New Caledonia is located in the Pacific Ocean, around 1,200 km east
of Australia and 1,700 km northwest of New Zealand. The closest neighbor
is Vanuatu to the northeast. There is a disagreement between the neighbors over
ownership of the Matthew and Hunter Islands.
New Caledonia is part of Melanesia, which also includes Fiji, the Solomon
Islands and Vanuatu. New Caledonia is the third largest state in the South
Pacific, after New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
The country has been a French overseas territory since 1998 and an associate
member of the EU since 1991.
It is made up of the main islands of Grand Terre, the Ile des Pins, the Loyalty
Islands and the Iles Belep.
The country is rich in raw materials such as nickel, cobalt and chromium. These
are found in the mountain range that extends from north to south over the main
island, so New Caledonia has around 30% of the world's known nickel deposits.
|Name of the country
Collectivité d´outre mer
|Form of government
||In the South Pacific, belonging to Melanesia
||Marseillaise, the national anthem of France
||approx. 25,000 (Credit:
||approx. 42.5% Melanesians, approx. 37% Europeans, approx. 8.5%
islanders from the island of Wallis, around 4% Polynesians, around 3.5%
Indonesians and around 1.5% Vietnamese and 3% others combined.
||Roman Catholic around 60%, Protestants around 30% and others around
||French is the official language, about 33 Melanian and Polynesian
languages as well as English are spoken.
||New Caledonia covers an area of 19,060 km². Of this, 18,575 km²
are land and 485 km² are water.
||Mont Panie with a height of 1,628 m
|Largest lake in area
||Lac de Yaté
|International license plate
||Pacific Franc, Cour de Franc Pacifique
|Time difference to CET
||+ 10 h
|International phone code
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)
New Caledonia: History
New Caledonia's islands are not of volcanic origin like the neighboring
islands. It split off from the Urland Gondwana around 250 million years ago,
just like New Zealand, for example. This led to the development of a unique
flora. New Caledonia has around 3,500 different plants, two thirds of which are
only found there.
Abbreviationfinder website, around 1,500 BC The first settlers from Vanuatu reached the islands. They
belonged to the Lapita culture, which got its name from
an archaeological excavation site near Koné on the skin brush. The Lapita
culture was characterized by pottery with special patterns.
With the help of these pottery finds, the migrations of ethnic groups in the
Pacific region can be determined and dated quite well. The Lapita culture spread
from New Caledonia in the entire western Polynesian culture and then disappeared
around the year 300 AD.
The Lapita people were Austronesians who had great seafaring skills and were
extremely mobile because of that.
The Europeans are coming
During his journey with his ship, the "Resolution", James Cook (1728-1779)
discovered the islands in 1774 and named them New Caledonia in memory of
James Cook was followed by whalers and traders from England and America.
The island was taken over by the French admiral Febvrier-Despointes in 1853. At
the same time, huge deposits of raw materials were discovered, e.g. B. on
As settlers arrived and settled on tribal land, tension between the newcomers
and the local Kanak population grew. In 1878 this led to a seven-month armed
With the Immigration Acts of 1894 by Governor Feillet, immigrants came
from Indonesiaand Java, who were mostly employed in the mines.
New Caledonia was founded by France as a penal colony.
On May 9, 1864, the first prisoners came to the island of Nou. Approximately
21,000 convicts were sent to the island over the course of 33 years. The first
to arrive had to build the prison and the Church of St. Joseph. In addition to
thieves and prostitutes, political prisoners were also sent to New Caledonia,
such as the Communards of the 1871 uprising, who were released in 1880. This was
followed in the same year by the insurgents of the Kabyle revolt in Algeria. In
1895 they too received an amnesty.
The prison was officially closed in 1933.
It was extremely difficult for those released to return to their homeland, as
the aim was to increase the population on the islands. Former prisoners, for
example, had to pay for their own travel expenses. On the other hand, the travel
expenses of their relatives to New Caledonia were covered by the authorities.
New Caledonia was evangelized by Protestant priests from Samoa who were
members of the London Missionary Society. The first arrived on the île de Pines
On Grande Terre, the main island, the French began missionary work in the
20th century until today
Around one million Americans were stationed on the islands during World War
II. With these, the 20th century arrived.
After the Second World War, the former colony received the status of a French
overseas territory. The local population became French in 1946 and was given the
right to vote.
In 1950-1960 nickel mining brought wealth to the island.
The Kanak population increasingly strived for independence, especially with a
view to Fiji and Papua New Guinea, which had achieved independence in 1970 and
1975 respectively. In 1984 and 1986 this led to violent clashes between the
Kanak people and the whites. As a result, land reforms were initiated.
New Caledonia was French overseas territory until May 5, 1998. It has since
enjoyed the status of a French overseas country with full autonomy.