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Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Caledonia

New Caledonia offers an endless variety of landscapes, from some of the best white sand beaches in the Pacific to spectacular mountain retreats. It is surrounded by a 1,600km- (1,000 mile-) long coral reef, and claims the world's largest lagoon.New Caledonia is not volcanic, like its neighbours, but a fragment of an ancient continent that drifted away some 250 million years ago. As such its flora and fauna have evolved in isolation, and are now quite unique. A wide variety of endemic species have flourished.New Caledonia is the third largest island in the Pacific Region after Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. It became a French colony in1853 and a French Overseas Territory in 1946. The indigenous population has attempted to free themselves from French rule on several occasions, including the Kanak Revolt of 1878. Conflicts still flare up today, reflecting the countries' differing attitudes on self-government, French nuclear testing in the region and more