New Caledonia is a small country on the southwest Pacific Ocean. The main language spoken in New Caledonia is French, although English is also widely spoken. The capital of New Caledonia is Noumea. The country has a population of just over a million people and is surrounded by Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Tonga. New Caledonia was first settled by Lapins (sea explorer) in the 18th century. It was then colonized by the French in the late 19th century. When New Caledonia became an independent country in 1979, it had to choose a new name. The name chosen was "New Caledonia", which means "New Scotland". The country's flag features a green rectangle with a white cross inside it, which represents Christianity and European colonization. There are also two ferns on the flag - one stands for peace and the other for growth.