New Caledonia

New Caledonia

From the islands of Scotland, which was called Caledonia by the Romans, we move across the globe to Oceania and visit New Caledonia, located on the Tropic of Capricorn in Melanesia, 450 miles east of Australia. New Caledonia is a possession of France, and is made up of Grand Terre, the main island, the Loyalty Islands, Isle of Pines, the Chesterfield Islands and the Belep Archipelago. The combined population of these islands is roughly 280,000. The official language is French,…

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The Food and Drink of the Hebrides

The Food and Drink of the Hebrides

The cuisine of the Hebrides is not much different from that of the rest of Scotland. Long traditions of crofting and fishing have shaped the cuisine of the islands and resulted in the prominence of game, fish, seafood, oats, barley and seaweed as key ingredients. Oats and barley were much easier to cultivate on the islands than wheat and therefore oatcakes and porridges are commonplace. The incredible bounty of  fresh seafood can be enjoyed fresh, cured or smoked. The many…

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Piping, Fiddling and Waulking. Music from the Hebrides Islands.

Piping, Fiddling and Waulking. Music from the Hebrides Islands.

The earliest music in the Scottish Isles was perhaps performed by traveling bards who accompanied their songs with harp. The old church music of the Hebrides has been claimed by a surprising number of researchers to be the real beginning of gospel music, which most assume to have originated from Africa and the slave experience. There were many Scottish immigrants who settled in North Carolina in the 1700s. Many of these individuals and even some of their slaves, spoke only…

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The Clans of the Hebrides

The Clans of the Hebrides

The Hebrides have been shown to have been inhabited as far back as 6500 BC. There are countless archaelogical sites throughout the islands that provide evidence of thriving communities in the Inner and Outer Hebrides. It follows logically that the Hebrides have a fascinating and complicated history. Prior to Viking rule which began in the late 8th century, the Hebrides were divided by north and south. The southern Hebrides were a part of the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata, which…

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The Outer Hebrides

The Outer Hebrides

Continuing farther out into the Atlantic from the Inner Hebrides, we arrive at the Western Isles, or Outer Hebrides. There are fifteen inhabited islands that belong to the main archipelago of the Outer Hebrides. There are also some smaller archipelagos that are more remote, but which are also officially part of the Outer Hebrides jurisdiction. Overall, there are over 100 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited. The total population of the Outer Hebrides rounds up to about 27,000….

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The Inner Hebrides

The Inner Hebrides

The Inner Hebrides are a group of islands close to the west coast of Scotland. Although they only have a combined population of around 20,000 inhabitants, the islands are nevertheless incredibly rich in history, scenery and Gaelic tradition. There are two groups of islands that form the Inner Hebrides. The northern group is dominated by Skye, the largest of the Hebrides, as well as several smaller islands. The southern group includes the islands of Islay, Jura, Mull, Coll, Tiree and…

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The Hebrides Islands of Scotland

The Hebrides Islands of Scotland

Next, we travel to the beautiful, rugged and remote Hebrides Islands. Located off the western coast of Scotland, the Hebrides are made up of two island chains – the Inner Hebrides, which include 35 inhabited islands and 44 uninhabited islands, and the Outer Hebrides, sometimes called the Western Isles, which include 15 inhabited islands as well as more than 50 uninhabited islands and islets. The two groups are separated by the waters of the Minch, Little Minch and the Sea…

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Post 100 – Focus on Bocas – Food and Drink

Post 100 – Focus on Bocas – Food and Drink

POST #100 This post is the 100th post at islandprofiles.com! Its hard to believe, but true. Today we finish up our visit to Bocas del Toro and focus on the food and drink of the Bocas Archipelago. The cuisine of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago is influenced by Afro-Antillean traditions, brought by settlers from Jamaica and other parts of the West Indies. The cuisine has a reputation for being hearty, spicy and filling. One dish that you are likely to…

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Things to See and Do in Bocas del Toro

Things to See and Do in Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is an unique island destination in many ways. It is a predominantly English speaking part of a Hispanic nation, with a more Afro-Caribbean feel to it than what you would find in other parts of Panama. Sometimes called the Galapagos of the Caribbean, the reefs and waters of Bocas offer unparalleled scuba diving and snorkeling. The quirky retro culture of backpackers, sailors and expats that came into existence as a result of the surfing, sailing and diving…

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Bocas Background – A Short History of Bocas del Toro

Bocas Background – A Short History of Bocas del Toro

For thousands of years before Christopher Columbus set foot on the islands of Bocas del Toro, they were inhabited by Indians of the Guaymi, Teribe and Bokota tribes. The Ngäbe (or Ngöbe) and Buglé are subgroups of the Guaymi. They are often grouped together and referred to as the largest indigenous group in Panama even though they speak separate languages. When Columbus arrived, his ships were in need of repair and the calm waters and fertile ground of the archipelago…

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