Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a French archipelago south of the Canadian island of New foundland. It is the only part of New France that remains under French control. Sparsely populated Miquelon-Langlade island contains the Grand Barachois lagoon, home to seabirds and seals. The islands are situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near the entrance of Fortune Bay. Its capital is Saint-Pierre. The commune of Saint-Pierre is made up of the island of Saint-Pierre proper and several nearby smaller islands, such as L’Île-aux-Marins. In spite of being located at a similar latitude to the Bay of Biscay, the archipelago is characterized by a cold borderline humid continental/subarctic climate, under the influence of polar air masses and the cold Labrador Current. The inhabitants speak French; their customs and traditions are similar to the ones found in metropolitan France. The archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a paradise for photographers looking for beautiful landscapes. Each island offers hiking trails and panoramic viewpoints, each more photogenic than the next.
The first explorer to visit the archipelago was a Portuguese, José Alvarez Faguendez, who landed there in 1520. One of early settlement was of the Europeans who took advantage of the rich fishing grounds near Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. Europeans began to regularly visit from the early 16th century and their settlements are some of the oldest in the Americas, by the mid-17th century there were permanent French residents on the islands. From 1713, British attacks led to the French settlers abandoning the islands, and the British took possession. Possession of Saint Pierre and Miquelon 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. until restored permanently to France in 1816 under the Treaty of Paris. In May 1985 the islands were given a new status with a new name, collectivité, because the former departmental arrangement conflicted with the tariff structure of the European Community.
French is the official language of the islands, while its customs and traditions are also French. Every summer there is a Basque Festival, which has demonstrations of harrijasotzaile (stone heaving), aizkolari (lumberjack skills), and Basque pelota. The local cuisine is mostly based on seafood such as lobster, snow crab, mussels, and especially cod. Each commune in France generally holds a town festival during the year. In some regions, these incorporate religious and secular symbolisms. There are dances, parades, sports competitions, and other activities.
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