limestone coral group in the French overseas country of New Caledonia, southwestern Pacific Ocean. The group comprises the low-lying islands of Ouvea, Lifou, and Mare; the highest point is at 453 feet (138 metres), on Mare Island. The islands were inhabited by Melanesians more than 3,000 years ago. Sighted by Europeans early in the 19th century, the islands became a focus of Anglo-French conflict. They were annexed by France in 1853 and attached administratively to New Caledonia in 1946. Yams, taro, bananas, and coconuts are grown, with copra the chief export. The Loyalty Islanders, who are Melanesian, speak several languages. Area 765 square miles (1,981 square km). Pop. (2004) 22,080.
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|a printed punctuation mark (‽), available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a mixture of query and interjection, as after a rhetorical question.|
|a calculus or concretion found in the stomach or intestines of certain animals, esp. ruminants, formerly reputed to be an effective remedy for poison.|