Belep

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Belep
Location of the commune (in red) within New Caledonia
Location of the commune (in red) within New Caledonia
Coordinates: 19°45′00″S 163°40′00″E / 19.75°S 163.6667°E / -19.75; 163.6667Coordinates: 19°45′00″S 163°40′00″E / 19.75°S 163.6667°E / -19.75; 163.6667
Country France
Sui generis collectivity New Caledonia
Province North Province
Government
 • Mayor Jean-Baptiste Moilou
Area
 • Land1 69.5 km2 (26.8 sq mi)
Population (2004 census)
 • Population2 930
 • Population2 density 13/km2 (35/sq mi)
Ethnic distribution
 • 1996 census Kanaks 99.3%
Europeans 0%
Polynesians 0%
Other 0.7%
INSEE/Postal code 98801 / 98811
Elevation 0–283 m (0–928 ft)
(avg. 20 m or 66 ft)

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 without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Belep (sometimes unofficially spelled Bélep) is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It has almost 1000 people living on 70 km2.

The commune's territory is made up of the Belep Islands (also known as the Belep Archipelago), which lie to the north of New Caledonia's mainland. The two principal islands in the Belep Archipelago are Art Island (aka Aar) and Pott Island (aka Phwoc). The rest of the archipelago consists of the Northern and Southern Daos Islands, and several very small islets.

The administrative centre of the commune is the settlement of Waala, on Art Island, the largest of the Belep Islands.

History[edit]

The Belep Islands were named after a Kanak chief who settled there in ancient times. A Catholic mission was founded in Belep in 1856. The islands were the site of a leper colony between 1892 and 1898.