(Nouvelle-Calédonie, Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies, Territoire de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et Dépendances)
- Location: Southwestern Pacific
- Capital: Nouméa
- Language(s): French, New Caledonian languages
- Population: 251,129
- Total Area: 18,575 sq km
- Currency: CFP Franc
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Although New Caledonia in the Pacific, you will find it very easy to buy many exotic wines from France.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: Not available
- Most Popular Drink(s): Fruit juices, Kava
This island nation is an overseas territory of France and is located in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean to the east of Australia. New Caledonia is an archipelago made up of the following islands: New Caledonia (Grande Terre or the mainland), Belep Islands (containing the islands of Ile Pott and Ile Art), Loyalty Islands (or Iles Loyaute and is made up of Mare, Lifou and Ouvea islands) and the Isle of Pines (or KunieIsland). These islands make up the most significant portion of the country and other islets like the Huon and SurpriseIslands are very small. The capital city is Nouméa and is located on the island of New Caledonia, which is the largest in the group. The nation’s economy is based on agriculture, tourism, fishing and mining (New Caledonia has significant deposits of nickel, iron and manganese).
Most New Caledonians belong to one of the two major ethnic groups found on the islands and these are the Melanesians and Europeans. The Melanesians are also known as the Kanaks and they make up about 40% of the population while those with European ancestry form about 40% with most being French (called Caldoches). Others are from other Asian nations (especially Indonesia and Vietnam) and islands of Polynesia (especially Tahiti and Wallis & Futuna). New Caledonians have about 30 different Melanesian languages although the official language is French. The citizens are predominantly Christians (especially Catholics) and there is a number of Muslims and traditional worshippers. Many of the New Caledonians work in the various mines and France is still a major trading partner.
When it comes to eating food, you will be delighted with the delicacies of New Caledonia. One meal that many tourists become enchanted with is bougna. This food is principally made by the indigenous Melanesians on the island. Bougna is made using a number of mouth-watering ingredients –chicken, fish (or any other seafood), potatoes and yams. All these are collected in banana leaves and then cooked using hot stones covered with sand. The banana leaves gives the meal a special taste. Being an island, many other delicacies are made using seafood and the most popular of these include oysters, crabs, spiny lobsters and prawns. These are made in various styles –fried, cooked, steamed or even boiled. It all depends on the way you want it served. In many of the restaurants in the capital city of Nouméa, there are many restaurants selling tantalizing French meals.
While in New Caledonia, I was able to sample numerous drinks. If you are a lover of coconut milk or coconut-flavored drink, this is the place to get your fill. There is also a local drink called kava and is made from the aromatic roots of the kava plant. French wines are also available at many bars and restaurants. The island is one romantic place that you must visit –at least once in a lifetime.
Interesting Facts About New Caledonia
- The official flag used is actually the same with France.
- In addition to the French flag, there is also another official flag called the Kanak thus making New Caledonia a jurisdiction with two different flags in use.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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