24.09.

1853: New Caledonia – Once a French Penal Colony

1853: New Caledonia – Once a French Penal Colony
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 24 September 1853
  • It is interesting to note that the French used New Caledonia as a penal colony, like the British used Australia. The area of New Caledonia covers 18,576 square kilometers, approximately like Slovenia or Israel.

France formally occupied the territory of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean on this day in 1853.

Today, New Caledonia is one of the most unusual “components” of France. Namely, it is the only country with the status of so-called “sui generis collectivity” (French: Collectivité sui generis), which gives it a kind of autonomy. Indeed, the separation of New Caledonia from France is likely to happen i.e. it may become an independent state. 

New Caledonia is an archipelago comprised of one large island (the area of Grande Terre covers 16,372 square kilometers) and several smaller islands. The area of New Caledonia covers 18,576 square kilometers, approximately like Slovenia or Israel. The main island of Grande Terre is about 350 kilometers long.

Admiral Febvrier Despointes occupied New Caledonia on this day in 1853. At the time, France was an empire under Napoleon III (the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte). Port-de-France became the capital of New Caledonia, but today it bears the name of Nouméa. It is interesting to note that the French used New Caledonia as a penal colony, like the British used Australia.

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