New Caledonia is located 1,210km east of Australia and is made up of the main island of the Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands group and surrounding smaller islands, including the Isle of Pines. Its combined land area is 18,576km2.
It is home to around 280,500 people, of which approximately 39% identify as Kanak, New Caledonia’s indigenous population.
On 4 November 2018, there was a referendum on New Caledonia's independence from France. This was the beginning of the last stage of the 20-year Noumea Accord process, which has delivered greater autonomy to New Caledonia through the transfer of services provided and administered by France. A majority voted to stay within the French Republic. Two further independence referendums are provided for in the Noumea Accord.