Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (French Saint-Pierre et Miquelon) is a French overseas collectivity consisting of several small islands off the eastern coast of Canada near Newfoundland.

Saint-Pierre et Miquelon
Flag of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon Saint-Pierre and Miquelon Coat of Arms
Flag of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon Saint-Pierre and Miquelon Coat of Arms
National motto: A mare labor
Official language French
Capital Saint-Pierre
President of the General Council Marc Plantegenest
Prefect Albert Dupuy
 – Total
 – % water

 242 km²
 – Total (2004)

Currency Euro (? EUR)
Time zone UTC-3
Calling Code 508
Internet TLD .pm
has been under French control since 1763


Main article: History of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

Paleoeskimo or Dorset culture artifacts have been uncovered in Saint-Pierre (Anse Henry). Some of these date back to 3000 BC.

Named the 'Eleven Thousand Virgins' by Portuguese explorer Joo lvares Fagundes in 1521, the islands were also named the 'Islands of Saint-Pierre' by the French.

During the 16th century, the islands were used as a base for the seasonal cod fishery by the French of La Rochelle, Granville, Saint-Malo and the Basque Country. When French explorer Jacques Cartier was in Saint-Pierre in 1536 he made note of the French and Breton fishery.

The name Miquelon is of Basque origin as this island was used by fishermen from Saint-Jean de Luz.

Saint-Pierre was settled by the French in the early 17th century, abandoned under the Treaty of Utrecht, and returned to France in 1763 at the end of the Seven Years War.

Between 1763 and 1778, the islands became a place of refuge for Acadian deportees from Nova Scotia.

In 1778 the islands were attacked and the population deported by the British as retaliation for French support of the American Revolutionary War.

Although France regained the islands in 1783, by 1793, British hostility to the French Revolution and the fact that France had declared war with Britain led to another British attack on the islands and the deportation of the entire population.

The islands were finally returned to France after the second abdication of Napoleon in 1816.

The islands represent the sole remaining vestige of France's once vast North American possessions.

They have always been most important as a fishing centre, being in easy travel distance of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, some of the world's richest fishing grounds.

The islands were used during American Prohibition as a base for smuggling liquor into the United States by many gangsters including Al Capone and Bill McCoy.

After Germany invaded most of Europe during World War II, the islands were controlled by Vichy France. On Christmas day 1941, Free French forces led by Rear-Admiral mile Muselier liberated the islands on behalf of Charles de Gaulle. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon became the focus of a serious rift between Free French forces and the United States Department of State, which was courting Vichy France and sent ships to take the islands back.

The islands became a full dpartement d'outre mer of France in 1976. This status was modified in 1985 and the islands became a territory with special status (collectivit territoriale statut particulier).


Main article: Politics of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

In 1992, a maritime boundary dispute with Canada over the delineation of the Exclusive Economic Zone belonging to France was settled by the International Court of Arbitration. In the decision, France kept the 12 nautical mile (NM) territorial sea surrounding the islands and was given an additional 12 NM contiguous zone as well as a 10.5 NM wide corridor stretching 200 NM south. The total area in the award was 18% of what France had contested.


Main article: Geography of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

The island of Saint Pierre is surrounded by smaller dependencies which include the island of Grand Colombier, Petit Colombier, and le aux Marins formally known as le aux Chiens.

Miquelon island was formed by the joining of three islands by sand dunes and Quaternary deposits. These islands are Le Cap, Miquelon (Grande Miquelon), Langlade (Petite Miquelon).

The climate is very damp and windy, the winters are harsh and long. The spring and early summer are foggy and cool. Late summer and early fall are sunny.


Main article: Economy of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

The islands were dependent upon the cod fishery for the best part of the last four centuries. However, overfishing on the Grand Banks has led Canada to impose a long closure of this industry. Since fishing quotas are governed by Canada, Saint Pierre and Miquelon and the French Fishery have been seriously affected.

In Saint Pierre and Miquelon, many efforts are being made, with the help of the French Government, to diversify the local economy. Tourism, fish farming, crab fishing and agriculture are being developed.

The islands continue to print their own postage stamps but use the Euro currency.


Main article: Demographics of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon


Main article: Culture of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

French patriotism is still strong on the islands, and the islanders are proud that some of the soil on the island is French, having been brought over in the ballasts of ships.


Defense is the responsibility of France (see also Military of France).

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af:Saint-Pierre et Miquelonde:St. Pierre und Miquelon

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon eo:Sent-Piero kaj Mikelono es:Saint Pierre y Miquelon fo:Saint-Pierre og Miquelon fr:Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon gl:San Pedro e Migueln - Saint Pierre et Miquelon io:St Pierre e Mikelon lt:Sen Pjeras ir Mikelonas nl:Saint-Pierre en Miquelon ja:サンピエール島・ミクロン島 pl:Saint-Pierre i Miquelon pt:Saint Pierre et Miquelon sv:Saint-Pierre och Miquelon


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