New Caledonia: The Infinite Pause?

  • John ConnellEmail author
  • Robert Aldrich


By the end of the twentieth century, the French overseas territory of New Caledonia was relatively calm and peaceful after a protracted period of considerable, violent disorder in the 1980s, that had resulted in several deaths. Most of the indigenous Melanesian (Kanak) population had struggled for independence in the 1980s, while most other residents of the OT had opposed it. Of all the present OTs, New Caledonia is the only one where people have literally fought for independence. While peace was restored, and violence ended, it remained the OT where independence seemed most likely, but more probably through persuasion and the ballot box, rather than through the barrels of guns. However, significant pressure for independence came primarily from the indigenous Kanaks who now constituted less than half the population, the remainder being migrants from France, Asia and Polynesia, and their descendants. As in many other OTs, efforts to achieve independence were intimately linked to questions of identity in what had become, in the nineteenth century, a settler colony.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of GeosciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of HistoryUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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