NOUMEA: Fresh Caledonia, a faraway island territory belonging to France in the southwestern Pacific, will withhold a referendum vote on independence Sunday for the second time in two years.
Listed below are some info on the archipelago, better identified for its pristine beaches and various natural world than its politics.
Home to just a few 269,000 folks, Fresh Caledonia is about 18,000 kilometres (11,000 miles) from mainland France — and a pair of,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) east of Australia.
Fresh Caledonia’s lagoons, with gorgeous reefs that shelter an worthy array of coral and fish species, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage role in 2008.
Islanders name the main island, Huge Terre, the “pebble” of the Pacific.
It was as soon as seized by the French admiral Auguste Febvrier-Despointes in 1853, who declared that he wanted to divulge his nation of a “discipline in the Pacific.”
But Fresh Caledonia’s name hails from the sailor who was as soon as the main European to discipline it, British explorer Captain James Prepare dinner, who acknowledged it reminded him of Scotland.
It was as soon as first and main extinct as a penal colony for convicts and political prisoners, and was as soon as declared an faraway places territory of France in 1946. It’s miles now identified as an faraway places collectivity with a restricted stage of autonomy.
The bulk of Fresh Caledonia’s population is made up of indigenous Melanesians identified locally as Kanaks (39 percent) and European inhabitants, or Caldoches (27 percent).
There are also minorities from the pretty nearby Polynesia Pacific plan, in conjunction with Wallis and Futuna islanders, and smaller numbers of Tahitians, Indonesian and Vietnamese.
The indigenous population fell sharply in the late 19th century as European settlers introduced with them unique diseases corresponding to smallpox and measles.
A rising half of the population now identifies as combined-bustle or “Caledonian.”
There was as soon as a long historical previous of ethnic tensions in Fresh Caledonia, starting in 1878 when a Kanak insurgency over the rights of Kanaks in the mining commerce left 200 Europeans and 600 rebels tiresome. Some 1,500 Kanaks were despatched into exile.
Clashes between Kanaks and Caldoches in the 1980s culminated in a bloody assault and hostage-taking by Kanak separatists in 1988, when six law enforcement officials and 19 militants were killed on the island of Ouvea.
France brokered a reconciliation between the communities, attempting to rebalance wealth and fragment out political energy.
A landmark deal between France and opponents and supporters of independence followed in 1988, giving the islands more autonomy and permitting referendums over independence.
On Sunday, the second referendum will occur after the “No” vote received with 56.7 percent in the main vote in 2018.
Although independence is one more time rejected, one other referendum is imaginable in 2022.
Fresh Caledonia boasts a quarter of the enviornment’s identified reserves of nickel, a core element in the fetch of stainless-steel, rechargeable batteries, and coins.
Nickel is, along side abet from the French divulge, the island’s greatest source of earnings, making up 7 percent of GDP in 2018, despite the fact that in some years the figure can attain 20 percent relying on market prices.
Fresh Caledonia has been one among very few territories on the planet to be largely spared the Covid-19 epidemic, and the referendum will proceed in typical stipulations.
It recorded completely 27 coronavirus cases — all imported — and had the shortest lockdown period of anyplace in France, from March 24 to April 20.
But global flights stay enormously reduced and all arrivals face an compulsory 14-day quarantine in accommodations requisitioned by the authorities. These measures will stay in site until March subsequent year.