Due to the isolation, New Caledonia is protected from certain developments and destructions. The hot and humid climate also contributes to the high extent of biodiversity and incredible levels of endemism. As the smallest single biodiversity hotspot in the world, New Caledonia is home to extremely rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity. New Caledonia also has one of the highest rates of endemism for terrestrial flora in the world. This remarkable plant diversity of New Caledonia consists of 3,261 species of indigenous flora (74% strictly endemic). New Caledonia also hosts 106 species of endemic reptiles, 6 species of endemic bats and 4,500 species of invertebrates (90% endemic). 23 species of bird are endemic to the island. Covering 23,000km^2, the lagoon of New Caledonia is also the biggest and most beautiful lagoon in the world. Bounded by coral running for 1,600 km, it is home to 350 species of coral and 1,600 species of fish. Dotted with paradise islands, lagoon of New Caledonia is classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2008.
Unlike the neighboring volcanic islands, New Caledonia is a drifted fragment of an ancient continent. About 60 million years ago, in the Cretaceous, New Caledonia was part of the eastern margin of the supercontinent of Gondwana, which already highly fragmented, included Australia and Antarctica. New Caledonia was also detached and became an island. The first people, the Melanesians, arrived New Caledonia in around 1300 B.C. The second wave of migration of Polynesian dates back 900 years. New Caledonia is a land of hybrids, which was named Caledonia, the former name for Scotland, in 1774 by the navigator, James Cook. Cook gave the island this name due to its resemblance to his native land.
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