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Saint Pierre and Miquelon: last edge of an empire

Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Collectivité territoriale de Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon) is a French territorial community made up of two larger islands (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon) and small rocks and islets that are located around the island of Saint-Pierre: Grand Colombier, Petit Colombier, Île aux Marins (Île aux Chiens), Île aux Pigeons and Île aux Vainqueurs.

A FASCINATING STORY

The small French possession is located in the Atlantic Ocean south of Newfoundland. These small islands represent what remains today of the vast empire that France possessed in North America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and which at the time of maximum splendor extended from the Saint Lawrence river to the Mississippi.

The islands were colonized by France at the end of the 17th century, but in the following years they often changed hands between France and Great Britain. The British occupied the islands several times. They remained under continuous British control between 1714 and 1763, and then were occupied intermittently by the British between 1778 and 1814. With the Paris Treaty of 1814 they were definitively returned to France.

A SMALL PIECE OF FRANCE IN NORTH AMERICA

The islands are located at the entrance to Fortune Bay along the southern coast of Newfoundland. The largest island in the area is Miquelon (216 sq km), however it is not the most densely populated. Miquelon is made up of three territories – Le Cap, Miquelon (Grande Miquelon), and Langlade (Petite Miquelon) – joined together by sandbanks.

The island with the most inhabitants of the archipelago is that of Saint-Pierre (26 sq km) where there is the important fishing port of Saint-Pierre, the capital of the territory. Most of the inhabitants are of Breton, Norman or Basque origin and all speak French. Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon had an economy based mainly on fishing, but in the last years of the twentieth century this activity decreased considerably to cease almost entirely due to lack of fish. In recent years, emerging activities have become crafts and tourism.

The climate of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

  • Area: 242 sqkm.
  • Population: 6,125 (5,509 In the municipality of Saint-Pierre and the other 616 in the municipality of Miquelon-Langlade) (2006 data).
  • State Capital: Saint-Pierre.
  • Language: French.
  • Religion: Roman Catholic.
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Time: UTC -2 hours (Summer (DST) -3 hours).

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