New Caledonia, a South Pacific island, belonging to France, and lying midway between the Fiji Islands and Queensland; on it the Loyalty Islands and Isle of Pines are dependent. Surrounded by coral-reefs, it is 240 miles in length, 25 in average breadth, and 6450 sq. m. in area. The interior is greatly broken by irregular mountain-chains (highest point, Mount Humboldt, 5380 feet). Noumea, the capital (4601 inhabitants), is on the south-west coast. The minerals include nickel, copper, cobalt, antimony, chrome, etc. Wines and spirits, flour, drapery, groceries, ironmongery, machinery, coal, etc. are imported, and nickel, cobalt, and other metals, preserved meat, copra, coffee, etc. exported. Every year about 130 vessels of 75,000 tons visit the island, one-half being British. The total pop. in 1901 numbered 51,415, including - aborigines, 26,106; free Europeans, 12,253 ; convicts, 6326 ; liberated convicts, 3730. The island was discovered by Captain Cook in 1774, and was annexed by France in 1853. She began to use it as a convict station, and after 1871 sent out great numbers of Communists.