The peninsula is, and has been since the settling of the island, its most populous region. By the early 1800s it was home to more than three-quarters of the colony's population and today about one-half of Newfoundlanders live here, nearly three-quarters in the ST JOHN'S metropolitan area.
The peninsula's rugged coastline was the earliest settled in the province and its 4 major bays, TRINITY, CONCEPTION, ST. MARY'S and PLACENTIA, were among the earliest fished. Newfoundland's first formal colony was begun at CUPIDS, Conception Bay, in 1610, followed by several other chartered "plantations" around the Avalon. Sir George CALVERT was granted a portion of the peninsula 1623 and lived there 1627-29, with his headquarters at FERRYLAND on the "Southern Shore." It was his holding, called Avalon after the legendary site where Christianity was introduced to England, for which the peninsula was named.
During the 1600s and 1700s the peninsula saw conflicts between the French and English with France establishing PLACENTIA on the southwest coast as its capital in the 1660s. Today, in addition to being the principal commercial and administrative region of the province, the peninsula is the location of many historic sites - including the national historic sites of CAPE SPEAR and SIGNAL HILL - 3 national historic parks, several provincial parks, a nature park near Salmonier, a spectacular seabird sanctuary at CAPE ST MARY'S, 4 other ecological reserves and a 1070 km2 wilderness reserve in its southeast quadrant
Author ROBERT D. PITT
Links to Other Sites
Baccalieu Trail Archeology
Explore the history and heritage of the Baccalieu Trail Region, a collection of coastal communities along Conception Bay and the south side of Trinity Bay on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula. Scroll down to "Henry Crout's Journal" for historical entries (note: Henry Crout was Sir Percival Willoughby's first agent in Newfoundland).
Castle Hill National Historic Site of Canada
This Parks Canada site is dedicated to the Castle Hill National Historic Site in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. Includes an interesting commentary about the Treaty of Utrecht and British and French territorial disputes in North America.
The website for the Town of Placentia, the former French capital of Newfoundland.
Baccalieu: Crossroads For Cultures
This site is devoted to the colourful history of the Baccalieu Trail region of Newfoundland and Labrador. Focuses on the Beothuk people, early European settlements, and the pirates who plundered local communities. Check out the glossary, online timeline, historic documents, maps, learning activities and much more.
East Coast Trail
This website provides a guide to the various sections of the East Coast Trail, located in the scenic Avalon Peninsula region of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Branch, St Mary's The Capes
Click on the image to view more photos of Branch, a community in the scenic St Mary's Bay region of Newfoundland and Labrador. From the website for Stone Island Photography.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...