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New Caledonia Country Profile

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New Caledonia at a Glance

Location:Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
Climate:tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid
Terrain:coastal plains with interior mountains
Resources:nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper
Hazards:cyclones, most frequent from November to March
Population:227,436 (July 2009 est.)




A Brief Profile of New Caledonia

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 ended in the 1998 Noumea Accord, which over a period of 15 to 20 years will transfer an increasing amount of governing responsibility from France to New Caledonia. The agreement also commits France to conduct as many as three referenda between 2013 and 2018, to decide whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty and independence.






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