New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, 1,210 km (750 mi) east of Australia and 16,136 km (10,026 mi) east of Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines, and a few remote islets. The Chesterfield Islands are in the Coral Sea. Locals refer to Grande Terre as "Le Caillou" ("the stone").
New Caledonia has a land area of 18,576 km2 (7,172 mi2). The population (January 2012 estimate) is 256,000. The population is a mix ofKanak people (the original inhabitants of New Caledonia), White European people (Caldoches and Metropolitan Frenchmen), Polynesian people (Wallisians essentially), and Southeast Asian people. The capital of the territory is Nouméa..
British explorer Captain James Cook was the first European to sight New Caledonia, on 4 September 1774, during his second voyage. He named it "New Caledonia", as the north-east of the island reminded him ofScotland
|Anthem: Soyons unis, devenons frères |
and largest city
|Recognised regional languages|
|-||Presidential Head of State||François Hollande|
|-||President of the Government of New Caledonia||Harold Martin|
|-||High Commissioner||Jean-Jacques Brot|
|Special collectivity of France|
|-||Annexed by France||1853|
|-||Total||18,576 km2 (154th)|
7,172 sq mi
|-||2012 estimate||256,000 (182nd)|
|GDP (nominal)||2011 estimate|