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Caldoche: Wikis


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Cultural flag of the Caldoche community, showing the cagou.

Caldoche is the name given to European inhabitants of the French territory of New Caledonia, mostly native-born French settlers. The formal name to refer to this particular population is Calédoniens, short for the very formal Néo-Calédoniens, however this self-appellation technically includes all inhabitants of the New Caledonian archipelago, not just the Caldoche. Another "white" demographic element (although they may well be Frenchmen of different ethnic backgrounds) in the territory is expatriates from metropolitan France who live there temporarily as civil servants. Caldoches are keen to differentiate themselves from these inhabitants, underlining their position as the permanent locals, referring to them as métros, short for métropolitains or as zoreilles and more informally zozos in the local jargon.

New Caledonia was used as a penal colony from 1854 to 1922 by France. From this period and on, many Europeans (particularly of French and, to some extent, German origin) settled in the territory and they intermingled with Asian and Polynesian settlers. Code de l'indigénat, introduced in 1887, provided the free settler population with an advantegous status over the indigenous Melanesian peoples, known collectively as Kanak. Caldoches settled and gained property on the dry west coast of the main island Grande-Terre de la Nouvelle-Calédonie where the capital Nouméa is also located, pushing the Kanaks onto small reservations in the north and east. With the superior position, they constituted the ruling class of the colony and they were the ones who widened the usage of the word Canaque as a pejorative.

Caldoche culture is often compared to cultures of rural Australians and Afrikaners. They are, on the political level, typical loyalists (in the context of New Caledonia, they oppose independence from France). They were seen as supporters of strongly Caldoche RPCR (Rally for Caledonia inside the Republic) until 2004, when their support shifted considerably towards Avenir ensemble ("Future Together"), which has the vision of a multiracial New Caledonia within the framework of the French Republic.

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