on an archipelago about 15 miles (25 km) off the southern coast
of the island of Newfoundland, Canada, Saint-Pierre and
Miquelon represent the sole remaining vestige of France's
once vast North American possessions.
first explorer to visit the archipelago was a Portuguese, José
Alvarez Faguendez, who landed here in 1520. However, it was the
French who first established a permanent fishing settlement in
1604. The islands became a French overseas territory in 1946 and
in May 1985 the islands were given a new status with a new name,
pride is extremely strong here. The inhabitants speak French and
adhere to French customs and traditions. The majority of the population
(6,500) is Roman Catholic and the only proper national flag accepted
is that of France.
The total area of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is 93 square miles
(242 square km), of which 83 square miles (215 square km) belong
to the Miquelons (Miquelon and Langlade, sometimes known as Great
and Little Miquelon, connected by the slim, sandy Isthmus of Langlade).
However, the 10 square miles (26 square km) of Saint-Pierre has
almost 90 percent of the total population and is the administrative
and commercial center.