New Caledonia: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About New Caledonia, information, history size, location, population, people, culture, and government.

New Caledonia

Size--7,374 sq. mi. (19,099 sq. km.). Population--130,000.

The 1st missionaries and French colonists who came to this island group situated east of Australia were killed and eaten. The French later used the islands as a penal colony for French prisoners who at one time numbered up to 40,000. The French Government is still in charge, although the nickel companies are quite powerful. With the exceptionally high number of Europeans in the colony (42% of the population) and a fairly large number of imported laborers (8%), the New Caledonians themselves have little real power and anti-government rioting has developed in reaction to economic woes. At one point there were as many as 5,000 Vietnamese in New Caledonia, but most were sent home after the French claimed a "communist bridgehead" was being established.

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