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About New Caledonia

The British explorer Captain James Cook discovered the southwest Pacific Ocean archipelago on 4 September 1774, originally naming it Cook Islands after himself before changing the name to New Caledonia after the rocky cliffs of Scotland, also known as Caledonia. The first French missionaries arrived on 21 December 1843, but it wasn’t until 24 September 1853 that Admiral Auguste Febvrier Despointes claimed the islands for France, with the name Nouvelle Calédonie. France officially recognized the possession on 14 February 1854. Port de France was founded in the bay of Nouméa, and renamed Nouméa in 1866.

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