Got to explore this beautiful island which is located in the Pacific Ocean. It lies southeast of Grande Terre, New Caledonia's main island.
The inhabitants of the island are mainly native Melanesian Kanaks and the population is 2,000. Its a beautiful Island and is worth travelling there.
They open up small markets whenever there is a tourist visit. So, if you are travelling there don't forget to try the local food from the market. Also, the beef burger is a must try.
Melanesian people lived on the island for over 2000 years before the island was first visited by Europeans. Captain James Cook in 1774 saw the island and renamed it on his second voyage to New Zealand. Cook gave the island its name after seeing the tall native pines (Araucaria columnaris). He never disembarked onto the island,but as he saw signs of inhabitance (smoke) assumed it was inhabited. In the 1840's Protestant and Catholic missionaries arrived, along with merchants seeking sandalwood.
The French took possession of the island in 1853 at which time the native Kunies opted for the Catholic religion. In 1872 the island became a French penal colony, home to 3,000 political deportees from the Paris Commune.
The ruins of a penal colony can be seen in the village of Ouro in the west of the island. The water tower of Ouro which was built by prisoners in 1874/75 and renovated in 2005 is still used.
At the cemetery Cimetière des Déportés near Ouro is a pyramid-shaped memorial and the graves of 300 deportees who died between 1872 and 1880.