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New Caledonia and Dependencies

Facts & Figures

Status: Overseas Territory

President: Philippe Germain (2015)

High Commissioner: Vincent Bouvier (2014)

Land area: 7,243 sq mi (18,759 sq km); total area: 7,359 sq mi (19,060 sq km)

Population (2014 est.): 267,840 (growth rate: 1.42%); birth rate: 15.57/1000; infant mortality rate: 5.46/1000; life expectancy: 77.31

Capital (2011 est.): Nouméa, 157,000

Monetary unit: Pacific financial community franc

More Facts & Figures

Flag of France


New Caledonia (6,466 sq mi; 16,747 sq km), about 1,070 mi (1,722 km) northeast of Sydney, Australia, was explored by Capt. James Cook in 1774 and annexed by France in 1853. The government also administers the Isle of Pines, the Loyalty Islands (Uvéa, Lifu, and Maré), the Belep Islands, the Huon Island group, and Chesterfield Islands. The native people are Melanesians called the Kanak.


In 1984, the French national assembly passed a law that granted internal autonomy to New Caledonia. In 1998, the Nouméa Accords postponed discussions about independence for the territory until at least 2013. As of 2013, New Caledonia planned to hold a referendum on independence sometime between 2014 and 2018.

See also Encyclopedia: New Caledonia .

French Overseas Territories