Ouvéa

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For the yacht of the same name, see Ouvéa (ship).
Ouvéa
The Uvea Parakeet is endemic to Ouvéa Island
The Uvea Parakeet is endemic to Ouvéa Island
Location of the commune (in red) within New Caledonia
Location of the commune (in red) within New Caledonia
Coordinates: 20°39′08″S 166°33′43″E / 20.6522°S 166.5619°E / -20.6522; 166.5619Coordinates: 20°39′08″S 166°33′43″E / 20.6522°S 166.5619°E / -20.6522; 166.5619
Country France
Sui generis collectivity New Caledonia
Province Loyalty Islands
Government
 • Mayor Boniface Ounou
Area
 • Land1 132.1 km2 (51.0 sq mi)
Population (2004 census)
 • Population2 4,359
 • Population2 density 33/km2 (85/sq mi)
Ethnic distribution
 • 1996 census Kanaks 98.8%
Europeans 0.8%
Polynesians 0.3%
Other 0.1%
INSEE/Postal code 98820 / 98814
Elevation 0–46 m (0–151 ft)
(avg. 2 m or 6.6 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.

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.[1]

Geography[edit]

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

History[edit]

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 the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front. Twelve of the captured gendarmes were released after a while, but six members of a French anti-terrorist squad were also taken hostage. When negotiations to release the hostages did not succeed, French security forces besieged the cave and freed them. Eighteen Kanaks and two gendarmes were left dead. In the aftermath it was alleged that three Kanaks had been executed or left to die after being arrested.

Languages[edit]

The 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[edit]