60 amazing facts about New Caledonia
If there is a truly heavenly spot on Earth, it is probably located in New Caledonia. At least that's what those who have been here are saying. And it's hard to argue with this - magnificent beaches, snow-white yachts swaying on azure waves. In addition, serene calm always reigns here, not interrupted by various events that periodically shake the world political arena.
Amazing facts about New Caledonia
Even though New Caledonia is located in the Pacific Ocean, de jure, it is considered an overseas department of France. And, like other former French colonies that never gained independence, this country primarily exists thanks to the financial support of the metropolis. It is not so easy for the French to move here to live because they will not receive any social benefits here. The French authorities decided to cut off the flow of their citizens who wanted to wallow on New Caledonian beaches, do nothing and live on welfare.
1. New Caledonia is located in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean, in Melanesia.
2. This country is one large island in the Pacific Ocean, including a relatively small island group.
3. New Caledonia is a particular administrative-territorial entity of France.
4. About a quarter of the New Caledonian population are Europeans, primarily French.
5. New Caledonia consists of the leading and most significant island, Grande Ter, and several other smaller islands.
6. The total area of the New Caledonia archipelago is 19,060 km². This can be compared to the size of Wales.
7. The famous navigator James Cook first discovered these islands for Europeans.
8. Therefore, the island got its name in honor of Caledonia, an area located in Scotland, which was the birthplace of Captain Cook.
9. From the nearest giant neighbor, Australia, New Caledonia is separated by 1200 kilometers.
10 ... According to scientists, New Caledonia separated from Australia about 66 million years ago.
11. Then, for 16 million years, the archipelago drifted in a northeasterly direction until it reached its current position about 50 million years ago.
12. The first people appeared here about 3.5 thousand years ago. After the discovery of this archipelago by Cook, British whalers and sandalwood traders soon began to appear there.
13. The influx of foreigners brought trade and many diseases that the indigenous population first encountered. Leprosy, smallpox and dysentery led to the mass extinction of the indigenous people.
14. As trade in this place expanded, so did the number of missions, which further eradicated local customs and traditions.
15. The French arrived on the island's territory in 1843 under the pretext of protecting the indigenous population and made it their colony in 1853.
16. But the French needed New Caledonia only to counteract British influence in this region.
17. New Caledonia was a French colony from 1853 until the end of the 1980s.
18. In 1988, the Matignon Accords were signed, according to which the archipelago gained independence but remained under the strong influence of France.
19. The former colonialist retained his powers in defense, currency, public order, justice, and foreign affairs.
20. Despite the new status, New Caledonia depends on France. More than 50% of this country's income is subsidies from France.
21. Europeans first settled in New Caledonia when France established a colony there. In the 19th century, the French sent former prisoners there and gave them land there to farm and build houses.
22. Now, out of 278,500 people in New Caledonia, about 30% have French roots.
23. Of the entire population of the whole country - a little more than a quarter of a million people, about a hundred thousand live in the capital city of Noumea.
24. And about 40% of the local population are Kanaks, representatives of one of the peoples of Melanesia. However, their culture practically disappeared under the influence of France. Even the purely Kanak villages here are more like European than Pacific settlements.
25. In 2018, a referendum was organized on the independence of New Caledonia from France, resulting in the overwhelming majority of voters opposing independence.
26. The local currency is called the French Pacific franc. In addition to New Caledonia, this currency is circulated on the Wallis, Futuna Islands, and French Polynesia.
27. French traditions are decisive here. This manifests itself in architecture, local food, and croissants. But this does not surprise anyone since New Caledonia is an overseas possession of France.
28. Not surprisingly, the official language of New Caledonia is French.
29. Although the locals speak 30 Melanesian and Polynesian languages and dialects.
30. Of course, most of the population speaks French. New Caledonia. But Indonesian, Vietnamese, Tahitian, Welsh, and Chinese are among the archipelago's 30 most widely spoken languages .
31. Since most of the country's population is fluent in two languages, French and one of the 30 most common languages.
32. But most people here do not speak English. Tourists must learn French if they desire to feel comfortable while relaxing in New Caledonia.
33. Most citizens of New Caledonia identify themselves as Catholics.
34. Almost 97% of the local population is literate, which is a high rate for countries in Oceania.
35. Education in New Caledonia is free and compulsory for children between 6 and 16. Primary education lasts five years. Secondary education is divided into two cycles: the first last four years, and the second - is three years.
36. If Caledonian citizens wished to obtain a higher education, they did not have to travel abroad. There are five higher educational institutions in the country.
37. Education in New Caledonia is based on the French curriculum provided by French and French-trained teachers.
38. The national flag of New Caledonia is a rectangular panel with three stripes: blue, red, and green. The blue stripe symbolizes the sky and the ocean. Red is the blood that the patriots shed in the fight for freedom. The red color also represents collectivism. Green is the color of ancestors.
39. Besides the three stripes, the flag has a yellow circle with a spire inside. The ring symbolizes the sun. It became the national flag in July 2010. Before that, it was used as a regional flag, France's national flag.
40. The Kanaks, the indigenous people of the archipelago, have long cultivated yams, Talos (potato-like roots), bananas, and sweet potatoes. Until recently, these products were the main ones in their diet. Also, bats were used as Kanaka meat. Now, these products are leaving their table, replaced by rice (instead of yams and that), frozen foods, beef, pork, and lamb.
41. Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, was built by French colonists and was practically the only major city. About 90% of the population lives in the money, which does not have indigenous roots.
42. The climate here is tropical. There are two seasons: hot and humid and dry and cool. Hot and humid last from November to March. The average temperature is kept within 27-30 degrees Celsius. And the dry and cool season lasts from June to August when the average air temperature reaches 20-23 degrees Celsius.
43. Here in the central mountain range, the highest peaks are Mont Panier (height 1629 meters), located in the north, and Mont Humboldt (elevation 1618 meters), located in the southeast.
44. Despite the compact size of the country's main island, about 3,000 different plant species grow on it.
45. And forests cover about 15% of all New Caledonia.
46. Large tracts of forest have been preserved in the vicinity of Jensen. Severe rocks, framed by picturesque waterfalls, break through the green cover.
47. Near Yengen, there is “the most picturesque cliff in the country” - the “black rocks” Linderalik and Mount Pani. In the town itself, it is worth getting acquainted with the Goa-Ma-Bwarhat Cultural Center - a venue for folklore performances.
48. New Caledonia is a unique oasis of Pacific flora and fauna. The archipelago is surrounded by the most significant 1600 km reef barrier in Oceania, forming a relatively closed ecosystem.
49. For 300 million years, the islands were completely isolated from the rest of the world; this explains the vast number of endemics, especially in the plant world - about 2,500 unique plants make New Caledonia the "first botanical garden" of the entire South Pacific region.
50. The pride of the Caledonian flora is Amborella Trihopoda, the "mother of flowers" on our planet.
51. The animal world here is not very diverse. Only a few species of bats lived in New Caledonia even before the advent of Europeans, deer, and wild pigs, and there are no other mammals. Also, there are no poisonous snakes or frogs.
52. Several species of scorpions and centipedes can be found on the country's territory. It is also curious that many geckos live on the local islands.
53. And up to 100 species of birds are found here, and in New Caledonia, there are 22 species of birds that live only in this region and are not found anywhere else in the world.
54. Although New Caledonia receives a lot of money from France and tourists, the main contribution to the budget is the extraction of nickel, the rich deposits here. Nickel mining in the archipelago began in 1894.
55. Nickel is New Caledonia's main export commodity. According to preliminary estimates, about 25% of its world reserves are in New Caledonia.
56. Horse racing is popular in New Caledonia, as is women's cricket.
57. The visa regime here is quite strict. For example, even holders of French passports must come to terms with the fact that their stay on the island is limited.
58. Salaries here are much higher than in other Pacific countries. Prices, by the way, too.
59. New Caledonia is a hospitable country with gourmet food under palm trees, white sand, chic resorts, and bungalows. If there is a truly heavenly spot on Earth, it is probably located in New Caledonia. At least that's what those who have been here are saying.
60. magnificent beaches and snow-white yachts are swaying on the azure waves. In addition, serene calm always reigns here, not interrupted by various events that periodically shake the world political arena.
50 interesting facts about the country of Tonga
The islands of Tonga are practically unknown in the world, more precisely, most people on Earth do not even know about the existence of such a state. Recently, they are gaining popularity only among eco-tourists and downshifters.
Tonga is a tiny island country in the Pacific Ocean. People here live a habitual life that almost does not change over time, and even if they do not live richly, they are calm and quite happy. Here, no one cares about politics or the world economy - life here is limited to the territory of the country itself.
Tonga- top facts
1.Tonga is a small island country in the Pacific Ocean.
The majority of the world's population does not even suspect the existence of this country.
2. This state is located in Polynesia. The official name of the country is the Kingdom of Tonga.
3. The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago, it consists of 177 islands. Most of the islands of the Tonga archipelago are of volcanic or coral origin. Of the 177 islands, only 36 are inhabited by people.
4. These 36 islands have a total population of 108,020 people.
5. The total area of Tonga is 748 square kilometers.
6. British explorer James Cook called Tonga "Friendly Islands" and this phrase is used by the country's tourism industry to this day to attract tourists from all over the world.
7. James Cook named these islands after attending a magnificent feast and festival in his honor, organized by the leader of the island of Haapai - Finau Ulukalala. But Cook did not even suspect that the feast was actually a red herring. Finau Ulukalala and members of his tribe wanted to attack Cook and his expedition and rob the ship. But the leader did not dare to do this and abandoned his idea shortly before the start of the feast.
8. The capital of the state is Nuku'alofa. This city was founded in 1795 on the island of Tongatapu. It is now the largest and most populous city in the Kingdom. Nuku'alofa is home to ¼ of the population of Tonga.
9. Tongatapu Island is an atoll with an area of 260 km², it is also the largest and most populous island in the state. About 70% of the country's population lives on the territory of this atoll.
10. The Kingdom of Tonga was created by King George Tupou I. During his reign, the first set of laws was created on the islands, and Christianity became popular. George Tupou I reigned from 1845 to 1893 until his death at 95. Under him, the period of wars and unrest, which lasted from 1799 to 1852, was completed, and a constitution was adopted.
11. Most of the country's inhabitants are Christians. 1/3 of the country belongs to the United Methodist Church, and 1/5 of the country belongs to the Mormons. Due to the fact that there is a small number of inhabitants, it turns out that Tonga is the leader among the countries of the world in terms of the number of Mormons per capita.
12. Tonga is a mono-national country, more than 96 percent of the population are Tongans.
13. Almost the entire population of the country has Polynesian roots. The inhabitants of TongA are closely related to the Samoans and other Polynesians in culture and language, as well as in genetic heritage.
14. The kingdom gained independence from Great Britain in 1970.
15. Life here is limited to the territory of the country itself. No one here cares about politics and the world economy. People here live a habitual life that almost does not change over time, and although they do not live richly, they are calm and quite happy.
16. Due to the lack of suitable stone for construction, almost all buildings in Tonga are made of wood. But the royal palace and the parliament building are made of stone, and building materials were delivered here from other places.
17. The Kingdom is located in the so-called Pacific volcanic ring of fire and has at least 4 active volcanoes on its archipelago. In 2009, there was a strong undersea earthquake measuring 8.3, which, in turn, caused a tsunami. As a result of this tsunami, a large number of villages were destroyed.
18. Over the past two centuries, at least 35 volcanic eruptions have occurred on the islands of Tonga, the last was in 1960.
19. The highest point in the Kingdom is an unnamed place on the island of Kao, towering 1033 meters above sea level.
20. The climate on the islands of Tonga has two distinct seasons - dry and rainy. As for the average annual temperature, it is around 26 degrees Celsius.
21. The Tonga archipelago has two national parks and six reserves.
22. Tonga has two official languages - English and Tongan. But in practice, few people here speak and understand English.
23. Most Tongans are very religious people. The official religion of the kingdom is Christianity.
24. There are some diplomatic missions on the territory of the Kingdom of Tonga.
25. The Kingdom of Tonga maintains diplomatic relations with many countries.
26. The economy of this state is based on agriculture. Agriculture is the driving force in the country. The main export commodities that bring the greatest income to the country's budget are beans, coconuts, bananas, corn, breadfruit, limes, and pineapples.
27. In addition to these products, Tonga also exports timber, animal meat and fish.
28. Most of the produce grown is consumed by the Tongans, while the rest is exported to the United States of America, New Zealand, Japan and Australia.
29. The country also imports products from countries such as Australia, Singapore, USA, Fiji and New Zealand.
30. There are no railways in Tonga.
31. Hard-surfaced roads in Tonga are only about two hundred kilometers long.
32. The total length of roads in Tonga is about seven hundred kilometers.
33. There are only a few car rentals in the country.
34. There is only one international airport here. Flights from Tonga are only available from Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.
35. The crime rate in Tonga tends to zero, as in other small island countries like Niue or Kiribati.
36. Like many other island nations lost in the ocean, Tonga is experiencing problems with fresh water. Tongans collect rainwater in special tanks.
37. This country is home to the so-called "disappearing" island of Fonuafoʻou. This is an underwater volcano, which throughout history has repeatedly “peeped out” of the water, and then plunged back in the same way.
38. Between 1781 and 1865, shallow water formed near the volcano. In 1867, he already looked out from under the water. By 1885, it had risen to a height of 50 meters above sea level (at its highest point), and reached a length of 2 kilometers. Then the leadership of the state announced that they had a new island, Fonuafoʻou. However, after a few decades, he again disappeared under water. Two years later, Fonuafo'u reappeared, and its peak point reached 320 meters.
39. The government organized an expedition and wanted to plant the flag of Tonga there and plant some palm trees, but after the volcanic eruption, the island submerged again. Until 1927, he was under water. Then it appeared and existed until 1949, after which it again plunged under water. She reappeared in 1954 and sank again in 1959. Today it is under water at -17 meters above sea level.
40. The Tongan armed forces took part in the First World War, as well as in the peacekeeping operation in Iraq.
41. Bats are sacred animals in Tonga. These are the property of the monarchy and they are protected by law. Therefore, it is forbidden to harm them or use them as pets on the islands. Thanks to this policy, the islands of Tonga are an ideal place for these mammals.
42. The only embassy of Tonga is located in China, in Beijing.
43. In addition to the danger posed by the Pacific Ring of Fire, Tonga also faces a major sea level rise problem. While some parts of the country are quite high above sea level and protected by mountainous terrain, others, flat areas with relatively low altitude, may be flooded in the near future.
44. Grocery stores in Tonga do not have as much variety as one might expect, canned goods of all kinds predominate here. Affects the remoteness from civilization.
45. The national sport in Tonga is rugby.
46. The Tongan currency is called paanga. In everyday life, it is sometimes called the Tongan dollar.
47. Five radio stations broadcast throughout the kingdom.
48. The land area of the kingdom increases from time to time due to volcanic activity, as a result of which new islands rise to the surface of the ocean.
49. The islands of Tonga were practically unknown in the world. Even most people on Earth did not even know about the existence of such a state. Recently, they have been gaining popularity, especially among eco-tourists and downshifters.
50. Many tourists come to this country to swim with humpback whales. Every year from June to October, whales make an amazing journey of 5,000 kilometers from Antarctica to the warm waters of Tonga. They return to Tonga to breed. After their cubs get stronger, the whales return back.