Sport in Saint Pierre and Miquelon - History - Modern History

Modern History

During the early 1910s, the colony suffered severely as a result of unprofitable fisheries, and large numbers of its people emigrated to Nova Scotia and Quebec. The draft imposed on all male inhabitants of conscript age after the beginning of World War I crippled the fisheries, which could not be processed by the older people and the women and children. About 400 men from the colony served in the French military during World War I, 25% of whom died. The increase in the adoption of steam trawlers in the fisheries also contributed to the reduction in employment opportunities.

Smuggling had always been an important economic activity in the islands, but it became especially prominent in the 1920s with the institution of prohibition in the United States. In 1931, the archipelago was reported to have imported 1,815,271 U.S. gallons (1,511,529 imperial gallons; 6,871,550 litres) of whisky from Canada in 12 months, most of it to be smuggled into the United States. The end of prohibition in 1933 plunged the islands into economic depression.

After the fall of France during World War II, most of the war veterans and sailors in the colony supported the Free French of General Charles de Gaulle. The administrator of the colony, Gilbert de Bournat, sided with the Vichy regime. De Gaulle decided to seize the archipelago, over the opposition of the United States. The general covertly gave Admiral Émile Muselier the order to proceed, resulting in the successful Free French coup de main on Christmas Day 1941. The United States Department of State and Cordell Hull in particular were infuriated by the result. The incident ultimately served to focus the American public opinion on the ambivalence of the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in its dealings with Vichy, and also led to a lasting distrust between De Gaulle and Roosevelt.

In a quick plebiscite the next day, the population endorsed the takeover, and the resounding vote in favour of Free France led Muselier to appoint Lieutenant Alain Savary as governor. After the approval of the 1958 French constitutional referendum, the islands were given the options of becoming fully integrated with France, becoming self-governing states within the French Community or preserving the status of overseas territory; they decided to remain a territory.

Read more about this topic:  Sport In Saint Pierre And Miquelon, History

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