Motto : Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (Nation)
Terre de parole, Terre de partage (Land)
|Head of state||President Emmanuel Macron|
|Head of government||Philippe Germain|
|Population density||14 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+1.3 percent per year|
|gross domestic product||$ 9.8 billion|
|Gross domestic product per inhabitant||$ 38,921|
|currency||CFP Franc (XPF)|
La Marseillaise (Nation)
Soyons unis, devenons frères (Country)
|Time zone||UTC + 11|
New Caledonia ( French Nouvelle-Calédonie ) is a group of islands belonging to France in the southern Pacific . The current French name is derived from the older English name New Caledonia , which goes back to James Cook , as does the German name "Nova Scotia", which is occasionally encountered . Supporters of the independence of New Caledonia also call the group of islands "Kanaky". Geographically, the islands belong to Melanesia . New Caledonia has the special status of a collectivité sui generis under Articles 76 and 77 of the French Constitution and therefore does not belong to the European Union .
Geography and climate
New Caledonia is located northeast of Australia on the northern tip of Zealandia - shelf in the southwestern Pacific Ocean . The islands have an area of 18,576 km², of which 18,091 km² are land and 485 km² are water. The main island, Grande Terre, is by far the largest island in the group with 16,372 km². New Caledonia also includes the Belep Islands , the Chesterfield Islands , the Île des Pins and the Loyalty Islands . The coastline has a total length of 2254 km.
The highest point of the islands is the Mont Panié on Grande Terre with 1628 m. Around the main island is the New Caledonian Barrier Reef , after the Great Barrier Reef and together with the Belize Barrier Reef one of the largest coral reef complexes in the world. The longest river is the 150 km long Diahot .
New Caledonia lies between the 19th and 23rd degrees of southern latitude and is therefore in the tropical climate zone . The average temperatures on the islands are between 20 and 30 ° C all year round. The mountain range running lengthways across the main island divides New Caledonia into a humid east (including the islands east of the main island) and a rather arid west in the rain shadow . The relatively cool dry season lasts from mid-May to mid-September, the rainy season from mid-November to April. The east side of the island receives around 2500 to 4000 mm of rain per year, the west side (leeward) generally less than 1500 mm, e.g. B. Ouaco about 800 mm. In very dry years there is only 250 to 300 mm of precipitation in some places.
The largest city is the capital Nouméa with almost 91,000 inhabitants. According to the latest data (2009 census), 163,723 inhabitants live in the direct catchment area of the Grand Nouméa (Païta, Dumbéa and Mont-Dore).
“La Poule” (“The Chicken”) at Hienghène
“Le phare Amédée” (“Amédée lighthouse”) near Nouméa
Beach on the Ouvéa Atoll
Upi Bay on the Île des Pins
“La Baie des Tortues” (“Turtle Bay”), near Bourail
Flora and fauna
The flora and fauna of New Caledonia show a very high degree of endemism . Many species are threatened or have already died out, such as the giant horned turtle Meiolania platiceps , the terrestrial crocodile Mekosuchus inexpectatus or the large flightless bird Sylviornis neocaledoniae . The bushfires, which are not fought effectively enough, play an important role in this. There are 23 endemic bird species, including the kagu . The Ouvea Parakeet ( Eunymphicus uvaeensis ) occurs only on the island of Ouvéa. Also endemic is the straight-billed crow ( Corvus moneduloides ), which is considered to be the smartest bird in the world because of its ability to make and use tools. In addition, one of the largest geckos in the world, the New Caledonian Giant Gecko, is endemic to New Caledonia . There are 46 gymnosperm species (45 endemic, 7 percent of the world's gymnosperm species). New Caledonia has a high density of trees . So here there are 18 endemic conifer species from the family of Araucariaceae (5 from the genus Agathis , 13 more in the genus Araucaria ). There are also 260 species of ferns (26 families, 83 genera), of which 105 species are endemic.
Endemic plant species are for example:
- Amborella trichopoda (Amborellaceae, one species forms the entire plant family)
- Strasburgeria robusta (Strasburgeriaceae, one species forms the entire plant family)
- Oxera robusta (Lamiaceae, a species of the Oxera genusis found in Vanuatu, 20-25 in New Caledonia)
- Agathis montana (Araucariaceae, A. montana only occurs on Mont Panie).
- 3328 plant species (2644 endemic)
- in 763 genera (14 percent endemic)
- in 169 families (3 percent endemic)
- in 763 genera (14 percent endemic)
- 547 monocotyledons (251 endemic)
- in 209 genera
- in 31 families
- in 209 genera
- 2394 dicotyledones (endemic in 2009)
- in 498 genera (79 endemic)
- in 132 families (5 endemic)
- in 498 genera (79 endemic)
New Caledonia is home to an above-average number of original representatives of the angiosperms , especially species of the families Winteraceae , Amborellaceae , Monimiaceae , Annonaceae and Chloranthaceae .
The native population of the Melanesians or Kanak forms the largest population group with a share of around 44 percent of the population. The second largest population group are the descendants of the first "settlers" from France, the Caldoches , together with the Métropolitains , the French new immigrants. Overall, whites, i.e. people of European descent, make up 34.1 percent of the population. There are many residents with roots in multiple ethnic groups. There are also many people of different origins, but who have often lived in New Caledonia for generations and are mostly French citizens: around 9 percent of the population are Valais and Futuners , 2.6 percent Tahitians , 2.5 percent Indonesians , 1.4 percent Vietnamese and 1.1 percent Ni-Vanuatu .
The average life expectancy in New Caledonia in 2016 was 77.7 years (women: 81.9 years / men: 73.7 years).
The median age of the population in the same year was 31.7 years. A woman had an average of 1.93 children over the course of her life. In 2017 there were 15.0 births and 5.7 deaths for every 1,000 inhabitants. The population will grow by 1.3 percent per year in 2017.
Many Kanaks continue to cultivate their own languages and customs within their tribes. About 28 of these Kanak languages, which belong to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages , are still spoken today in the various tribal areas. The French ethnologist Maurice Leenhardt (1878–1954) pioneered the study of these languages in New Caledonia . However, the Kanak languages play only a subordinate role in the country's education system. The only official language is French , which is spoken by almost all residents of the country and serves as the lingua franca. The non-Kanak immigrant groups still speak their original languages among themselves, for example Tahitian , Wallisian , Futunian , Vietnamese , Indonesian and English . According to the 2004 census, 97 percent of residents over the age of 14 can speak, read and write French , while only 0.97 percent have no knowledge of French. In contrast, only 37.1 percent of those over 14 can at least speak one of the native Austronesian languages (but not necessarily read and write), while 58.7 percent have no knowledge of an indigenous language.
The linguistic and cultural diversity of the country is under pressure today. Of the languages spoken before colonization, 28 languages and 11 dialects still exist today. However, the number of speakers of most of these languages has dropped to a few thousand or fewer. The three languages Drehu , Nengone and Paicî have the most speakers . The native languages are only used for communication within the speaking community. French is the rule for communication between the different language groups. The native languages are now taught in elementary schools and four of these languages are also admitted to the Abitur (baccalauréat). An academy is tasked with promoting and developing the native languages.
The indigenous religions of the individual Melanesian ethnic groups have largely been lost. A large part of the population is now Christian. About 60 percent of the population are Roman Catholic Christians belonging to the Archdiocese of Nouméa , and 30 percent are supporters of Protestant churches . Other faiths and denominations make up 10 percent of the total population.
The settlement of New Caledonia probably took place around 1500 BC. By people of the Lapita culture . This culture was named after the site Lapita 13 on the Foué Peninsula in New Caledonia. Polynesians later reached the archipelago. The descendants of these tribes now form the indigenous people of the Kanaks . In the period from the 11th century to the 18th century, Polynesians repeatedly reached the islands of New Caledonia in search of new land.
The islands were only discovered by the Europeans during the 18th century. During his second voyage to the South Seas , James Cook was the first European to set foot on the islands on September 4, 1774. He gave them their current name because the appearance of the northeast of the main island reminded him of Scotland , which the Romans called Caledonia . Cook explored the island landscape for nine days without any incident. He was followed in 1792 by a French named Joseph Bruny d'Entrecasteaux . The first Europeans to settle on the islands were whalers and loggers ( sandalwood ). Missionaries followed in the 19th century . The settlers brought epidemics to the islands, and a large part of the local population died from the diseases that were introduced.
The islands were settled by both Great Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century. In the name of Napoleon III. Auguste Fevrier-Despointes took the archipelago into French possession on September 24, 1853 (today a public holiday).
Similar to the British in Australia, the French used the islands as a penal colony from 1864 to around 1922. In 1864 the first 250 French convicts reached New Caledonia. At that time only the southern third of the main island and some islands in the south were under French control, there was a military outpost in Napoléonville ( Canala ) and there were only a few plantations (e.g. for sugar cane ) and Marist mission stations next to the Kanak villages . After the defeat of the Paris Commune in 1871, between 1872 and the amnesty in July 1880, around 8,000 more French people came to the islands . Among the Communards were, for example, Louise Michel and Nathalie Lemel . In March 1874, Henri Rochefort , François Jourde , Paschal Grousset and a few other prisoners managed to escape to Australia. In 1871 an uprising broke out in the French-occupied Kabylia , which led to around 200 deportees from eastern Algeria being banished to New Caledonia. They were given amnesties in 1895 and were able to return a few years later.
In 1863 the geologist Jules Garnier found the nickel ore garnierite, which was later named after him . From 1873, the isolated mining of deposits began, which was operated on a large scale from 1880 with the establishment of the Société Le Nickel company . The workforce was mostly prisoners, because the island was a penal colony from 1863 to 1931, but also freed workers, recruited workers from Asia and Oceania, as well as displaced persons (through blackbirding ). The mined minerals were processed in the only dedicated facility in Nouméa. Since the beginning of the 20th century , however, more and more free settlers and Asian workers came to the island. The local population was massively suppressed from 1887 by the apartheid- like system of the Code de l'indigénat .
During the First World War the Bataillon mixte du Pacifique ( B.M.P. ) was set up, during the Second World War the Bataillon d'infanterie de marine du Pacifique (BIMP), which consisted of New Caledonians and Polynesians. Currently there is the Régiment d'Infanterie de Marine du Pacifique-Nouvelle-Calédonie (RIMaP-NC). During the Second World War, New Caledonia's capital, Nouméa, was the headquarters of the American forces in the Pacific . After the war, the premises of the headquarters were taken over by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), an international organization of various Pacific states. In the meantime, the buildings have been torn down, the SPC has been housed in newly constructed rooms not far from it and the space that has become free has been rededicated to a hotel and business complex.
There were regular revolts of the Kanak , but these were always suppressed and led to expropriation and deportation, so that the Kanak were pushed from the coasts inland. The biggest revolt was the uprising of 1878, during which the tribal leader Ataï was beheaded by insurgents. One of the last was in 1917, when the Kanak were drafted as soldiers during the First World War . On October 27, 1946, New Caledonia was declared an overseas territory and in 1947 it was removed from the UN list of territories without self-government . In 1953 all residents received French civil rights and in 1957 a kind of local parliament (Assemblée territoriale) was set up, but in 1958 Charles de Gaulle curtailed the rights of the national assembly again. In 1969 the student organization Foulards rouges was founded , which mobilized further protests.
In 1977 the Union calédonienne spoke out in favor of independence, two years earlier the Mélanesia Festival was held for the first time in 1975 . These efforts also led to riots in 1984–1988 with over 70 dead. In 1984 the Kanakian Socialist Front for National Liberation (FLNKS) was established with Jean-Marie Tjibaou at its head. The new party organized a boycott of the upcoming elections and, after the election, formed a provisional government of Kanaky with Tjibaou as president. There were various political murders of several Kanaks and finally the state of emergency was declared, French paratroopers deployed and a new reform plan devised, which, however, led to nothing. In December 1986 the UN decided to put New Caledonia back on the list of countries to be decolonized . A new referendum on September 13, 1987 was boycotted by most of the Kanaks. The violent climax was the kidnapping of 27 policemen and a judge by separatists in a cave on the island of Ouvéa from April 22 to May 1988, which was ended by French special forces. It was in response to a law that came into effect that day aimed at curtailing the political influence of Kanakian supporters of New Caledonia independence.
The aspirations for independence, however, led to greater autonomy through the Matignon-Oudinot Agreement in 1988, which was confirmed by French voters in a referendum on November 6, 1988 , and the Nouméa Agreement of May 5, 1998, which was also approved by voters in New Caledonia was adopted in a referendum on November 8, 1998 . The archipelago was divided into three provinces and 33 municipalities. The provinces are headed by a president and an assembly, which together form a congress (Congrès de la Nouvelle-Calédonie). This is composed of 15 representatives from the Northern Province , 32 representatives from the Southern Province and seven representatives from the Province of the Loyalty Islands. The Congress elects eleven people from among its ranks (fewer would also be possible) who form the government and in turn elect a head of government from among themselves.
On May 4, 1989, Jean-Marie Tjibaou and Yeiwene Yeiwene were murdered by FLNKS radicals on Ouvéa. They received a state funeral and in 1998 the Tjibaou cultural center was built at great expense by the French state.
In a referendum held on November 4, 2018, the New Caledonians had to decide on the independence of the islands or whether to remain with France. With a high turnout of 80.6 percent, 56.4 percent of voters voted against independence and in favor of remaining with France. According to the 1998 Nouméa Agreement , if a first independence referendum fails, up to two more independence referendums can follow, provided a majority of delegates in the New Caledonia Congress so request. Following a corresponding decision by the 2019 Congress, a second independence referendum was scheduled for October 4, 2020. Again the majority voted to remain with France, this time with 53.3 percent, with a turnout of 85 percent.
Politics and administration
In 2018 and 2020, independence referenda were held in which the residents had to decide whether the archipelago should remain under the territorial sovereignty of the French state or whether it should acquire independence. With 57 percent (2018) and 53 percent (2020) of the vote, independence was voted against on both occasions.
From 1946 to 2003 New Caledonia was a French overseas territory ( territoire d'outre-mer , TOM ), before that a French colony . Since the amendment of the French constitution on March 28, 2003, the archipelago is an overseas community belonging to France with a special status (collectivité sui generis) . Two representatives of New Caledonia sit in the Paris National Assembly . The capital is Nouméa ; there is also a German honorary consulate .
New Caledonia is divided into three provinces and 33 municipalities :
January 1, 2017
population / km²
|Loyalty Islands||3||18,297||1,980.90||9||Néko Hnepeune|
|Northern Province||17th||50,487||9,291.60||5||Paul Néaoutyine|
|Southern province||14th||199.983||7,303.00||27||Philippe Michel|
List of Presidents of the Governments of New Caledonia since the Nouméa Agreement was signed in 1998.
|Jean Lèques||May 28, 1999||April 5, 2001||RPCR|
|Pierre Frogier||April 5, 2001||June 10, 2004||RPCR|
|Marie-Noëlle Thémereau||June 10, 2004||August 7, 2007||AE|
|Harold Martin||August 7, 2007||June 5, 2009||AE|
|Philippe Gomès||June 5, 2009||March 11, 2011||CE|
|Harold Martin||March 11, 2011||5th June 2014||AE|
|Cynthia Ligeard||5th June 2014||April 1, 2015||RPCR|
|Philippe Germain||April 1, 2015||officiating||CE|
New Caledonia's international airport is La Tontouta Airport . This is in the area of the municipality of Païta, about 40 km from Nouméa. Magenta Airport , located directly in Nouméa, is used for local flights . The main cities and all New Caledonian islands are served. The Lifou Airport is a commercial airport on the island of Lifou .
New Caledonia has a well-developed, largely paved road network.
New Caledonia has four so-called territorial roads (French route territoriale ) for short RT as motorway-like roads and additional provincial roads (French route provinciale ) of the type of a country road:
- RT1: Nouméa - Néhoué River (north of Koumac )
- RT2: Lifou Airport (on Lifou Island ) - south of the small town of Wé
- RT3: Crossing with RT1 in Nandaï - Tiwaka River
- RT4: junction with RT1 near Muéo - electric power station
The largest port on the island is that of Nouméa. Other important ports are in Mueo, Thio and Prony, but only serve the nickel industry.
The only railway line in New Caledonia, the Nouméa – Païta line , was closed in 1940.
The economy consists primarily of craft, mining, industry and tourism. The island's extensive lateritic nickel ore deposits account for 8.4 percent of all such nickel reserves worldwide. These have been used since the beginning of the colonial era and are mostly in the hands of the white Caldoches. After the Second World War there was the so-called "nickel boom". The interventions in the island's ecosystems are sometimes considerable. The “Société le Nickel” ( Eramet Group, France) operates a pyrometallurgical nickel smelting plant with electrically operated smelting reduction furnaces in the capital Nouméa, barely two kilometers from the city center . Two hydrometallurgical nickel works are currently planned, each to be operated in the south (Goro) and north (Koniambo) together with the Canadian companies Inco and Falconbridge .
Agriculture plays only a minor role in New Caledonia. Around a third of the gross domestic product consists of financial subsidies from the French mother state. New Caledonia uses the French Pacific Franc , which is pegged to the Euro .
Culture and sights
Of importance is u. a. the Tjibaou cultural center , which was built by Renzo Piano between 1993 and 1998 . It is the regional center for cultural events, in which events of the Kanak are offered, as well as other exhibitions, conferences and concerts.
Islamic Cultural Center in Bourail
New Caledonia is the most successful participant in the Pacific Games to date . Noumea , capital of New Caledonia, was the host of the Pacific Games in 2011 , under the motto Pacific Attitude ( Pacific setting were held). This was the third Pacific Games to be held in New Caledonia after 1966 and 1987 .
In 1980, New Caledonia was the organizer of the men's Oceania Cup and, in 1983, the first Women's Oceania Cup . A football championship has been played in the league system since 1950 , and the national football cup competition Coupe de Nouvelle-Calédonie de football since 1954 . The winner of this competition will take part in the French Cup the following year .
Even 7-Rugby has a significant role in New Caledonia. In the 2011 Pacific Games, the men's team finished sixth and fourth in 2015, while the women's team was even more successful, finishing fourth in 2011 and 2015.
The cyclone Erica taught in March 2003, major damage to the whole island. The dengue fever is more or less common depending on the season in New Caledonia. In January 2003, for example, between 4500 (official number) and 9000 people are said to be sick.
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