New Caledonia was attached to the French Establishments in Oceania before becoming self-governing colony in 1860. Overseas Territory in 1946, she chose to keep this status in 1958 and 1972. The New Caledonia was discovered by Captain Cook in 1774. The French recognized the island during the Revolution. After the massacre of French sailors by the natives in 1853, France militarily seized the island and founded Noumea in 1854 under the name of Port-de-France. Until 1860, the New Caledonia depended Territories Oceania. French territory farther from the metropolis, the New Caledonia was an important penal colony between 1864 and 1896, especially for the Communards, such Louise Michel. She has significant mineral wealth, including nickel which served to make our coins half-franc piece of 5 francs.