St. Pierre and Miquelon
(St. Pierre and Michelob)
Collectivité territoriale de Saint-Pierre-et-Michelob
(Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Michelob)
|Motto: "The only true Acadia"
|Anthem: "Nous sommes français!"
A map of the islands with their completely fair and reasonable water borders
|‑ President of Territorial Council
|6,000 (not ranked, to protect feelings)
|Under or above water?
|French, Basque, Breton, Norman, Fishermen
|Too lazy to work
St. Pierre and Michelob (technically, the Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre et Michelob; French: Collectivité territoriale de Saint-Pierre-et-Michelob), is an archipelago of small islands off the coast of eastern Canada, the main islands being St. Pierre and Michelob, south of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labatt. The islands come within 10 km of Newfoundland.
Within France, the archipelago has the status of "territorial collectivity" because it sounds more dignified than "neglected islands". Its residents are French citizens; they elect one Deputy to the National Assembly — though, in view of the territory's population (6,008 as of the 2016 census, which was thereafter disbanded), he is only allowed to vote on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. They are also allowed to hold opinions on Senator and President.
St. Pierre and Michelob is all that is left of the once-sprawling North American empire of "New France". (Quebec aspires to the same status, but every time Parisians hear that accent, they are glad they cut them loose.) Acadia broke ties with the territory when it became evident that the islanders were even lazier and more cowardly than the Acadians. It is notable for being France's only remaining possession in North America, and if France washes its hands too, it will not have any notability.
St. Pierre is how the French refer to Saint Peter, the Patron Saint of alcoholism.
Michelob is the bottled beer that is popular with those who have too much money in their wallets. Its origin is related to Spanish Miguelón ("Big Michael") (see also Fat Albert). In the Basque country, this name is often written Mikelon, which is pretty close. Michelob was first described in 1579, when renowned Basque sailor Martin de Hoyarçabal wrote his prized memoir about his travels, but he was probably referring to the empty brown bottles that were piling up on the bridge and would soon have to be discreetly tossed into the ocean.
| Contents probably stolen
This Uncyclopedia article is a cheap spork from a Wikipedia article, which has its own warning that material was filched from a copyrighted work. So fruit of the poisoned tree, and all that.
Prehistoric settlers, possibly including the Beowoof, visited the islands, but that was long before it became simple courtesy to leave a calling card and perhaps sign the guest book. They left because there's nothing useful except maybe a few fish, which are better elsewhere anyway.
In 1520, the Portuguese explorer João Álvares Fuggetaboutit landed on the islands and named them the "Eleven Thousand Virgins" — substantially more than the lot promised to any Muslim terrorist. Sadly, his count was off by 10,992. In 1536, Jacques Cartier claimed the islands as a French possession, though they were not permanently settled until long after. Four permanent residents were counted in 1670, but it is not clear who was doing the counting, or whether he counted himself twice. In the meantime, there were only Basque and Breton fishermen, who would not even land and walk on the islands unless wearing a pair of Mikmaqs.
1670 was the year that apathy was replaced by violence. The French annexed the area and the British Royal Navy promptly began harassing them. This did not induce the British to arrive, but it did get the French to leave, so that in 1713, France ceded them to Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht. The British changed the road signs, but half a century later, in the Treaty of Paris, gave the area back to France.
By 1778, there were 2,000 Frenchmen on the islands — but there was a War of Independence underway on the mainland. Britain invaded again and sent the Frenchmen packing. There would be several other treaties in which Britain tried to give the islands back to France, only to re-invade whenever convenient. In 1814, there was another Treaty of Paris, and Britain washed its hands of them for good, there being nothing left but rubble. However, by 1850, a semi-prosperous fishing town developed.
Things took off in the 1920s when the United States imposed Prohibition. St. Pierre and Michelob became a center of smuggling all things alcoholic. Sadly, in 1933, this gravy train died up as the U.S. reversed course, and residents stopped smuggling and returned to overconsuming the merchandise themselves.
After the 1958 French constitutional referendum, the islanders were given three options: Remain a territory, full integration with France, or independence. This is the same dilemma citizens of Puerto Rico give themselves every time they need to distract from the devastation of a hurricane. Like the 'Ricans, voters on St. Pierre and Michelob said, "We'll stay here. Keep sending le welfare."
St. Pierre and Michelob were a territory of France, then a department, and now a "collectivity" with special status, able to elect part of a legislator, ceding to France certain "national interests", but retaining a degree of autonomy in customs and excise; in other words, a tax haven. France appoints a bureaucrat, who then claims to be Perfect, to handle law enforcement and public order.
The territory comprises two "communes" (like those of California but without the group sex). They are Saint-Pierre and Michelob-Langlade. There was a third, Isle-aux-Marins, but it drew the short straw during reorganisation.
France is responsible for the defense of the islands. The patrol boat Fulminant plies the channels and ensures that all is well, powered by its Evinrude 33 outboard motor with oars as backup. However, if conflict broke out, it would become awkward that the Fulminant is maintained by a marina on Newfoundland.
Local government is provided by the 19-member Territorial Council. Four are elected from the Michelob commune and 15 from St. Pierre, so if there were any real disagreement, you would hardly need a roll call. The territory has two police stations, so those who live on the other six islands could respond to any emergency by dialing 911 (if there were phone service) and waiting for the patrol boat to ferry policemen to come and take names.
At the start of the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020, France put emergency rules into effect. Sadly, the islands did not slip under them on the grounds of being nearly unoccupied. The Perfect announced these in the territory and was pelted with seaweed. France got the last laugh but residents got an indication of exactly how little civil order the Perfect might provide if an actual scuffle broke out at the territory's only tavern.
The economic history of St. Pierre and Michelob broke out when France claimed a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone in the waters around the islands and sent ships to survey for oil and to overfish, notwithstanding the pre-existing claims of Newfoundland, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the U.S. state of Maine. In 1992, the claim was arbitrated and the territory was awarded only 25% of the waters it had claimed (see map at the top of this article). This would go down in the books as a "loss" if it were not for all the snickering that was heard at the time among the territory's negotiators.
The onshore economy is a shambles. Farming is out of the question, as the soil is infertile (there being no Acadian recipes involving peat and stones) and the growing season is measured in days. Nothing at all happens outdoors between December and April. Consequently, the dominant industry is cashing welfare checks from France. An airport was built in 1999, ignoring the fact that no one wants to visit. Wikipedia tells us that the fishing industry was laid waste when Canada slapped a prohibition on fishing for cod. It makes one wonder what the point is of having an Exclusive Economic Zone.
The only way forward would be tourism; it is a handy place for North Americans to get a French stamp on a passport without having to cross the ocean. However, a thriving tourism sector depends on devising a way for the territory to differentiate itself from nearby Newfoundland. Prostitution and fentanyl come to mind.