June 12, 2016 | Flight distance: 611 nm | Hours in the air: 1.50
It was only a short hop over to New Caledonia, so we arrived around lunch time. Everything here looks just like in Southern France, a bit touristy but well organized which is not given in this part of the world. Like anyone else on this island we enjoyed a lazy Sunday afternoon followed by a great dinner french style, what else!
New Caledonia is an overseas territory of France since 1946. It lies to the southwest of Vanuatu and was also first settled by the Lapita people before Captain James Cook became the first European to set foot on land in 1774, yet without establishing a settlement.
Cannibalism was widespread at the time and no major nation took deeper interested until Napoleon III ordered possession for France in 1853.
The entire economy and ecology changed this group of islands completely after the discovery of nickel on the main island of Grand Terre. Subsequently thousands of slave workers were brought in from neighboring islands, later Japan and other Dutch and French Eastern occupied territories.
However the French remain the dominant ethnic group having kept New Caledonia within France, currently under a treaty named the Noumea Accord from 1998 after Independence unrests. A second referendum for Independence is scheduled for 2018 when the Noumea Accord will expire.