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New Caledonia Information - Page 2
The indigenous people of New Caledonia are Kanaks who settled in the archipelago around three thousand years ago.

Captain James Cook, the British explorer, sighted New Caledonia in 1774. British and French settlers arrived in New Caledonia in the first half of the nineteenth century.

In 1853 New Caledonia became a French possession. A penal colony, which closed in 1897, was established in 1864.

New Caledonia became an Overseas Territory of France in 1956.

The 1998 Noumea Accord allowed for increased autonomy for New Caledonia over a fifteen to twenty year period.

New Caledonia, a territorial collectivity of France, benefits from French financial support.

Nickel, about a quarter of the world's supply, is New Caledonia's main resource. Other resources are chrome, cobalt, iron, lead, manganese, gold, silver and copper. Nickel mining and smelting are the major industries.

Only a small percentage of the land is suitable for agriculture. Cattle and deer are reared. Fish is provided by the fishing industry.

The services sector produces the largest proportion of New Caledonia's Gross Domestic Product. Tourism is important to the economy. (2011)

Kanak arts can be seen in the Museum of New Caledonia. Models of traditional Melanesian outrigger canoes and Melanesian huts are also on display.

The Tjibaou Culture Centre, influenced by traditional Kanak architecture, was opened in 1998.

Jean Mariotti (1901-1975), born in Farino, was a well known New Caledonian novelist, short story writer and poet.

Football and rugby are played in New Caledonia. Other sports include hill walking and mountain biking.

Water sports are kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing and sailing.

All religious holidays are celebrated. Bastille Day is on 14 July (1789).

News from New Caledonia is available from Newslink.

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