New Caledonia Day Date in the current year: September 24, 2024

New Caledonia Day New Caledonia Day is the national day of New Caledonia, a special collectivity of France in the southwest Pacific. It is celebrated on September 24 to commemorate the day New Caledonia officially became a French colony.

New Caledonia occupies an archipelago in Melanesia, which comprises the principal island of Grande Terre and several groups of smaller islands. Before the arrival of Europeans it was populated by the Kanak people.

The first European to encounter the islands was James Cook. It was Cook who named the archipelago “New Caledonia”. Shortly after, French explorer Jean-François de Galaup approached the islands, but his expedition vanished. The first Christian missionaries arrived there in the 1840s.

On September 24, 1853, French Admiral Febvrier Despointes officially declared New Caledonia a French colony. It was originally used as a penal colony for criminals and political prisoners. In 1946, it became an overseas territory. Several years later, all New Caledonians were granted French citizenship.

Although New Caledonia Day is a public holiday, its celebration is typically low-key. Some indigenous Kanaks even consider it to be a day of mourning because the colonial authorities used to oppress the indigenous population.

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