Magdalen Islands

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The Magdalen Islands (French, Îles de la Madeleine) form a small archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence with a land area of 205.53 square kilometers (79.36 sq mi). Though closer to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, the islands form part of the Canadian province of Quebec.

The islands form the territory equivalent to a regional county municipality (TE) and census division (CD) of Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Its geographical code is 01.

The islands also form the urban agglomeration of Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, divided into two municipalities. These are Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine (2006 census pop. 12,560), the central municipality, and Grosse-Île (pop. 531). The current mayors are Joël Arseneault and Christopher Clark.

Contents

Geography

There are nine major islands: Amherst (Havre Aubert), Brion, Grand Entry (Grande Entrée), Grindstone (Cap aux Meules), Grosse Île, House Harbour (Havre aux Maisons), Île aux Loups, Entry (Île d'Entrée) and Bird Rock (Rocher aux Oiseaux). There are numerous islets as well.

History

Jacques Cartier was the first European to visit the islands, in 1534. However, Mi'kmaq Indians had been visiting the islands for hundreds of years as part of a seasonal subsistence round, probably to harvest the abundant walrus population. A number of archaeological sites have been excavated on the archipelago.

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