The British explorer James Cook sighted Grande Terre in 1774 and named it New Caledonia, Caledonia being Latin for Scotland.
In 1853, under Napoleon III, the area was made a French colony.
In 1991, of the land was irrigated.
It has a catchment area of 620 square kilometres and opens north-westward into the Baie d'Harcourt, flowing towards the northern point of the island along the western escarpment of the Mount Panie. In 1993, 12% of New Caledonian land was used for permanent pasture, with 39% occupied by forests and woodland.
The crested gecko (Correlophus ciliatus), thought to have gone extinct, was rediscovered in 1994.
In the same census, 37.1% reported that they could speak (but not necessarily read or write) one of the 28 indigenous Austronesian languages. At the 1996 census, the indigenous Melanesian Kanak community represented 44.6% of the whole population.
At the 2004 census, 97.0% reported they could speak French, whereas only 0.97% reported that they had no knowledge of French.
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Page generated on 2021-08-05