Great Canadian Parks / Québec

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The Parks / Québec / Mingan Archipelago National Park



 

According to archaeological evidence, the Montagnais Innu have been in the Mingan region for 2000 years. At one time they gathered molluscs, fished salmon and hunted seal. The Basque whale hunters of the 15th and 16th centuries, around the Ile Nue de Mingan left behind the remains of their stone ovens used to melt whale fat. The descendants of the Acadians who hunted seals for their skin and oil until the 1880's when it was no longer profitable populate Havre Ste.-Pierre. The other villagers are primarily descendants of the Gaspesian fishers whose culture differed widely from both Acadian farmer/hunters and the Montagnais who were involved in trading furs first with the French, then the British when posts were set up by merchant traders. The HudsonŽs Bay Company entirely controlled the islands during this period, forbidding settlement on the north shore. The area was, however, rich in marine resources too and the development of major fisheries that exported cured cod brought settlement and employment. In the 1920Žs fox farms experienced some success with the largest farm owned by the HudsonŽs Bay Company, but with many enterprising villagers and farmers profiting as well.

 

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