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New Caledonia:
Geography

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New Caledonia Page


Background
Definition
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.
Location
Definition
Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
Geographic coordinates
Definition
21 30 S, 165 30 E
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 19,060 sq km
land: 18,575 sq km
water: 485 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
2,254 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid
Terrain
Definition
coastal plains with interior mountains
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Panie 1,628 m
Natural resources
Definition
nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 0.32%
permanent crops: 0.22%
other: 99.46% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
100 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards
Definition
cyclones, most frequent from November to March
Environment - current issues
Definition
erosion caused by mining exploitation and forest fires
Geography - note
Definition
consists of the main island of New Caledonia (one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean), the archipelago of Iles Loyaute, and numerous small, sparsely populated islands and atolls


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