About 750 miles east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean, a territorial collectivity of France, New Caledonia is located. The first European exploration was carried out by a British trader, James Paddon in 1851. Three years later, the French established a settlement and soon the island of New Caledonia became French possession. In the coming years, there will be a referendum in the island, which will decide whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty and independence from France. Nouméa is the capital city of New Caledonia.