
FIFA
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association , commonly known by the acronym FIFA , is the international governing body of :association football, futsal and beach football. Its headquarters are located in Zurich, Switzerland, and its president is Sepp Blatter, who is in his fourth...

, the international association of football leagues, in 2004. Prior to joining FIFA, New Caledonia held observer status with the Oceania Football Confederation
Oceania Football Confederation
The Oceania Football Confederation is one of the six continental confederations of international association football, consisting of Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and island nations such as Tonga, Fiji and other Pacific Island countries...

, and became an official member of the OFC with its FIFA membership. They have won the South Pacific Games
South Pacific Games
The Pacific Games is a multi-sport event, much like the Olympics , with participation exclusively from countries around the South Pacific. It is held every four years and began in 1963, hosted by Suva, Fiji.- Concept :The idea of holding the South Pacific Games originated with Dr A.H...

 five times, most recently in 2007, and have placed third on two occasions in the OFC Nations Cup
OFC Nations Cup
The OFC Nations Cup is an international association football tournament held among the Oceania Football Confederation member nations. It was held every two years from 1996 to 2004; before 1996 there were two other tournaments held at irregular intervals, under the name Oceania Nations Cup...

. Christian Karembeu
Christian Karembeu
Christian Karembeu is a retired French international footballer and current scout for Arsenal Football Club...

 is a prominent New Caledonian former footballer, while Alex Khadivi also played a few games in Noumea.

Horse Racing is also very popular in New Caledonia.

Women's cricket matches are also popular.

The Rugby league
Rugby league
Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 by a split from Rugby Football Union over paying players...

 team participated in the Pacific Cup in 2004.

New Caledonia also has a national synchronised swimming team which travel to other countries preforming.

New Caledonia is hosting the Oceanias in 2012

Transport



Tontouta International Airport is located 50 km north of Noumea, and connects New Caledonia with the airports of Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, Auckland, Brisbane, Osaka, Papeete, Fiji, Wallis, Port Vila, Seoul, and St. Denis. Most internal air services are operated by the domestic carrier Air Calédonie
Air Calédonie
Société Calédonienne de Transports Aériens, operating as Air Calédonie, is the domestic airline for New Caledonia, headquartered on the grounds of Magenta Airport in Nouméa. It operates scheduled passenger and cargo flights from Nouméa to 10 destinations in New Caledonia...

. Cruise ships dock at the Gare Maritime in Noumea. The passenger and cargo boat Havannah sails to Port Vila
Port Vila
Port Vila is the capital and largest city of Vanuatu. Situated on the south coast of the island of Efate, in Shefa Province, the city population at last was 29,356, an increase of 55% on the previous census result . This suggests a 2007 population of about 40,000 or around 65% of the province's...

, Malicolo
Malakula
Malakula Island , also spelled Malekula, is the second-largest island in the nation of Vanuatu, in the Pacific Ocean region of Melanesia...

 and Santo
Luganville
Luganville, called "Santo" by people from Vanuatu's northern islands who use Luganville as their big city, and called "Kanal" by rural residents of the large island of Espiritu Santo, is the second largest city in Vanuatu. The population is .Luganville is one of Vanuatu's busiest ports,...

 in Vanuatu
Vanuatu
Vanuatu , officially the Republic of Vanuatu , is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some east of northern Australia, northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.Vanuatu was...

 once a month.

New Caledonia's road network consists of:
  • Route territoriale 1, going from the exit from Noumea
    Nouméa
    Nouméa is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia's main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island's European, Polynesian , Indonesian, and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians,...

     to the Néhoué river, north of Koumac
    Koumac
    Koumac is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.-History:On 5 January 1977 about 46% of the territory of Koumac was detached and became the commune of Poum. Residents are famous for their technological contribution to the wmirchi.com...

    ;
  • Route territoriale 2, located on Lifou Island
    Lifou Island
    Lifou Island is the largest and most important island of the Loyalty Islands, in the archipelago of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is located at .-Administration:...

     and from the Wanaham airport
    Lifou Airport
    Lifou Airport is an airport in Lifou, New Caledonia ....

     to the south of
    Wé is a small town in the commune of Lifou, in the Loyalty Islands Province, New Caledonia. It is located on the east coast of Lifou Island. Wé is the administrative centre of the commune of Lifou as well as the location of the provincial assembly of the Loyalty Islands....

    ;
  • Route territoriale 3, from the junction with the RT1 in Nandi
    Nandi
    Nandi may refer to:* Nandi , the white bull on which Lord Siva rides* Nandi Awards, Film awards given to Tollywood personalities and films* Nandi people, an ethnic group from Africa** Nandi languages...

     up to Tiwaka
    Tiwaka River
    The Tiwaka River is a river of northeastern New Caledonia. It contains the Massif de Tchingou....

    ;
  • Route territoriale 4, from the junction with the RT1 near Muéo to the power plant.

Further reading


  • Di Giorgio Wladimir,member of the Pontifical Academy, in "Francs et Kanaks" (Purpose of the n° 51495 résolution).2009.
  • Boyer, S.L. & Giribet, G. (2007): A new model Gondwanan taxon: systematics and biogeography of the harvestman family Pettalidae (Arachnida, Opiliones, Cyphophthalmi), with a taxonomic revision of genera from Australia and New Zealand. Cladistics 23(4): 337–361.


External links