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Saint-Pierre and Miquelon - Introduction

Saint Pierre and Miquelon is one of five overseas territories – French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte, and the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. The total population of the islands at the January 2011 census was 6,080, of which 5,456 lived in Saint-Pierre and 624 in Miquelon-Langlade. The population of Saint Pierre and Miquelon was 6,320 as July 16, 2017, based on the latest United Nations estimates.

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (SPM) is an important aspect of the relationship of France and Canada. Following the arbitral award of June 1992 on the SPM Exclusive Economic Zone, France and Canada signed an agreement in 1994 that governs fishing and regional cooperation with the four Atlantic provinces of Canada. A joint commission meets annually to strengthen this cooperation. The whole of St Pierre and Miquelon's history is linked to deep-sea cod fishing, a sector which, nevertheless, has suffered since the moratorium on cod fishing in 1992. The state continues to support this fishing industry.

From 1977, a long conflict between Canada and France over the 200 nautical miles claimed by the two countries around their coasts. The dispute will be concluded on 10 June 1992 by a decision of the International Arbitration Tribunal of New York deciding to reduce the exclusive economic zone of France off the coast of Saint Pierre and Miquelon and prohibits cod fishing Because of its overexploitation.

Despite a slight rebalancing made possible by a Franco-Canadian agreement signed in December 1994, the archipelago's fishery resources have been greatly reduced. The majority of the labor force is now employed in construction, public works, tourism and no longer in fishing.

The Archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is located 25 kilometers from Newfoundland, 622 kilometers from Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1,800 kilometers from Montreal and our cousins ??from Quebec, and 4,600 kilometers from Paris. Located at 47 ° N and 56 ° W in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it is apparent from the North Atlantic, south of Newfoundland, where the cold current of Labrador intersects the warm Gulf Stream current.

The archipelago consists of four islands: Saint-Pierre , Miquelon , Langlade and the island of sailors, to which must be added the islets of Pigeon Island, the island of Vainqueurs, Grand Colombier and the reefs of Calves. The island of Saint-Pierre covers an area of ??26 km² and has a natural harbor, while the Miquelon-Langlade islands offer a natural area of ??200 km and a twelve-kilometer sand isthmus. They offer a diversity of landscapes and a rich and peaceful natural environment.

The ice release of this area about 13,700 years ago has left numerous glaciogenic sedimentary deposits (moraines), some of which are still present on the islands of Miquelon and north of Langlade. Between 13 700 and 10 500 years, a rapid fall in relative sea level (of the order of -20 mm / year) results from the glacial-isostatic rebound which begins regionally (ie, Ie the vertical movements of the earth's crust which is no longer constrained by the weight of the skullcap), causing the relative sea level to change from +40 m to -25 m. The consequence is the exudation of a large part of the territory , including the location of the current barrier. At the end of this rapid decline in relative sea level (between 10,500 and 8,000 years), the sea level stabilizes and is estimated to be between -25 and -20 m for southern Newfoundland.

Over the last 3 000 years, the relative sea level increases moderately (+1 mm / year). These conditions and a strong sedimentary contribution from the dismantling of the moraines, allowed the formation and the development of the emerged part of the barrier. It was during this period that the following appeared: (1) the Cacaouis hooked arrow to the northeast of the barrier; (2) the vast plain of beach ridges in the center, which develop along the two open ocean fronts (linear to the west and concave to the east); (3) sedimentary deposits hanging north of Langlade and developing into comet tail to the north.

The progradation and convergence of the two sectors (north and south) constituting the current barrier led to the closure of the central mouth and the unification of the barrier at the end of the 18th century. This connection had the consequence of stopping the sedimentary transfers between the two facades. The adjustment of the coastline to the new hydro-sedimentary scheme, has shaped a curvilinear coastline on both facades of the barrier.

Long before the arrival of Europeans, the islands of the archipelago of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon had been inhabited by Amerindian populations, the Beothuks. We know that they lived on the island of Newfoundland in 200 BC and were progressively expelled by the Europeans from the fifteenth century onwards.

Before any official exploration, fishermen from Brittany and Normandy settled around 1504 on a seasonal basis in Saint-Pierre and came to fish in the waters of Newfoundland where cod were abundant; The Basques came to hunt the whale on the banks of Newfoundland at the same time.

But it was the Portuguese navigator João Alvares Fagundes who, after approaching the coasts of Nova Scotia, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the south coast of Newfoundland, officially discovered, on 21 October 1520, the archipelago of Saint Pierre-et-Miquelon, which he then called the island of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, in memory of a legend attributed to Saint Ursula and her companions. The Portuguese kept these islands for a very short time, which did not keep their original name "archipelago of the Eleven Thousand Virgins" because in 1530 the name of the islands of St. Peter appeared on the charts. The Archipelago soon passed under French sovereignty when, on June 5, 1536, Jacques Cartier landed with two ships, the Grande Hermine and the Émerillon, on his return from his second voyage to Canada. He stayed there for six days and observed the presence of several ships "of France and Brittany". He took advantage of his stay to take possession of it officially in the name of Francis I, King of France.

It was not Jacques Cartier who had thus named Saint-Pierre Island, for he had merely taken over a name already known on maps of 1530. In the following years, Basque and Saint-Malo fishermen used the denominations Isle of sainct Pierre and Isle of Miquetõ or Miclon or Miquelu (later: Miquelon) to designate the Archipelago.

But it was not until 1604 that the town of Saint-Pierre and the first French fishing establishment were founded by fishermen from Brittany, Normandy and Basque, so they would use the town and the harbor as a base camp for fishing seasonal. Beginning in 1650, the Archipelago of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon was part of the French colony of Piacenza. The archipelago passed under the direct jurisdiction of the governor who had resided at Plaisance since 1662. This colony was then a separate entity from Canada, Acadia and Louisiana in New France.

From 1690 to 1814, the Archipelago of St. Pierre and Miquelon was taken and retaken nine times alternately by the English and the French, and four times it was completely devastated and all the inhabitants deported. A veritable crusade of deportees, houses and land burned during a century. In 1697, the Treaty of Ryswick confirmed the power of France in America. The French, therefore, retained Acadia and Piacenza, while the English found their former establishments in Newfoundland.

The island of Newfoundland thus remained under a double administration: English to the north with St John's, French to the south with Piacenza. In 1711 the British navy attacked Piacenza; Although it had 15 ships, 900 guns and 4,000 men, it did not succeed in taking the city. If the Frenchmen of Placentia had won almost all the battles on the island, France had lost the war in Europe. Then, by the treaty of Utrecht of 1713, France lost the island of Newfoundland (including the town and the fort of Placentia), the fisheries of Labrador and the archipelago of St. Pierre and Miquelon became St Peter's Island.

Part of the population of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon was then deported to Île Royale, which remained French with Île Saint-Jean. Among the Saint-Pierrais and Miquelonnais who lived the exodus of 1713, some were deported to New England or Great Britain. Saint-Pierre became a small Newfoundland fishing port. By the Treaty of Paris of 1763, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Duke of Choiseul, succeeded in obtaining the restitution of the archipelago of St. Pierre and Miquelon.

On May 14, 1793, the English led by Admiral King attacked the Archipelago again. The French were forced to capitulate, and the population of 1,200 inhabitants, including all the Acadians, was once again deported, first to Nova Scotia (Halifax), to the Channel Islands and to England, and then partially repatriated to France.

In 1904, France finally lost its right to use the shores of the west coast of Newfoundland, the French Shore, by virtue of a "cordial entente", which allowed France to retain only the right to fish In Newfoundland waters, between Cape St John and Cape Ray. In other words, French fishermen retained the right to fish concurrently between the same limits, but were no longer allowed to dock or use the coast.

The Archipelago became an Overseas Territory in 1946, then became an overseas department in 1976. Designed as a symbolic "promotion" and as an assertion to Canada, this new status was not welcomed In the archipelago, in particular because the introduction of a sort of "European customs cordon" disrupted the local economy.

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Page last modified: 22-07-2017 18:08:15 ZULU