Updated: Sep 18, 2022
Saint Pierre and Miquelon, officially the Territorial Collectivity of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a French overseas collectivity in the Western Hemisphere and the Northern Hemisphere.
It consists of an island archipelago, off the coast of Newfoundland, near North America. The collectivity shares a maritime boundary with Canada.
Reason for naming the country
It has been claimed that the name Miquelon is a Basque form of Michael; Mikel and Mikels are usually named Mikelon in the Basque Country. Therefore, Mikelon it may have been written in the French way with a q instead of a k.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon flags have three equal squares atop one another placed along the hoist. To the right, a large yellow image of a 16th-century sailing vessel riding the waves is superimposed on a field of light blue. From top to bottom, the squares recall the islands’ Basque, Breton, and Norman cultures.
The top square is the Basque flag, which consists of a white cross on top of a diagonal green cross overlaid on a red background.
The middle square is a field of white decorated with black arrowheads similar to the upper hoist canton of the Brittany flag. Featuring two gold lions on a red background, the bottom square is the flag of Normandy. These squares represent the cultural heritage of the three main ancestral groups on the islands. The golden ship is a depiction of the Grande Hermine, the vessel that brought French explorer Jacques Cartier to the New World in 1536. The blue field and white waves represent water, which symbolizes the maritime history of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
As a compromise to a complaint lodged by a local resident in 2005, a yellow star may also be added to the current design in the future to recognize Saint Pierre and Miquelon’s Acadian culture.
The inhabitants speak French; their customs and traditions are similar to the ones found in metropolitan France. The French spoken on the archipelago is closer to Metropolitan French than to Canadian French but maintains a number of unique features. Basque, formerly spoken in private settings by people of Basque ancestry, had disappeared from the islands by the late 1950s.