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Saint Pierre and Miquelon

The islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon between the island of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia belong to France. Despite a series of territorial waters fishing disputes, these small islands have fit nicely into the maritime culture. President Charles de Gaulle of France actually visited these islands in 1967.


The first humans present on Saint-Pierre and Miquelon were reputedly Basque, Norman, and Breton peoples who made their living by fishing. In 1520 Portuguese explorer Jose Alvarez Faguendez landed in the area, giving the islands an initial name of Eleven Thousand Virgins (after Saint Ursula). France, which set up a fishing village in the islands in the early 1600s, fought Britain for control of the area until 1814. At that point France won permanent possession. In 1946 the islands were designated a French overseas territory and in 1956 were allowed to institute self-government. Their status was upgraded to overseas department in 1976 and to collectivity in 1985.


  • Location: Northern North America, islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Newfoundland (Canada)
  • Geographic coordinates: 46 50 N, 56 20 W St. Pierre et Miquelon in Relation to Newfoundland
  • 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:
    • exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    • territorial sea: 12 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: 13%
    • forests and woodland: 4%
    • other: 83% (1993 est.)
  • Natural hazards: persistent fog throughout the year can be a maritime hazard
  • Geography note: vegetation scanty


  • Population: 6966 (July 1999 est.)
  • Population growth rate: 0.75% (1999 est.)
  • Birth rate: 12.27 births/1000 population (1999 est.)
  • Death rate: 5.41 deaths/1000 population (1999 est.)
  • Net migration rate: 0.59 migrant(s)/1000 population (1999 est.)
  • Infant mortality rate: 8.12 deaths/1000 live births (1999 est.)
  • Life expectancy at birth:
    • total population: 77.13 years
    • male: 75.58 years
    • female: 79 years (1999 est.)
  • Total fertility rate: 1.58 children born/woman (1999 est.)
  • Nationality:
    • noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)
    • adjective: French
  • Ethnic groups: Basques and Bretons (French fishermen)
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 99%
  • Languages: French
  • Literacy:
    • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    • total population: 99%
    • male: 99%
    • female: 99% (1982 est.)
St. Pierre et Miquelon


  • Official Name: Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Common Name: Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Dependency status: self-governing territorial collectivity of France
  • Capital: Saint-Pierre
  • Administrative divisions: none (territorial collectivity of France)
  • Independence: none (territorial collectivity of France; has been under French control since 1763)
  • National holiday: National Day, Taking of the Bastille, 14 July (1789)
  • Constitution: September 28, 1958 (French Constitution)
  • Legal system: French law with special adaptations for local conditions, such as housing and taxation
  • Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
  • Executive branch:
    • chief of state: President Jacques Chirac of France (since May 17, 1995), represented by Prefect Remi Thuau
    • head of government: President of the General Council Bernard Le Soavec
    • elections: French president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the General Council is elected by the members of the council
  • Legislative branch:
    • unicameral General Council or Conseil General (19 seats 15 from Saint Pierre and 4 from Miquelon; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
    • elections: elections last held 20 March 1994 (next to be held in April 2000) election results: seats by party RPR 15, other 4
    • note: Saint Pierre and Miquelon elect 1 seat to the French Senate; elections last held September 1995 (next to be held September 2004); seats by party RPR 1; Saint Pierre and Miquelon also elects 1 seat to the French National Assembly; elections last held May 25 - June 1 1997 (next to be held 2002); results: seats by party UDF 1
  • Judicial branch: Superior Tribunal of Appeals or Tribunal Superieur d'Appel
  • Political parties:
    • Socialist Party or PS;
    • Rassemblement pour la Republique or RPR;
    • Union pour la Democratie Francaise or UDF
  • International organization participation: FZ, WFTU
    Flag of St. Pierre and Miquelon
  • Flag description: a yellow sailing ship rides on a dark blue background with a black wave line under the ship; on the hoist side, a vertical band is divided into three parts: the top part is red with a green diagonal cross extending to the corners overlaid by a white cross dividing the square 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 on top of the other; the flag of France is used for official occasions


  • 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 the number of ships stopping at Saint Pierre has dropped steadily over the years. 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. The islands are heavily subsidized by France. Imports come primarily from Canada and France.
  • GDP: purchasing power parity $74 million (1996 est.)
  • GDP per capita: purchasing power parity $11,000 (1996 est.)
  • Labour force: 3,000 (1996)
  • Unemployment rate: 9.8% (1997)
  • Budget:
    • revenues: $70 million
    • expenditures: $60 million, including capital expenditures of $24 million (1996 est.)
  • Industries: fish processing and supply base for fishing fleets; tourism
  • Electricity production: 39 million kWh (1996)
  • Electricity production by source: fossil fuel: 100% (1996)
  • Electricity consumption: 39 million kWh (1996)
  • Electricity exports: 0 kWh (1996)
  • Electricity imports: 0 kWh (1996)
  • Agriculture products: vegetables; cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
  • Exports: $1.2 million (f.o.b., 1996)
  • Exports commodities: fish and fish products, fox and mink pelts
  • Exports partners: US 58%, France 17%, UK 11%, Canada, Portugal (1990)
  • Imports: $60.5 million (c.i.f., 1996)
  • Imports commodities: meat, clothing, fuel, electrical equipment, machinery, building materials
  • Imports partners: Canada, France, US, Netherlands, UK
  • Currency: 1 French franc (F) = 100 centimes
  • Exchange rates: French francs (F) per US$1: 5.65 (January 1999), 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997), 5.1155 (1996), 4.9915 (1995), 5.5520 (1994)
  • Fiscal year: calendar year
St. Pierre
St. Pierre serves as the
Captial city and is the only port


  • Telephones: 3650 (1994 est.)
  • Telephone system: radiotelephone communication with most countries in the world; 1 earth station in French domestic satellite system
  • Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 3, shortwave 0
  • Radios: 3000 (1992 est.)
  • Television broadcast stations: 0 (there are, however, two repeaters which rebroadcast programs from France, Canada, and the US) (1997)
  • Televisions: 2000 (1992 est.)


  • Railways: 0 km
  • Highways:
    • total: 114 km
    • paved: 69 km
    • unpaved: 45 km (1994 est.)
  • Ports and harbours: Saint Pierre
  • Airports: 2 (1998 est.)


  • Defence is the responsibility of France
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook.

See also
Provinces and Territories
Foreign Lands in Canada
Canadian Lands Abroad

External Links
Encyclopédie des îles Saint-Pierre & Miquelon

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt