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REF NO.: 1

SUBJECT: Symposium to explore history of the French shore
DATE: Sept. 1, 2004

A symposium in September will examine the end of a long-standing dispute over French fishing rights in Newfoundland. The conference, titled Newfoundland and the Entente Cordiale, takes place in St. John’sand Corner BrookSept. 16-20, and features scholars from Europeand North America.

Dr. James Hiller, from MemorialUniversity’s Department of History, explained that the entente consisted of a series of agreements in 1904 dealing with colonial issues, the most of important of these dealing with North Africa. However, an essential part of the package resolved the outstanding question of the NewfoundlandFrenchShore– between CapeSt. Johnand Cape Ray– which had been a bone of contention between Britainand Franceand the colony of Newfoundlandfor a long time. “It was agreed that the French would give up their rights under the old 18th century treaties in return for financial compensation that was paid by the British government, and for some territorial compensation in West Africa,” said Dr. Hiller. “It was a very important moment both in international diplomacy and also in the history of Newfoundland.”

Newfoundlanders had long resented the French presence on their coasts, and the entente was greeted in the colony with considerable enthusiasm. In St. Pierre and Miquelon, by contrast, the agreement was – and is – seen as a disaster. Dr. Hiller explained that the French actually kept the right to fish in season on the old FrenchShore, but not on an exclusive basis. They held that right until 1972.

He said that historians in Newfoundlandand Europefelt something should be done to mark the 100th anniversary of this landmark agreement, so the Newfoundland Historical Society and MemorialUniversitypartnered with the provincial tourism department to organize this symposium. Assistance was also provided by the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, GrenfellCollege, Memorial’s Office of the Dean of Arts and the Office of the President. A lecture on Sept. 16 by Dr. Pascal Venier of SalfordUniversityis sponsored by the president. The title of Dr. Venier’s lecture is World Policy, Diplomacy and Imperialism: International Relations on the Eve of the Entente Cordiale.

Three prominent scholars from Britainand Francewill speak to the international and diplomatic side of the entente. There will also be sessions on the Newfoundlandand St. Pierreperspectives and workshops on how to research Newfoundland’s French history. The symposium begins in St. John’son Sept. 16-18, with sessions at a number of venues, before moving to Corner Brookon Sept. 18-20 for additional sessions and workshops on the campus of SirWilfredGrenfellCollege. For more, see www.swgc.mun.ca/histstd/symposiumProgram.html or contact Melanie Martin at the Newfoundland Historical Society at (709) 722-3191, nhs@thezone.net; or Dr. James Hiller at 737-8435.

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