New Caledonia Travel Information

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Facts About New Caledonia

Background: Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island was made a French possession in 1853. It served as a penal colony for four decades after 1864. Agitation for independence during the 1980s and early 1990s seems to have dissipated.
Dependency status: overseas territory of France since 1956
Capital: Noumea
Currency: 1 Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc (CFPF) = 100 centimes

Geography of New Caledonia

Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
Geographic coordinates: 21 30 S, 165 30 E
total: 19,060 sq km
land: 18,575 sq km
water: 485 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 2,254 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid
Terrain: coastal plains with interior mountains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Panie 1,628 m
Natural resources: nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 12%
forests and woodland: 39%
other: 49% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 160 sq km (1991)
Natural hazards: cyclones, most frequent from November to March
Environment - current issues: erosion caused by mining exploitation and forest fires.
Geography - note: consists of the main island of New Caledonia (one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean), the archipelago of Iles Loyaute, and numerous small, sparsely populated islands and atolls.

People of New Caledonia

Population: 216,494 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  30.31%
15-64 years:  63.95% 
65 years and over:  5.74%
Population growth rate: 1.48% 
Birth rate: 20.37 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 5.62 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 8.4 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  73.02 years
male:  70.08 years
female:  76.11 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.48 children born/woman 
noun: New Caledonian(s)
adjective: New Caledonian
Ethnic groups: Melanesian 42.5%, European 37.1%, Wallisian 8.4%, Polynesian 3.8%, Indonesian 3.6%, Vietnamese 1.6%, other 3%
Religions: Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%
Languages: French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 92%
female: 90% (1976 est.)

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > New Caledonia > Map Economy