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Nouméa (nōmāäˈ) [key], town (1992 est. pop. 75,000), chief port and capital of the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, on New Caledonia island, South Pacific. Local industry, dominated by the nearby Doniambo nickel smelter, include cementworks, foods and beverages, agricultural processing, and apparel production. It was the site of a U.S. airfield in World War II. Nouméa is the seat of the SPC (formerly the South Pacific Commission), an international body formed in 1947 to promote the economic and social welfare of Pacific island people. On the town's outskirts is the Tjibaou Cultural Center, designed by Renzo Piano. The town was a French penal colony from 1864 to 1897.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Pacific Islands Political Geography

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