Long before the arrival of Europeans, the islands of the St. Pierre and Miquelon archipelago had been inhabited by Amerindian and Paleo Eskimo populations. These groups have successively occupied the region of Newfoundland and Labrador since 3000 BC and were gradually driven out by Europeans starting in the 15th century. Before any official exploration, Breton and Norman fishermen are said to have established themselves around 1604 on a seasonal basis in St. Pierre and came to fish in Newfoundland waters where cod was abundant; Basques came to hunt whales around Newfoundland at the same time. But it was the Portuguese navigator João Alvarez Fagundes who, after having landed on the coasts of Nova Scotia, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the south coast of Newfoundland, officially discovered, on October 21, 1520, the archipelago of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, which he then called the Island of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, in memory of a legend attributed to Saint Ursula and her companions. The Portuguese kept these islands for a very short time, and they did not keep their original name because in 1530 the name of the Islands of Saint-Pierre appeared on nautical charts.