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Loyalty islands Lifou map.png
map of Lifou, central islands of loyalty islands, New Caledonia dependency, oceania
Loyalty Islands map.png
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 20°54′S 167°12′E / 20.9°S 167.2°E / -20.9; 167.2Coordinates: 20°54′S 167°12′E / 20.9°S 167.2°E / -20.9; 167.2
Archipelago Loyalty Islands
Area 1,197.1 km2 (462.2 sq mi)
Length 81 km (50 mi)
Width 16–24 km (9.9–15 mi)
Overseas departments and territories of France  New Caledonia
Commune Lifou
Population 10151 (as of 2004)
Density 8.48 /km2 (22.0 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Kanaks 96.9%, Europeans 2.6%, Polynesians 0.1%, Other 0.4%

Lifou Island is the largest and most important island of the Loyalty Islands, in the archipelago of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is located at 20°54′S 167°12′E / 20.9°S 167.2°E / -20.9; 167.2.



The island is part of the commune (municipality) of Lifou, in the Islands Province of New Caledonia. The administrative center of the commune is located at , on Lifou Island.


Lifou from space, November 1990

Irregular in shape, Lifou Island is 81 km (50 miles) long and 16 to 24 km (10 to 15 miles) wide. The island is flat with no hills or rivers, but has abundant vegetation, fertile soils, and terraced cliffs. Lifou Island is a former coral atoll that was part of a submerged volcano. Nearly 2 million years ago, the island was uplifted to its present shape and elevation. Since there are no rivers on Lifou, the water comes from rain that seeps through the calcareous soil and forms freshwater ponds.


Tourism is a major industry on the island. Chief exports include copra, rubber, vanilla and sugarcane.


The native language of the island is the Drehu.



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