Saint Pierre and Miquelon

Introduction

The Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon (French: Collectivité territoriale de Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon) is a group of small islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, the main ones being Saint Pierre and Miquelon, south of Newfoundland, Canada. The islands are as close as 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Newfoundland.

Saint Pierre and Miquelon are part of France and the European Union, but due to special immigration procedures, EU nationals who are not French citizens are not allowed to exercise free movement and business establishment in the archipelago.

The archipelago is the only remnant of the former colonial empire of New France that remains under French control.

History

The early settlement of St. Pierre and Miquelon, which were prized by Europeans for their rich fishing grounds, was characterized by periods of conflict between the French and English.

There is evidence of prehistoric inhabitation on the islands (most likely Beothuk). The European settlements on the islands are some of the oldest in America (with the Spanish and Portuguese settlements), dating from at least the early 16th century. At first the Basque fishermen only visited the islands seasonally during the fishing season, and by the mid 17th century there were permanent French residents on the islands.

At the end of the 17th and into the early 18th century, British attacks on the islands caused the French settlers to abandon the islands, and the British took possession for 50 years (from 1713 to 1763). The French took the islands back in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris (which ceded all of New France to Britain except for Saint Pierre and Miquelon) and settlers returned to live peacefully for 15 years.

French support of the American Revolution led to a British attack on the islands, and the deportation of the French settlers. Possession of Miquelon and St. Pierre passed back and forth between France and Great Britain for the next 38 years, as the islands suffered attacks by both countries, voluntary or forced removal of the island's residents, and upheaval associated with the French Revolution.

France finally took the islands back after Napoleon's second abdication in 1815, and there followed 70 years of prosperity for the French fishing industry and residents on Miquelon and St. Pierre. However, political and economic changes led to a slow decline of the fishing industry after the late 19th century.

A 13-year economic boom took place on the islands beginning with the period of Prohibition in the United States, when Miquelon and St. Pierre were prominent bases for alcohol smuggling. This boom ended with the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, and the economy sank into depression.

During the Second World War, the governor, Gilbert de Bournat, was loyal to the Vichy regime; he had to negotiate financial arrangements with U.S. authorities to obtain loans guaranteed by the French treasury. At the same time, Canada was considering an invasion of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. Several pretexts were put forward, notably radio broadcasts of Vichy propaganda. It was alleged that the radio was helping German U-Boats on the Grand Banks, though this was never proven. On the advice of his Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, Governor General Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone, never authorised the implementation of the plans.

Under orders from de Gaulle, Admiral Émile Muselier organised the liberation of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, without the consent and knowledge of the Canadian and U.S. authorities. On 24 December 1941, a Free French flotilla led by the submarine cruiser Surcouf took control of the islands without resistance. De Gaulle had a referendum organised, which was favourable to him, and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon thus became one of the first French territories to join Free France. The affair led to a lasting distrust between De Gaulle and Roosevelt.

Geography Location: Northern North America, islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Newfoundland (Canada)
Geographic coordinates: 46 50 N, 56 20 W
Map references: North America
Area: total: 242 sq km
land: 242 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes eight small islands in the Saint Pierre and the Miquelon groups
Area - comparative: 1.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 120 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: cold and wet, with much mist and fog; spring and autumn are windy
Terrain: mostly barren rock
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Morne de la Grande Montagne 240 m
Natural resources: fish, deepwater ports
Land use: arable land: 12.5%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 87.5% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: persistent fog throughout the year can be a maritime hazard
Environment - current issues: recent test drilling for oil in waters around Saint Pierre and Miquelon may bring future development that would impact the environment
Geography - note: vegetation scanty
Politics

The politics of Saint Pierre and Miquelon take place within a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic French overseas collectivity, whereby the President of the Territorial Council is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government.

Saint Pierre and Miquelon also sends one deputy to the French National Assembly and one senator to the French Senate.

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) (22.2 km) territorial sea surrounding the islands and was given an additional 12 NM (22.2 km) contiguous zone as well as a 10.5 NM (19.4 km) wide corridor stretching 200 NM (370 km) south. The total area in the award was 18% of what France had requested.

The boundary dispute had been a flash point for Franco-Canadian relations. New claims made under UNCLOS by France over the continental shelf might cause new tensions between France and Canada. At various times, residents and politicians in Saint Pierre and Miquelon have proposed that the islands pursue secession from France to become part of Canada, so that the islands could participate in Canada's much larger maritime zone rather than France's limited "keyhole" zone, although as of 2008 such proposals have never come to a vote or referendum.

People Population: 7,044 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 22.4% (male 806/female 772)
15-64 years: 66.3% (male 2,370/female 2,301)
65 years and over: 11.3% (male 366/female 429) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 34.9 years
male: 34.3 years
female: 35.3 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.114% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 12.92 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.81 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -4.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 7.04 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.91 years
male: 76.55 years
female: 81.4 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.98 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)
adjective: French
Ethnic groups: Basques and Bretons (French fishermen)
Religions: Roman Catholic 99%, other 1%
Languages: French (official)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (1982 est.)
Education expenditures: NA
Government Country name: conventional long form: Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon
conventional short form: Saint Pierre and Miquelon
local long form: Departement de Saint-Pierre et Miquelon
local short form: Saint-Pierre et Miquelon
Dependency status: self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France
Government type: NA
Capital: name: Saint-Pierre
geographic coordinates: 46 46 N, 56 11 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
Administrative divisions: none (territorial overseas collectivity of France); note - there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are two communes - Saint Pierre, Miquelon at the second order
Independence: none (territorial collectivity of France; has been under French control since 1763)
National holiday: Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
Constitution: 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system: the laws of France, where applicable, apply
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007); represented by Prefect Jean-Pierre BERCOT (since 28 July 2008)
head of government: President of the Territorial Council Stephane ARTANO (since 21 February 2007)
cabinet: NA
elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 6 May 2007 (next to be held in 2012); prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the Territorial Council is elected by the members of the council
Legislative branch: unicameral Territorial Council or Conseil Territorial (19 seats, 15 from Saint Pierre and four from Miquelon; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
elections: elections last held 19 and 26 in March 2006 (next to be held in March 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - AD 16, Cap sur l'Avenir 2, SPM 2000/AM 1
note: Saint Pierre and Miquelon elect one seat to the French Senate; elections last held 26 September 2004 (next to be held in September 2013); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 1; Saint Pierre and Miquelon also elects one seat to the French National Assembly; elections last held, first round - 10 June 2007, second round - 17 June 2007 (next to be held in 2012); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Left Radical Party 1
Judicial branch: Superior Tribunal of Appeals or Tribunal Superieur d'Appel
Political parties and leaders: Archipelago Tomorrow or AD affiliated with UDF/RPR list; Cap sur l'Avenir affiliated with PRG; Left Radical Party or PRG; Rassemblement pour la Republique or RPR (now UMP); Saint Pierre and Miquelon 2000/Avenir Miquelon or SPM 2000/AM; Socialist Party or PS; Union pour la Democratie Francaise or UDF
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: UPU, WFTU
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (territorial overseas collectivity of France)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (territorial overseas collectivity of France)
Flag description: a yellow sailing ship facing the hoist side rides on a dark blue background with yellow wavy lines under the ship; on the hoist side, a vertical band is divided into three parts: the top part (called ikkurina) is red with a green diagonal cross extending to the corners overlaid by a white cross dividing the rectangle into four sections; the middle part has a white background with an ermine pattern; the third part has a red background with two stylized yellow lions outlined in black, one above the other; these three heraldic arms represent settlement by colonists from the Basque Country (top), Brittany, and Normandy; the flag of France is used for official occasions
Culture

French is the official language of the islands. The local accent and many of the words used are similar to the Norman language.

Every year in the summer there is a Basque Festival, with demonstrations of harrijasotzaile (stone heaving), haitzkolari (lumberjack skills), and paleta (a game somewhat like Jaï-Alaï).

Hockey is very popular in Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Several players from the islands have played on French teams and even participated on the French national hockey team in the Olympics.

Street names are not commonly used on the islands. Directions and locations are commonly given using nicknames and the names of nearby residents.

The only time the guillotine was ever used in North America was in Saint-Pierre in the late 19th century. Joseph Néel was convicted of killing Mr. Coupard on Île aux chiens on December 30, 1888, and executed by guillotine on August 24, 1889. The guillotine had to be shipped from Martinique and it did not arrive in working order. It was very difficult to get anyone to perform the execution; finally a recent immigrant was coaxed into doing the job. This event was the inspiration for the film The Widow of Saint-Pierre (La Veuve de Saint-Pierre) released in 2000. The guillotine is now in a museum in Saint-Pierre.

Economy Economy - overview: The inhabitants have traditionally earned their livelihood by fishing and by servicing fishing fleets operating off the coast of Newfoundland. The economy has been declining, however, because of disputes with Canada over fishing quotas and a steady decline in the number of ships stopping at Saint Pierre. In 1992, an arbitration panel awarded the islands an exclusive economic zone of 12,348 sq km to settle a longstanding territorial dispute with Canada, although it represents only 25% of what France had sought. France heavily subsidizes the islands to the great betterment of living standards. The government hopes an expansion of tourism will boost economic prospects. Fish farming, crab fishing, and agriculture are being developed to diversify the local economy. Recent test drilling for oil may pave the way for development of the energy sector.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $48.3 million
note: supplemented by annual payments from France of about $60 million (2003 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $NA
GDP - real growth rate: NA%
GDP - per capita (PPP): $7,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Labor force: 3,450 (2005)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 18%
industry: 41%
services: 41% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate: 10.3% (1999)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $70 million
expenditures: $60 million (1996 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.1% (2005)
Agriculture - products: vegetables; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
Industries: fish processing and supply base for fishing fleets; tourism
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity - production: 50 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption: 46.5 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 550 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 541.6 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports: $5.5 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities: fish and fish products, soybeans, animal feed, mollusks and crustaceans, fox and mink pelts
Exports - partners: Spain 33.6%, Belgium 21.8%, India 18.3%, France 9.4%, US 7.5% (2006)
Imports: $68.2 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities: meat, clothing, fuel, electrical equipment, machinery, building materials
Imports - partners: France 51.3%, Canada 31.8%, Belgium 4.1% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: approximately $60 million in annual grants from France
Debt - external: $NA
Currency (code): euro (EUR)
Currency code: EUR
Exchange rates: euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 4,800 (2002)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate
domestic: NA
international: country code - 508; radiotelephone communication with most countries in the world; satellite earth station - 1 in French domestic satellite system
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 4,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 0 (2 repeaters rebroadcast programs from France, Canada, and the US) (1997)
Televisions: 4,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .pm
Internet hosts: 0 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: NA
Transportation Airports: 2 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways: total: 117 km
paved: 80 km
unpaved: 37 km (2000)
Ports and terminals: Saint-Pierre
Military Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 61
female: 58 (2008 est.)
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of France
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: none