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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 a referendum between 2014 and 2018 to decide whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty and independence.


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Country name
Conventional long form
Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies
Conventional short form New Caledonia
Local long form
Territoire des Nouvelle-Caledonie et Dependances
Local short form Nouvelle-Caledonie

Dependency status
Territorial collectivity (or a sui generis collectivity) of France since 1998

Government type
Parliamentary representative democracy

Name Noumea
Geographic coordinates 22 16 S, 166 27 E
Time difference
UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
None (overseas territory of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 3 provinces named Province des Iles, Province Nord, and Province Sud

None (overseas territory of France); note - a referendum on independence was held in 1998 but did not pass; a new referendum is scheduled to take place between 2014 and 2018

National holiday
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789); note - the local holiday is New Caledonia Day, 24 September (1853)

4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system
Civil law system based on French law; the 1988 Matignon Accords grant substantial autonomy to the islands

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Francois HOLLANDE (since 15 May 2012); represented by High Commissioner Albert DUPUY (since 6 October 2010)
Head of government
President of the Government Harold MARTIN (since 3 March 2011); note - since 3 March 2011, three different governments of Harold MARTIN have collapsed over the choice of a flag that will be used while it is being decolonized; President MARTIN is head of a caretaker government
Cabinet consisting of 11 members elected from and by the Territorial Congress
French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; high commissioner appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the government elected by the members of the Territorial Congress for a five-year term (no term limits); note - last election held on 10 June 2011 (next to be held June 2016)

Legislative branch
Unicameral Territorial Congress or Congres du territoire (54 seats; members belong to the three Provincial Assemblies, or Assemblees Provinciales, elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Last held on 9 May 2009 (next to be held on 10 May 2014)
Election results
Percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 13, Caledonia Together 10, UC 8, UNI 8, AE 6, FLNKS 3, Labor Party 3, other 3
The Customary Senate is the assembly of the various traditional councils of the Kanaks, the indigenous population, which rules on laws affecting the indigenous population; New Caledonia holds two seats in the French Senate; elections last held on 21 September 2008 (next to be held not later than September 2014); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2; New Caledonia also elects two seats to the French National Assembly; elections last held on 10 and 17 June 2007 (next to be held in June 2012); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2

Judicial branch
Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; County Courts; Joint Commerce Tribunal Court; Children's Court

Political parties and leaders
Caledonia My Country; Caledonia Together [Philippe GOMES]; Caledonian Union or UC [Nicholas ABOUT]; Communist Republican and Left Party or CRC-SPG [Nichole BORVO COHEN-SEAT]; Democratic and European Social Rally or R.D.S.E. [Yvon COLLIN]; Front National or FN [Jean-Marie LE PEN]; Kanak Socialist Front for National Liberation or FLNKS (includes PALIKA, UNI, UC, and UPM); Labor Party [Louis Kotra UREGEI]; National Union for Independence (Union Nationale pour l'Independance) or UNI; Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA [Paul NEAOUTYINE]; Renewed Caledonian Union; Socialist Group [Jean Pierre BEL]; Socialist Kanak Liberation or LKS [Nidoish NAISSELINE]; The Future Together or AE [Didier LEROUX]; The Rally or UMP [Gerard LONGUET]; Union of Pro-Independence Co-operation Committees [Francois BURCK]

Political pressure groups and leaders

International organization participation
PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WFTU

Diplomatic representation in the us
None (overseas territory of France)

Diplomatic representation from the us
None (overseas territory of France)

Flag description
The flag of France is used

National symbol(s)
Kagu bird

National anthem
"Soyons unis, devenons freres" (Let Us Be United, Let Us Become Brothers)
Chorale Melodia (a local choir)
Adopted 2008; the anthem contains a mixture of lyrics in both French and Nengone (an indigenous language); as a self-governing territory of France, in addition to the local anthem, "La Marseillaise" is official (see France)


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New Caledonia [ France ] (Overseas Territory):
Country Flag
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GPS points from New Caledonia [ France ] (Overseas Territory)

square Goutedia New Caledonia (general)

square Le Trou New Caledonia (general)

square Uapao New Caledonia (general)

square Omagni New Caledonia (general)

square Guaro New Caledonia (general)

square Mont Dzumac New Caledonia (general)

square Massif Du Panie New Caledonia (general)

square Krondi New Caledonia (general)

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