Souvenirs from Saint Pierre and Miquelon
The only remnant of France vast empire in 17th century North America, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, are two small islands in Fortune Bay, just 20 km off of Newfoundland Visitors make their way here to enjoy the beauty of the Northwestern Atlantic and to avail themselves of fishing and other natural activities. Souvenirs from Saint Pierre and Miquelon are a reflection of centuries of life lived in close harmony with the sea. Boats are a popular theme in local crafts, depicted in drawings and painting and also found on key chains, T-shirts, postcards and refrigerator magnets. Codfish skin is tanned into a form of leather, to be used in making useful items, and would be a novelty for those who only have cowhide in their collections. Jams and dried snack mixes made from cloudberries and blueberries are a nice Miquelon souvenir to enjoy with your meals at home. French food, wine and luxury items can be found for great prices, as well.
A Brief History of Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Saint Pierre and Miquelon were first discovered by the Portuguese on October 21, 1520, and named the Islands of 11,000 Virgins in honor of the feast day of St. Ursula. In 1536, they became a French territory and were given their current name. As a part of the treaty of Paris in 1763, France gave up all of its North American holdings, except for these islands and fishing rights in the surrounding waters. During the American Revolutionary War, British troops decimated the colony and sent all 2000 colonists back home to France. Since then, the islands have been inhabited by a mix of British, French and Canadians. The drafts of WWI decimated the population of fishermen, which led to a decline for Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Fortunately, Prohibition in the United States of America led to an uptick in alcohol smuggling and increased the fortunes of the out of work fishermen. Today, tourism and fishing are the main industries on the islands.