St Pierre and Miquelon profile

Published

The sole remnant of France's once-extensive possessions in North America, the Atlantic islands of St Pierre and Miquelon lie off the Canadian island of Newfoundland.

Fish processing is the main economic activity although tourism is increasingly important and the territory capitalises on its image as "France in North America". It depends on France for subsidies and Canada for goods and transport links.

After periods of French and British rule, the territory was restored to France in 1816, becoming a French "territorial collectivity" in 1985.

The prohibition era of the 1920s made the territory a centre for shipping whisky, wine and rum to the US but its end in 1933 plunged the islands into economic depression.

The first Europeans were attracted by fish stocks around the islands, with a French fishing post being established in 1604. The descendants of the first settlers - including Bretons, Normans and Basques - make up much of the present population.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe territory is thinly populated

FACTS

LEADERS

Head of state: French President

A prefect appointed by France represents the Paris government in the territory. An elected General Council oversees local affairs. The territory sends representatives to the French National Assembly and to the Senate.

MEDIA

Radio & television

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionA replica of the Hermione, the 18th century ship that brought French General Lafayette to America, lies at anchor during a visit to the port of Saint-Pierre

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