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Coordinates: 20°39′22″S 166°32′31″E / 20.65611°S 166.54194°E / -20.65611; 166.54194

Commune of Ouvéa
Uvea Parakeet.JPG
The Uvea Parakeet is endemic to Ouvéa Island

Location
Ouvea.PNG
Location of the commune (in red) within New Caledonia
Administration
Country France
Sui generis collectivity New Caledonia
Province Loyalty Islands
Mayor Boniface Ounou
Statistics
Elevation 0–46 m (0–150 ft)
(avg. 2 m/6.6 ft)
Land area1 132.1 km2 (51.0 sq mi)
Population2 4,359  (2004 census)
 - Density 33 /km2 (85 /sq mi)
 - Ethnic distribution
  (1996 census)
Kanaks 98.8%
Europeans 0.8%
Polynesians 0.3%
Other 0.1%
Miscellaneous
INSEE/Postal code 98820/ 98814
1 New Caledonia Land Register (DITTT) data, which exclude lakes and ponds larger than 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) as well as the estuaries of rivers.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
For the yacht of the same name, see Ouvéa (ship).

Ouvéa (local pronunciation: [uˈve.a]) is a commune in the Loyalty Islands Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The settlement of Fayaoué [faˈjawe], on Ouvéa Island, is the administrative centre of the commune of Ouvéa.

Contents

Geography

Ouvéa is made up of Ouvéa Island, the smaller Mouli Island and Faiava Island, and several islets around these three islands. All these lie among the Loyalty Islands, to the northeast of New Caledonia's mainland.

History

In April 1988, a bloody hostage taking took place on Ouvéa. Four gendarmes were killed and twenty-seven were held hostage in a cave by supporters of FLNKS. Twelve of the captured gendarmes were released afterwhile, but six members of a French anti-terrorist squad were also taken hostage. When negotiations to release those taken hostage did not succeed, French security forces sieged the cave and freed the hostages. Eighteen Kanaks and two gendarmes were left dead, and in the aftermath, it was alleged that three Kanaks had been executed or left to perish after being arrested.

Languages

The two native languages of Ouvéa are the Melanesian Iaai and the Polynesian Faga Uvea, which is the only Polynesian language that has taken root in New Caledonia. Speakers of Faga Uvea have fully integrated into the Kanak society, and consider themselves Kanak.

Orbital photo of Ouvéa (islands of Ouvéa, Mouli, Faiava, and surrounding islets), taken from space, November 1990. Courtesy of NASA.

References

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