6. SAINT-PIERRE AND MIQUELON
Technically two islands, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are a little slice of France off the Canadian coast. Located over 2300 miles from France, but only 16 miles from Newfoundland, since 1763, these islands — mostly low, rocky outcroppings covered in a thin layer of peat — have remained the last remnant of France’s former colonial empire in Canada. During the American Revolution, Great Britain invaded and decimated the islands, sending its inhabitants back to France. The population returned but, during the French Revolutionary Wars, the British tried once more to expel the French. Control of the islands passed back and forth until they were resettled by the French, or more specifically a mixture of Basque, Breton, and Norman fisherman, in 1816. Though Basque has not been spoken in the islands since the 1950s, there still exists a strong cultural presence.
As fishing declined in the twentieth century, the island struggled economically until the Prohibition era in the United States, when the islands served as a base for alcohol smugglers. The island fell into a deep depression after the lifting of Prohibition and remained a sleepy backwater. After the Fall of France in 1940, Charles de Gaulle gave the order to seize the island for the Free French which infuriated Franklin Roosevelt and carved a lasting rift between the two men. Today, the economy is mostly based on a mixture of tourism and aquaculture, with some income derived from issuing stamps.
Read more about Saint-Pierre and Miquelon at Travel and Leisure.