New Caledonia: Prisoners of Love


in Empire of Love

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780195162950
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199867660 | DOI:
New Caledonia: Prisoners of Love

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This chapter studies the French penal colony on the Melanesian island of New Caledonia and the ways that policy makers both imagine and instigate settlements and marriages for convicts with the hope of creating communities of affection and devotion to France from prisoners. This model of idealized French country farmer households transposed to the South Seas is challenged not only by the stories of the convicts themselves, but by the indigenous Kanak peoples who resist the encroachment upon their lands. The final section follows both a violent 1878 rebellion led by the chief Atai against the French colonizers, yet one set within a series of stories that demonstrate how some Kanak and European men and women tried to create domestic lives together in settings hostile to both.

Keywords: New Caledonia; penal colony; Kanak; Melanesia; relegation; exile

Chapter.  9674 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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