Since the time of King Henry VII of England, who on 10 August 1497 awarded John CABOT £10 for finding "the new isle," the Island has been referred to as Terra Nova, but more commonly in the English-speaking world as Newfoundland. The French call it Terre-Neuve; the Spanish and Portuguese still call it Terra Nova.
The LABRADOR part of the province may have received its name from the Portuguese designation, "Terra del Lavradors." CAPE SPEAR, near ST JOHN'S, is the easternmost point of the province and thus, excepting Greenland, of North America. From Cape Spear across the Atlantic to the nearest point in Ireland it is nearly 3000 km. Winnipeg, in mid-Canada, and Miami in the southeast US are farther away - 3100 km and 3400 km respectively. The south coast of the province lies astride lat 47° N lat, but Cape Chidley on the northernmost tip of Labrador is just north of 60° N lat, giving the province a total north-south extent of just over 1800 km.
The land and freshwater area is 405 720 km2, of which Labrador makes up almost three-quarters (294 330 km2) of the total land area. Newfoundland is the seventh-largest Canadian province. Neighbouring Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are smaller, and even their combined area is less than that of Newfoundland, which is slightly larger than Japan.
Land and Resources
The province is physically divided into 2 major units of unequal area, the much larger unit being the mainland territory of Labrador to the north and the smaller unit the Island of Newfoundland to the south. Within each there are distinct variations in the physical characteristics of the environment and in the occurrence and availability of natural resources and corresponding variations in the nature and pattern of human settlement.
Distinctive subregions within each major unit can be outlined. In Labrador there are 3 such subregions: a northern coastal region, ruggedly mountainous, deeply fjorded and growing only ground-level subarctic vegetation, with very little settlement; a southern coastal region with a rugged, barren foreshore and a forested hinterland, with light to moderate settlement; and the bulk of the vast interior, which comprises a well-forested, dissected plateau, where settlement is concentrated in a few large towns.
On the Island of Newfoundland there are 4 distinct regions, the west coast, the interior, the northeast coast and the south coast. The west coast is dominated by the table-topped LONG RANGE MOUNTAINS, which rise to 814 m. They are bordered in places by a narrow, well-forested coastal plain and are frequently penetrated by glacially deepened valleys and by several large fjordlike bays, the largest of which are the Bay of Islands and Bonne Bay.
There is almost continuous settlement in the bays and coves along this coast and there is some interior settlement in the Codroy Valley to the south and around Deer Lake, which lies on a small plain within the mountain range. The interior is a plateaulike region with frequent undulations in the terrain representing the ridges and slopes of the watersheds carved out by the major stream systems; 4 large rivers, EXPLOITS, GANDER, HUMBER and Terra Nova, drain most of the area.
The region supports extensive forest stands, particularly on the gentle slopes of the major watersheds. Settlements are widely separated and most of the population is concentrated in a few large towns associated with forest or mineral resource use and with transportation services.
The northeast coast, with its numerous bays, islands and headlands, fronts on the Atlantic Ocean from the Great Northern Peninsula to the AVALON PENINSULA. Inland sections of this region are generally well forested, but exposed headlands and offshore islands have low, scrubby vegetation. The region has a shoreline typical of land that was submerged by glaciation and in places rebounded after the ice caps melted. Thus, there are innumerable bays, coves, islands and fjords which often provide excellent harbours. It is also an area that can annually expect to be blocked by arctic drift ice throughout the winter and early spring. Settlement has developed along the shores of most of the bays and on some offshore islands.
The south coast region coincides with the whole southern portion of the Island of Newfoundland. This coast also has the deeply embayed characteristics of a submerged shoreline. It is not blocked by arctic drift ice, although in some years parts of the eastern Avalon Peninsula as far south as St John's may be cut off for a few days.
In inland areas the topography is generally hilly and rugged and much land is covered by shallow bogs and heathy vegetation. On the gentle slopes of the major river systems and in the interior of the Avalon Peninsula there is good forest vegetation.
Labrador occupies the easternmost section of the Canadian SHIELD and comprises mostly tough, ancient Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks. There are some areas of softer sedimentary rocks-notably in the west in a formation called the Labrador Trough - within which lie some of the most extensive iron ore deposits in North America. The interior region is plateaulike, on average about 450 m above sea level and greatly dissected by large, east-flowing rivers, such as the CHURCHILL RIVER and its tributaries. These rivers cut through the eastern rim of the saucer-shaped SHIELD to discharge into the LABRADOR SEA. This rim is largely mountainous, especially in the north, where the TORNGAT MOUNTAINS rise to over 1500 m; the highest is Mount Caubvick at 1652 m.
In 1993, a large nickel, copper and cobalt discovery at Voisey Bay (approximately 35 km southwest of NAIN) was made. It is considered the richest base metal discovery since WW II and total reserves in early 1996 were estimated at 100 million t, which is comparable to other large nickel deposits in Canada.
The Island of Newfoundland is part of the Appalachian system and displays in its major bays, peninsulas, river systems and mountain ranges the typical southwest to northeast alignment. Rocks are more varied on the Island than in Labrador. Continental drifting, followed by frequent periods of crustal deformation and interspersed by long periods of erosion and deposition, have combined to produce this great variety in types and ages.
The oldest rocks are Precambrian and occur in the east, in and around the Avalon and Burin peninsulas; they are mostly folded sedimentary rocks, but in a few areas later intrusions have solidified into volcanic rocks. Small remnants of gently sloping Cambrian and Ordovician sedimentary rocks occur in pockets along the coast. The most significant are in CONCEPTION BAY, where the Ordovician rocks that form BELL ISLAND contain layers of hematite iron ore with estimated reserves of billions of tonnes.
The central and western portions of the Island are underlaid by a great variety of Palaeozoic rocks of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic origin, within which crustal deformation has been generally severe. Long periods of erosion following periods of uplift have left a polycyclical landscape with the remnants of old erosion surfaces displayed in the plateaulike interior and on the flat-topped mountains of the Long Range. There is a mineralized belt in these Palaeozoic rocks, stretching from an area on the south coast just east of CHANNEL-PORT AUX BASQUES to the general area of western NOTRE DAME BAY on the northeast coast, within which occur ores containing copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver.
The youngest and least-disturbed rocks of this Palaeozoic series lie in and around the coastal plain on the west coast. These are Mississippian and Pennsylvanian and contain much gypsum, which is quarried, and limestone. There are a few coal deposits and signs of petroleum, but nothing of commercial value has been discovered.
Parallel to the east coast of the Island, under the ocean, extensive deposits of Cretaceous rock appear to stretch the length of the Grand Banks. Drilling from offshore rigs has proved the presence of enormous reserves of petroleum and natural gas in this area. Decisions of the Supreme Courts of Newfoundland and of Canada in 1983 and 1984 declared that ownership of offshore resources (specifically the Hibernia oil field) was federal. On 11 February 1985 an agreement was signed between the Newfoundland government and the new federal Conservative administration, giving Ottawa and St John's "joint say over offshore oil and gas management" and allowing "the province to tax the resources as if they were on land."
All areas of the province show the effects of continental GLACIATION during the Pleistocene era, whose last stages are now dated to 7000 years ago. Moving ice sheets scoured and sculpted the surface. Most of the unconsolidated parent material beneath present-day soils consists of glacial debris or marine sediments, the latter now exposed owing to postglacial uplift.
The interior regions of both Labrador and the Island are strewn with lakes and covered with moraines, and give evidence of an immense ice cap, which initially moved radially outward from a centre west of Labrador, but in the later periods of the Pleistocene broke down into smaller, separate ice caps with centres in Labrador, the west-central Island and the Avalon Peninsula.
Most coastal regions are fjorded where the ice channelled down the valleys of the preglacial fluvial system. The longest and most steep-sided FJORDS occur in northern Labrador and around the Great Northern Peninsula of the Island, but there are few places where this scouring effect from ice movement is absent. Most bays have been deepened and are often fjordlike in character. Many places in the north of the Island and in Labrador show, because of postglacial uplift, raised shorelines and large stretches of marine sediments.
The most striking and extensive marine deposits are those in the remnants of raised deltas that occur around St George's Bay and around HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY in Labrador at the mouth of the Churchill River. Coastal features, such as offshore islands, spits, tombolos and bay-mouth bars (barachoix), which are typical of a submerged shoreline, are common throughout the south and southeast coastal regions.
Soils are generally coarse and immature. In northern Labrador and in high places throughout the province, because of coolness and exposure, vegetation is either entirely lacking or is only of the subarctic, lichen tundra ground-level variety.
In the interior regions where surface deposits are deep, such as on the watersheds of the Churchill, Exploits, Humber and Gander rivers, there are excellent forest stands. Extensive bogland has developed in the many hollows of this glaciated landscape. The forest is made up of several of the species common to the BOREAL FOREST that stretches across northern North America.
Black spruce predominates, especially in open stands and where forest has regenerated after fire. Close forest is most common and here black spruce and balsam fir are dominant, the ratio varying with the site type; balsam fir regenerates more successfully in places that have been clearcut. Subdominants are represented by larch, pine and such typical boreal deciduous species as paper birch, aspen, alder, pin cherry and mountain ash.
Many of the nonforested areas support ground-level, mossy plants, some of which are food for wildlife, and some, such as the blueberry, partridge berry and bakeapple ("cloudberry"), which can be gathered for human consumption.
Through scouring and deposits, glaciation left a pockmarked landscape capable of storing vast quantities of water in thousands of lakes, ponds and bogs. Many of the ponds are shallow, but many of the lakes are in large, old valleys deepened by glacial scouring and dammed by glacial deposits. In interior Labrador hundreds of lakes have been combined by means of canals, dikes and dams, to create the 6527 km2 SMALLWOOD RESERVOIR (roughly one-third the size of LAKE ONTARIO) behind the huge hydro development of CHURCHILL FALLS.
Because of the moist climate and plentiful snowfall, the water table is high in all areas, lakes are usually full and rivers flow perennially. There is naturally some seasonal fluctuation and occasionally very wet or dry years, but there are rarely shortages of water for domestic or industrial use.
Climate varies considerably throughout the province. Interior Labrador has a continental climate, but the southeastern areas around the Burin and Avalon peninsulas are marine. The transitional variation makes it difficult to designate specific climatic regions, but certain generalizations can be made.
The climate of northern Labrador is truly subarctic in that there is generally coolness and dryness throughout the year. Winters are very cold with mean temperatures averaging -20° C, and summers are cool, July mean temperatures averaging 5-10° C. These temperatures are recorded at sea level, and the high land in the Torngat Mountains would be even colder. Precipitation is low, annually averaging only 46 cm at Cape Chidley, of which 50% falls as snow. The winters of interior Labrador are extremely cold, with mean temperatures for January of between -18° C and -23° C; summers are warm, with mean temperatures for July of between 13° C and 17° C. The lowest temperature for the province was recorded in western Labrador at -51° C and the highest at Goose Bay at 38° C.
In coastal areas the modifying influence of the ocean reduces the temperature range between summer and winter. In southern Labrador coastal regions are cold in winter and cool in summer, and interior regions are often severely cold in winter but warm in summer. On the Island there is a similar though not so marked difference between coastal and inland regions. The mean Jan temperature at St John's is -4° C, while the July mean is 15° C. Inland, for most locations, the midwinter mean is between -6° C and -10° C, and the midsummer mean is 13° to 16° C.
Precipitation varies in a northwest to southeast direction. Average annual precipitation around the Avalon and Burin peninsulas is over 140 cm, and the amount decreases northwestward to amounts around 40-60 cm in Labrador. Precipitation is fairly even every month, but in northern locations about half falls as snow, and in the milder southeast snowfall is only about 12%.
In any one year great variations may be experienced, depending largely on the paths taken by the storms that cross North America from west to east. When the path is northerly, mild winters with little snow result, but when southerly, there may be a severe, cold and snowy winter. Frequent storms mean frequent windy weather and high average velocities. Coastal waters are often hazardous for small craft. The mixing of the air masses off the LABRADOR CURRENT and the Gulf Stream frequently creates FOG on the Grand Banks and in eastern and southern coastal areas, particularly in spring and early summer.
The economy of Newfoundland is heavily dependent on natural resources. After its discovery around 1497, the Island depended on COD fishing for nearly 400 years, until the forest and mineral resources began to be exploited.
The variation in climate and in the nature of the terrain dictates a similar variation in the nature of vegetation and growth rates. Generally the well-drained lowlands have the best forest growth, and there are sufficient timber stands to constitute an important resource. Initially the forests were used for building, fencing, fuel and boatbuilding and for shore structures related to the fishery, which made a small dent in the forest resource near coastal settlements.
Since the turn of the 20th century, the increased value of lumber and pulpwood has led to penetration and exploitation of the interior. Much timber has been cut and regrowth is generally good although loss through FOREST FIRES and insect infestation has been at times severe.
Minerals of economic interest occur in many areas. Those in the mineralized belt of the Island (mostly the base metals - copper, lead and zinc) have been mined at Buchans, Daniel's Harbour and near BAIE VERTE, when market conditions permit. Elsewhere, gold is mined at Couteau Bay on the south coast of the Island, iron ore from hematite is mined in western Labrador, gypsum is quarried near St George's and pyrophyllite (aluminum silicate) near Long Pond.
The most promising mining region is Voisey Bay. In 1993 high concentrations of nickel, copper and cobalt were discovered. This led to a boom in exploration in the area and in January 1996 it was announced a second reserve, twice as large as the original find, was discovered. Were expectations to be realized, Voisey Bay, more so than the Hibernia megaproject, would be a big boost to the province's economy as a source of much needed employment.
Until the early 1990s the greatest and most permanent resource was the fish population of the waters surrounding the province. Groundfish, such as cod, grey sole, flounder, redfish and turbot, were plentiful on the banks and at times in all inshore areas.
Surface-dwelling fish, such as caplin, squid, herring and mackerel, thrive in some areas. Migrating ATLANTIC SALMON were caught both at sea and in the larger rivers, but their numbers have also decreased drastically. Trout are plentiful in lakes, ponds and rivers and lobster and crabs in the shallow southern waters.
Large natural reservoirs on the Labrador plateau and interior Island have presented opportunities for the large-scale development of HYDROELECTRICITY. In Labrador, 5428.5 MW have been developed at Churchill Falls and there is a potential for a further 2555 MW, mostly on the lower Churchill River. On the Island over 1200 MW have been developed and a further potential remains untapped. In 1998, Hydro-Québec and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro signed an agreement to cooperate on the development of the Churchill Falls project.
In many coastal areas colonies of millions of seabirds nest annually, primarily gulls, gannets, murres, kittiwakes and puffins. Sanctuaries to protect these birds have been established in 6 provincial ecological reserves (eg, Gannet Island off the Labrador coast, on FUNK ISLAND on the east coast of the Avalon Peninsula and at CAPE ST MARY'S on the south coast). Two migratory bird sanctuaries are on the Grey Islands and in TERRA NOVA NATIONAL PARK
GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK preserves a spectacular natural region on the west coast and Terra Nova National Park on the east coast. There are also 64 provincial parks, 7 other ecological reserves, a wilderness area in the central Avalon Peninsula and another in the south-central interior.
A small percentage of the population is Aboriginal. The Island's only indigenous people, the BEOTHUK, are now extinct. There are a few thousand INUIT and Innu (MONTAGNAIS-NASKAPI) living mostly in Labrador and maintaining their original languages and some of their ancient cultures. There have been 2 recent sets of LAND CLAIMS negotiations in the province. The Labrador Inuit started negotiations with the federal and provincial governments in 1989, which led to the transfer of lands and the establishment of the Nunatsiavut government in December 2005. The Labrador Innu began negotiations in 1991, and although their framework agreement has been signed, it has not yet been implemented. There are INDIAN RESERVES at Conne River on the Island's south coast (MI'KMAQ) and on Lake MELVILLE and Sango Bay in Labrador (Innu).
Elsewhere the population is of predominantly European origin, the majority descended from immigrants from southwestern England and southern Ireland. On the west coast of the Island there are pockets of people of French descent (mostly ACADIAN) and some SCOTS whose ancestors were from Cape Breton, NS. Religious affiliation closely follows ethnic origin. Most of those of IRISH and French descent are Roman Catholic and those of English origin are Anglican, United Church, Pentecostal, and Salvation Army.
Settlement by Europeans proceeded slowly and reflected the dominance of the fisheries. Early settlers paid little attention to the soil or lack of amenities and settled on the shoreline in bays and coves close to the inshore and offshore fishing grounds, primarily on the east coast. Settlement gradually spread and became permanent. The first centres developed around ST JOHN'S and CONCEPTION BAY, then generally along the east and south coasts.
Fish were caught in summer, cured with salt, sun dried and shipped back to Europe in the fall. Inevitably centres of trade and commerce evolved, such as St John's, HARBOUR GRACE, TRINITY and BONAVISTA, and economic ties with the mother country were gradually relinquished. The livelihood of the population depended almost entirely on the vicissitudes of the fishery. New arrivals were few and out-migration to more promising North American areas was constant. The number of settlers grew slowly from about 12 000 in 1763 to about 200 000 in 1891.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some diversification in the economy created greater stability. Iron ore mines were opened on Bell Island in Conception Bay in 1894 and pulp and paper manufacture was started at GRAND FALLS in 1910. In 1925 a second pulp and paper mill was built in Corner Brook on the west coast, and in 1928 the mining of base metals was initiated at Buchans (mine closed in 1984).
A transinsular railway, begun in 1881 with several spur lines, contributed to the gradual improvement in economic conditions, and in 1935 the population numbered approximately 290 000. The GREAT DEPRESSION of the early 1930s was keenly felt, but ironically World War II brought an unprecedented prosperity, mainly because of employment provided by the construction and maintenance of large defence bases at St John's, GANDER, GOOSE BAY, STEPHENVILLE and ARGENTIA.
There was only limited postwar prosperity, and by a referendum the people voted to join the Canadian Confederation in 1949. Benefits in the form of generous welfare payments, pensions and numerous other allowances, as well as the postwar marketing boom, kept the economy buoyant throughout the 1950s. The transition to provincial status was not painless, but most Newfoundlanders, especially the young, show an attachment to Canada. Over 60% of of the 543 829 residents of the province in 1991 were born after the entry into Confederation; by 2001 the percentage had risen to nearly 80%. The population has been on a decreasing trend, and in 2001 it was 512 930.
The distribution of people changed markedly over the century since the 1880s. When the cod fishery was the only important occupation, nearly all settlement was coastal. Most villages were small and the few large towns owed their size to their role as centres of trade and commerce.
As other resources were developed, the mining towns, such as WABANA and Buchans, and pulp and paper towns, such as Corner Brook and Grand Falls, emerged. In the 1950s the centres of LABRADOR CITY and WABUSH grew rapidly with the development of the iron-ore mines in western Labrador.
Incidental to this diversification in the economy a pattern of centralization evolved. Opportunity in the fishery became limited because of the shifting emphasis from numerous small-boat operators to offshore trawlers and the switch from sun-cured, salted fish to fresh-frozen fish in modern plants. A subsequent population movement resulted in the demise of many of the small "outports" and the growth in the size and importance of centres with facilities for fish processing and with access to provincial transportation and communications networks.
In 2001, 57.7% of the population was urban. Before the collapse of the fishery, about 10% of the LABOUR FORCE was engaged in primary occupations (fishing, mining, logging and farming). Since then, about 8% have been employed in these industries. Another 8% are engaged in manufacturing and processing, each largely associated with the fishery, pulp and paper, and mining industries. Most remain in the service-producing industries, particularly in trade, health care and social assistance, and educational services.
The unemployment rate in Newfoundland and Labrador has often been the highest rate in Canada since 1977, and has been consistently higher than the national average, in many years double the national average. In 2004 it was 15.6%, compared to a national average of 7.2%. Since 1990 the labour force participation rate has remained significantly below the national average. In 2004 it was 59.3%. Despite high unemployment and low labour force participation rates, the province's per capita income has been increasing steadily over recent years, to $29 769 in 2000.
Once wholly dependent upon the fishery, the economy now includes mining and mineral processing, manufacture based on forest resources and the provision of services and government in centres of trade, commerce, transportation and communication. Transfer payments to areas of regional disparity and other federal government benefits are of paramount importance.
The province is generously endowed with natural resources, and periodically development of each resource in turn has proved beneficial to both primary and secondary producers. It is anticipated that the development of Voisey Bay's mineral deposits and offshore oil and natural gas will positively influence the province's economy, but true prosperity will occur only when all resources are developed concurrently and successfully (see REGIONAL ECONOMICS).
Agriculture has been of very minor importance in Newfoundland because of the poor soil and adverse climate. Less than 0.01% of the land in the province is farmed - about half of it being confined to the northern Avalon Peninsula. Nevertheless, there are scattered pockets of fertile land and conditions are suitable for the growth of hay and pasture crops.
Root crops such as potatoes, turnips and cabbage are produced in significant quantities, and in some places livestock, particularly cattle and sheep, are raised on natural pastures. Swine and poultry production is important, as is dairy farming around St John's and Corner Brook. The province is almost self-sufficient in egg production.
There are 6274 ha of land in crops and 4606 ha in pasture in Newfoundland and Labrador. The 1998 yields showed harvest of potatoes valued at $1.1 million, turnips of $1.5 million and cabbage of $805 000. Beets, carrots, lettuce, savory, strawberries, chard, broccoli and brussels sprouts are grown in small quantities in small market gardens. Over 440 thousand kg of wild blueberries and $1 million worth of strawberries are packed for export annually.
There are roughly 4400 head of dairy cattle, producing 34.6 million litres of milk, and roughly 2000 head of beef cattle were slaughtered in 1999. About 16 500 pigs are slaughtered annually. There are about 6500 head of sheep, just over 400 000 layer chickens, producing 7.1 million dozens of eggs, and nearly 14.5 million kg worth of live weight poultry. Other than blueberries, all agricultural production is consumed locally and over 80% of the meat, fruit and vegetables are imported.
The most significant industrial activities based on local raw materials are the numerous processing plants for fresh-frozen and salted codfish, the pulp and paper mills and the particle-board mill at Donovans, near St John's. Industries using local materials, but on a much smaller scale, are small boatbuilding yards, lumber mills, door and window construction, the canning of seafood and wild berries, and some homecraft industries producing souvenirs.
Large manufacturing concerns using imported materials are the phosphorus plant at Long Harbour on the Isthmus of Avalon, the steel-shipbuilding plant at Marystown, the paint-manufacturing plant at St John's and numerous small plants producing staples such as bread, biscuits, margarine, ice cream, soft drinks, beer and other items whose reputations give them a competitive advantage over imports.
The tourism industry added over $600 million to the economy in 2001. The province offers unique scenery and excellent parks, motels, hotels and historic sites, which survive mainly through local use aided by provincial and federal funds. Remoteness from the mainland and the increasing cost of travel have made growth in nonresident visitation slow.
Newfoundland and Labrador mined about 16 million t of iron ore valued at about $850 million in 2001. Iron ore accounts for over 90% of the value of the mining industry.
Over 90% of the exported mineral product is from the twin communities of Wabush and Labrador City in western Labrador. Here, IRON ORE is quarried and concentrated (being low-grade with about 20-30% iron content). Most of the ore is pelletized in Pointe Noire, Qué. The finished product is carried south by rail to Sept-Iles, Qué, and thence through the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Waterway to smelters and steel mills around the Great Lakes.
A copper mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula, closed since 1982, reopened in October 1995; the concentrated copper is shipped to smelters in Québec. Asbestos is milled at Baie Verte.
Other mining operations are small. The Hope Brook gold mine opened on Couteau Bay in 1987. The mine later closed but reopened again in 1992. There is a pyrophyllite quarry at Long Pond but otherwise activity is sporadic and confined to the quarrying of gypsum for plasterboard at Flat Bay near St George's. Other industrial minerals mined are peat and dolomite.
The discovery of massive metal and mining deposits at Voisey Bay, Labrador, in 1993 has led to increased exploration and investment. Nickel reserves of some 100 t have so far been discovered in the area. The original find, Western Extension, will be an open pit mine once it goes into production; Eastern Deeps, as the name implies, is a deeper deposit. The demand for brick for local building supports a small brickmaking industry at Milton, on Trinity Bay, where there are deposits of suitable clay and shale. Total production of building type materials was valued at $29.8 million in 1993.
The principal use of the forest is for the production of newsprint. The mills at Corner Brook, Stephenville and Grand Falls-Windsor together use an average of 1.9 million m3 (68% of the provincial forest output), which has had a value in recent years of just over $675 million when converted to newsprint. The market for newsprint is highly competitive, and the periodic shutdown of plants or the reduction of staff for weeks and even months has been commonplace. Around 10 000 people are employed in the forest products industry.
Use of modern machinery has meant fewer jobs for loggers. Wood is delivered to the mills more often by road and rail than by the spring drive on streams and major rivers. In recent years there has been serious loss of good wood because of insect infestation, particularly by the spruce budworm. For the present there is an overabundance of wood, but the infestation has alerted foresters to the need for better harvesting techniques and they now have a planned program of reforestation.
In addition to newsprint, a significant portion of the forest product is taken for fuel (24%), lumber, poles, fencing and mining timber. There are few large sawmills but many small ones. Total annual production declined from over 100 000 m3 in 1980 to around 75 000 m3 by 1984; however a new mill located at Rodicton, which opened in 1992, has added 600 000 m3 to the provincial capacity.
Before 1930 the fishing industry concentrated on the production and sale of salted and sun-cured cod. The main markets were Mediterranean and Caribbean countries. The advent of quick-freezing and of boats capable of transporting the frozen product to market radically changed the industry. Year by year the percentage of salted cod produced and sold declined, whereas the percentage of fresh-frozen fish species such as cod, turbot, plaice and redfish increased, and the principal market shifted to the US.
The fishing industry has changed constantly from that time, partly in response to innovations and the modernization of fishing techniques, but also as a result of market variations, competition and the fluctuations of supply and demand.
Until the early 1990s fish companies were found on all coasts, relying on the catches of their own large, deep-sea trawlers, which brought a variety of fish from the banks, and on the small catches of the still numerous inshore fishermen. The latter used gill nets, cod traps and baited lines and operated from medium-sized boats (long-liners) or from small trap boats or even dories. Since they operated near the shore and had limited range, their catch fluctuated. A few prepared a sun-cured salt cod, for which there was and still is a good market, but most dried salt cod was produced mechanically by large plants.
Changes in the fishery since 1930 meant more employment on shore in the processing plants and fewer people to secure the catch. Communities with large plants grew markedly in size and importance although, as mainly one-industry towns, their future was insecure. In many settlements along the coast fishermen augmented their income seasonally by catching lobster, salmon, caplin, herring, mackerel, squid, eels, scallops and crab. On 2 July 1992, the federal government declared a complete moratorium on the northern cod fishery in an attempt to save the stocks after years of overfishing. Closures were also announced on other groundfish species. Other fisheries, particularly shellfish and crabs, have since been developed. As compensation, 25 570 unemployed fishermen receive from $250 to $400 per week. The program expired in May 1999.
In the early 1980s many of Newfoundland's fishing companies faced receivership because of heavy debts incurred during periods of poor markets, overproduction and overexpansion. An agreement was reached between the 2 levels of government and the banks whereby a new supercompany, Fisheries Products International Ltd, was formed through the amalgamation of all the former large companies. The success of the restructured fishery resulted in the return of FPI to the private sector in 1985 (see FISHERIES HISTORY). However, the cod moratorium has hit the fish companies hard as well. FPI lost $3.3 million in 1995 while National Sea Products recorded a net income of $5.6 million due mainly to clam processing.
The US continues to be the largest market for Newfoundland fish, accounting for 12% of the province's total exports of all products in 1992. On average, 500 000 t of fish, with a landed value of around $200 million, were taken annually by the 13 000 full-time and another 13 000 part-time fishermen before the recent decline. Only 244 000 t of fish were landed in 1992 and industry employed only 9800 fishermen and 7700 processing workers in 1992, down 18% from 1991 alone. In 2001, employment was around 7000, and the landed value was $865 million. Crab and shrimp are now the most important in the industry, and the province is now the largest producer of cold-water shrimp in the world.
The province is served by all the major Canadian banking houses, trust companies, insurance brokers and loan companies. Most regional head offices are in St John's, but there are branches in all the larger towns in all regions. There are 14 credit unions, 19 consumer co-operatives, 19 housing co-ops and 13 producer co-ops. The CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT has had its ups and downs.
Some fishermen's producer co-ops are very successful and a few consumer co-operative enterprises in large centres have profitable supermarket outlets. Private enterprise is encouraged, especially in resource-oriented areas, and government loans and grants are commonly used in small-business enterprises, such as fishing, sawmilling, farming and small-boat building.
In the early years of settlement all transportation was by boat or, in the north in winter, by dog team. The establishment of railways, roads and airports brought changes. The transinsular railway from St John's to Channel-Port aux Basques was started in the 1880s and quickly developed branch lines to Argentia in Placentia Bay, Bay de Verde in Conception Bay, Trepassey in the southern Avalon and Bonavista. Branches were later built to Lewisporte on Bay of Exploits and to Stephenville. The line later operated by CN was narrow gauge and primitive, but it provided an essential service and fostered development across the Island throughout the first half of the 20th century. The railway was closed entirely in September 1988.
There were also a number of small private or company-owned railways, such as the Grand Falls Central, which has since closed. The ultramodern Labrador and Québec, North Shore and Labrador Railway (QNSL) transports ore from Ungava and western Labrador, running from Schefferville, Qué, through Labrador, to Sept-Iles, Qué, on the Gulf of St Lawrence, with an important branch line to Wabush and Labrador City.
Highway development was rudimentary up to 1949. Roads were local, narrow and generally unpaved. A continual road-building and -improving program since the 1950s has provided an Island-wide road network, which is mostly paved and includes the TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY from St John's to Channel-Port aux Basques. Few communities are isolated. A few important offshore islands (eg, Fogo, Ramea, Bell and the Little Bay Islands) have ferry service. Several important offshore islands (eg, Random, Twillingate and Greenspond) are now linked by causeways.
In Labrador there is only a short paved road link between the communities on the Strait of Belle Isle and an interior gravel road from Churchill Falls to the QNSL Railway. The Newfoundland section of a gravel surface, all-weather road linking the Québec highway system through Wabush and Labrador City to Churchill Falls gives the majority of the Labrador population year-round land access to the rest of Canada. Reconstruction of the Freedom road, a rough track between Churchill Falls and Goose Bay, will provide the backbone of road transport in Labrador.
BUSH FLYING has been important in Newfoundland since the 1920s, and some isolated areas still rely on ski- or float-equipped small aircraft or helicopter service for mail and emergencies.
There are airports at St John's, Gander, Deer Lake, Stephenville, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, St Anthony, Churchill Falls and Wabush; national and regional airlines provide regular scheduled service to and from these points. Scheduled air service also operates along the coast of Labrador.
The strategic location of Newfoundland made it a logical point for the initial attempts to cross the Atlantic by air. The first successful flight was that made by Alcock and Brown 14-15 June 1919 from St John's to Clifton, Ireland, in a 2-motor biplane. There were many subsequent crossings from Newfoundland in the 1920s and 1930s, culminating with the ferrying of thousands of bombers from Gander to England during WWII (see FERRY COMMAND); there was also flying-boat service from Botwood, and regular transatlantic air service via Gander in the prejet era. Gander continues to serve as an international crossroads for aircraft carrying goods and people to distant corners of the world.
Modern marine vessels supply Labrador coastal communities throughout the summer. A vessel capable of carrying automobiles and tractor trailers operates between Lewisporte and Goose Bay. There is also some coastal trade by sea around the Island, restricted in winter to the south coast because of arctic drift ice. Ferry service between Channel-Port aux Basques and North Sydney, Cape Breton Island, operates daily year-round; and there is a Marine Atlantic ferry service between North Sydney and Argentia 3 nights a week, June-September. Mineral products, processed fish and newsprint are exported mostly in the summer from centres such as Corner Brook, Botwood, Stephenville, Argentia, St John's and Long Harbour.
Most imported products arrive by ship through Channel-Port aux Basques, Corner Brook, St John's and Goose Bay, and are distributed throughout the province by road. In the far north, SNOWMOBILES, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft mounted with skis have largely replaced dog teams in providing transport for hunters and trappers.
Energy resources in the form of hydropower are abundant, especially in Labrador. The province uses only a fraction of its potential energy. On the Island all industrial and domestic needs are currently met by over 1200 MW provided by hydro sources and 495 MW from thermal sources. Some projects to help alleviate the high cost of power on the Island include using wood waste and peat in industrial and institutional furnaces.
Most of the huge amount of power generated at CHURCHILL FALLS in Labrador is exported to Québec. The resale of this power by HYDRO-QUÉBEC at enormous profits has always irked the Newfoundland government. An attempt to circumvent the contract with Hydro-Québec by enacting legislation authorizing withdrawal of water rights was declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Canada in May 1984.
In 1979 the Hibernia oil field was discovered off the Island of Newfoundland. Potential oil resources are estimated to be 615 million barrels. In 2001, Hibernia produce 54.3 million barrels of oil, at a value of $2.1 billion. A second field, Terra Nova, is expected to produce 36 million barrels per year, and is estimated to have a 400 million-barrel reserve. Husky Oil is exploring another offshore development, White Rose, that could extract 230 million barrels.
Government and Politics
The provincial legislature of Newfoundland (officially called the House of Assembly) has 52 members elected from single-member districts. As in other provinces it is modelled on the British parliamentary system. The formal head of government and representative of the Crown is the LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR, who is appointed by the prime minister for a period of at least 4 years. The statutory life of the House of Assembly cannot exceed 5 years. See NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR LIEUTENANT-GOVERNORS: TABLE; NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR PREMIERS: TABLE.
The PREMIER and actual head of government is usually the leader of the political party holding the majority of seats in the legislature. The CABINET, comprising the ministers of all government departments, is chosen by the premier from his caucus. Areas of provincial and federal jurisdiction are specified in the CONSTITUTION ACT of 1867.
The provincial judicial system includes the Newfoundland Supreme Court, 7 district courts and 18 provincial courts. The Supreme Court is divided into a Trial Division with a chief justice and 6 associate justices, and an Appeals Division with a chief justice and 8 associate justices. There is also a Unified Family Court where cases are heard by a single justice. All these justices are federal appointees. The Supreme Court Trial Division sits in St John's but goes on circuit to areas with no local courts. Each of the 7 district courts is located in one of the 7 federal electoral districts and is federally administered. The 18 provincially funded and administered courts are located in major communities throughout the province.
Local government in Newfoundland bears little resemblance to that found elsewhere in Canada. The pattern of isolated coastal settlement precluded the establishment of a county or township system and generally retarded the initiation of local government. St John's, the first municipality, was incorporated as a town in 1888 and received its city charter in 1921.
Local government came much later to other large centres. It was not until the post-WWII period that incorporation became common; until 1938 St John's was the only incorporated place in Newfoundland. Many communities have chosen to remain free from local taxes, building codes and other regulations and forego the benefits of incorporation, such as road repair, garbage collection and street lighting. At present, out of over 800 communities, less than half have any form of local government.
There are 3 cities, ST JOHN'S, Mount Pearl and CORNER BROOK, one metropolitan area surrounding St John's, 158 towns, 134 communities and over 100 local service districts (LSDs), the latter 2 usually representing groups of communities. Town and community councils have limited taxing authority and can provide few local services. Major works are often mainly financed by the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs, and the provincial government funds health, education, police, highway maintenance and other services.
The terms of union under which Newfoundland entered Confederation in 1949 stipulated that the province would be represented federally by 6 members of Parliament (later increased to 7) and 6 senators. Traditionally, at least one Newfoundland MP is appointed to the Cabinet. Several have made a mark in the high-profile portfolios of finance and external affairs, but in general the small representation gives the province limited clout in national decision making.
Newfoundlanders, until April 1997 when the harmonized sales tax (HST) came into effect, endured the highest provincial tax rates in Canada. Despite this high taxation rate, the government still received about half its revenue from federal transfer payments and equalization grants. For 2001 this was over $1.7 billion. The social sector is the area of greatest expenditure. Provincial debt expenses account for some 22%.
The provincial government annually budgets over $600 million for health care - roughly one-fifth of total provincial expenditures. Under the Medical Care Act of 1969, most health-care services are free to residents of the province.
The foundations of the health-care system lie in the cottage hospital system and the International Grenfell Association facilities. The cottage hospital system, initiated by the Commission government in 1936, was designed to bring a high standard of health care to outport residents. Small hospitals were constructed in central locations around the Island, but their number has been reduced in favour of larger regional hospitals. The International Grenfell Association, founded by Sir Wilfred GRENFELL in the early 1900s and centred in St Anthony, has provided essential health-care services to inhabitants of the northern areas, particularly coastal Labrador.
The General Hospital in St John's is the largest and best-equipped hospital; it is part of the Health Science Centre on the Memorial University campus, which also includes a Faculty of Medicine and a school of nursing.
Newfoundland's colourful political history began in 1832 with the granting of representative government. A governor and council, appointed by the British government, held most of the power. A House of Assembly was elected by the people by open ballot. Legislation had to pass both chambers. This unworkable form of government was replaced, by popular demand in 1855, with RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT based on the British parliamentary system.
In 1934, following the onset of the Great Depression and while saddled with crushing debts, the "Dominion" reverted to crown colony status and was governed by a commission consisting of a British governor and 3 commissioners and 3 Newfoundlanders, all appointed by the British government.
From 1832 to 1933 no enduring political party with a strongly defined political ideology emerged. The "Liberal,""Conservative" or "People's" parties were in fact loose coalitions of individual politicians and special-interest groups. Religion, ethnicity and social status were strong factors in early politics. For example, the Catholic "Liberal" Party in the mid-1800s was dedicated to advancing the interests of Newfoundland's Irish community. Parties also coalesced around issues such as Confederation with Canada, the building of a railway and fishermen's interests versus those of the fish merchants.
The campaign for Confederation that culminated successfully in 1949 was led by Joseph R. SMALLWOOD, a journalist, radio broadcaster and businessman. In 2 general referenda, Newfoundlanders voted by a narrow margin to join Canada. A lieutenant-governor was appointed and Smallwood was asked to form an interim government. In the new province's first general election and the first election since 1932 Smallwood's Liberals took 22 seats, the Conservatives 5 and an Independent 1. The split represented not only the outports versus St John's but the confederates against the anticonfederates.
Present-day elections show that this old hostility is all but dead. Smallwood's Liberals dominated Newfoundland's politics throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Weakened by conflicts between the premier and some powerful Cabinet ministers and by adverse reactions in the press, the Liberals lost the election of 1972. The Progressive Conservative Party took office, led by Frank MOORES until 1979, when the leadership passed to Brian PECKFORD, the former minister of mines and energy in the Moores administration.
In 1982 Peckford led his party to a landslide victory, winning 44 of the legislature's 52 seats. The remaining 8 seats were held by Liberals. In 1985 Peckford won a reduced majority, obtaining 36 seats to the Liberals' 15; the first NDP representative was elected in Newfoundland history. In the early 1980s relations between the Newfoundland government and the federal government were strained because of disputes over the ownership of offshore resources, over the sale of hydropower in Labrador and over the restructuring of the North Atlantic fishing industry.
A change in government in Ottawa produced considerably better relations between Newfoundland and the federal government. By late 1987, when some provinces were uncertain about free trade with the US, Peckford came out in strong support of the Mulroney government's initiatives in that direction. Peckford was also a key supporter of the MEECH LAKE ACCORD. His support for the accord was widely credited as the impetus for the deal with Ottawa on the off-shore Hibernia megaproject. Tom Rideout succeeded Peckford as premier in 1989 but lost the Tory's mandate later that year to the revitalized Liberals under the leadership of Clyde Wells.
In contrast to his predecessors, Wells was adamantly opposed to the MEECH LAKE ACCORD (see MEECH LAKE ACCORD: DOCUMENT) and rescinded Newfoundland's ratification of the deal. His position on constitutional reform was tempered somewhat during the debate over the CHARLOTTETOWN ACCORD (see CHARLOTTETOWN ACCORD: DOCUMENT) and his championing of the "Triple-E" Senate Reform package became the critical portion of the Accord.
Wells was one of the few premiers to successfully deliver his province during the 1992 referendum which quashed the accord. Wells won a renewed mandate in 1993 on a campaign to bring the province's finances under control. Wells has had some success in coming to grips with his province's debt and deficit despite fierce opposition from organized labour; however, the destruction of the Atlantic fishery increased the province's financial difficulty. Wells's successor, former federal Cabinet minister Brian Tobin, indicated that new revenues from Hibernia and Voisey Bay would have to play a major role in improving the provincial economy. Roger Grimes became premier in 2001.
The 1836 Education Act represented the first direct government involvement with education; funds were distributed among societies promoting education, and nondenominational boards of education were established. By 1843 the education grant had more than doubled and was divided between Roman Catholic and Protestant school boards. The Protestant grant eventually was distributed among several Protestant denominations. Post-Confederation amalgamation occurred among several Protestant school systems, but government-funded, church-administered education survives today. The denominational education system is protected in the Terms of Union (1948).
Excepting a few small private institutions, Newfoundland and Labrador's nearly 479 schools are administered by 11 school boards. Councils have the primary responsibility for distributing funding provided by government and religious education programming.
Policy decisions are the responsibility of the Department of Education. In 2000-2001 there were 6283 teachers and 90 167 students in grades kindergarten to 12. French Immersion programs are offered in 49 schools and 5 schools offer French First Language programs.
MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY OF NEWFOUNDLAND, founded in 1925 as Memorial University College, was made the province's only university by a special Act of the House of Assembly (1949). Located on the northern outskirts of St John's, Memorial had 13 260 full-time students and 2570 part-time students in 2000. Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, a degree-conferring institute located at the west coast Corner Brook campus of Memorial, was established in 1975. The Fisheries and Marine Institute in St John's became an affiliate of Memorial in 1992. All 3 institutions receive government funding but are autonomous in their administration.
Other post-secondary institutions are generally located in the larger communities. These include 5 colleges of applied arts, technology and continuing education. There are 37 registered private training institutions.
In 1995-1996 $1.3 billion was spent on education by all levels of government. Of this, about $280 million was spent on post-secondary education.
The ancestors of most Newfoundlanders came from southeastern Ireland or southwestern England and brought with them distinct and enduring cultures. This heritage, shaped by centuries of Newfoundland's isolated, maritime way of life, has produced a vibrant, distinctive culture, expressed in dialects, crafts, traditions, cooking, art, music and writing.
Old World influences have generally been replaced by those of the New World, a gradual process accelerated by Confederation and more recently through mass communications, but much of the province's distinctiveness persists. Newfoundlanders are increasingly appreciative of their unique heritage, as shown by the many successful folk festivals and heritage societies.
The various levels of government have supported efforts to preserve and enhance Newfoundland's historic culture. The provincial government, primarily through its Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, supports a provincial museum and the provincial archives in St John's, as well as smaller museums elsewhere in the province and a network of arts and culture centres in major centres. Memorial University, through its art gallery, its extension service and the work of various faculties, has served the province well.
Without neglecting universal concerns and techniques, many Newfoundland artists practise distinctive Newfoundland art forms and use local themes. Poets such as E.J. PRATT, painters such as David BLACKWOOD and Christopher and Mary PRATT, theatre groups such as the Mummers Troupe (see MUMMING), novelists such as Margaret DULEY and journalists such as Ray Guy have drawn inspiration from their Newfoundland homes.
The first newspaper published in Newfoundland was the weekly St John's Royal Gazette (1807). By the 1830s several weekly and biweekly newspapers were established in St John's and in the major outports. They were highly politicized, reflecting and perhaps aggravating the political, religious and social tensions that periodically upset 19th-century Newfoundland. Among Newfoundland's first daily newspapers were the St John's Daily News and Newfoundland Journal of Commerce (established 1860), the Morning Chronicle (established 1862), the St John's Evening Telegram (1879); and the shortlived St John's Free Press and Daily Advertiser (1877) and Daily Ledger (1879).
In 1994 the province had 2 daily newspapers, the Evening Telegram and the Corner Brook Western Star, both part of the Thomson newspaper chain. A number of weekly regional newspapers, all English language, are also published.
Newfoundland's first public radio stations began operation in St John's in the 1920s. By the 1930s radio stations were broadcasting throughout the Island. In April 1949 the CBC began its Newfoundland operation and initiated FM broadcasting in 1975. The province's first TV station, CJON, was opened in 1955; originally a CBC affiliate, it became associated with the national CTV network in 1964 after the CBC opened its own St John's TV studios. Cable TV on the Island dates from 1977. The largest cable company is Cable Atlantic, which has stations in Corner Brook, Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor, Port aux Basques and St John's.
People have lived in the area covered by the modern province since at least 7000 BC. Archaeological research suggests that the Maritime Archaic people were present from at least that time. There is much evidence of INUIT presence before the European occupation, especially in northern areas, and of other native peoples both on the Island and in Labrador.
The Island native peoples, the Beothuk, were periodically encountered by European settlers. The best known were 2 women, Mary March (DEMASDUWIT) and SHAWNADITHIT, who were captured in 1819 and brought to St John's. They soon died, presumably of European diseases. Very little is known about Beothuk society and even less about Beothuk history.
At the end of the 10th century, NORSE, including Leif ERICSSON, made several voyages of exploration from Greenland to overseas lands to the west and southwest, and established a temporary settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows on the Great Northern Peninsula of the Island. In 1497 John CABOT, a Venetian navigator, sailed on a voyage of discovery for Henry VII of England and discovered new lands, which are believed to have been between Nova Scotia and Labrador and included a "new isle." In 1500 the Portuguese explorer Gaspar CORTE-REAL made a more thorough exploration and named several bays and capes along the east coast of the Island. In 1535-36 Jacques CARTIER demonstrated that Newfoundland was an island by sailing through CABOT STRAIT as well as the Strait of Belle Isle. And in 1583, Sir Humphrey GILBERT sailed into St John's Harbour and claimed the Island for England.
Europeans had been exploiting the rich cod stocks off the coast of Newfoundland since shortly after John Cabot's voyage. During the 16th century this was a migratory fishery with crews from ports in France, Spain, Portugal and England sailing each spring and returning in the fall with salt cod. Starting in the 1540s, Basques from France and Spain also carried on WHALING operations on the south coast of Labrador. Although England was involved in some of the earliest voyages to Newfoundland, its role in the migratory fishery was small before the 1570s. However, war in Europe crippled the other nations' fisheries and opened up markets for English salt cod. By 1600 the English fishery had grown to include approximately 150 ships sailing mostly from West Country ports, and the coast from Trepassey to BONAVISTA had come to be known as the English Shore.
Relative peace in western Europe in the early 17th century resulted in various attempts to settle the east coast of North America. Well known for its fishery in many western European ports, Newfoundland was an obvious choice for a colony. The first colony was founded by the LONDON AND BRISTOL COMPANY at Cupers Cove (now CUPIDS) in Conception Bay in 1610. By 1618 some of the Bristol merchants had established a second colony, called Bristol's Hope, at Harbour Grace. In 1621, George CALVERT began a settlement at FERRYLAND, and CARBONEAR was settled by at least 1627. Over the next 50 years settlement gradually expanded and by 1675, there were 1655 people living in 31 small fishing villages on the English Shore.
The tradition of appointing the master of the first fishing vessel to arrive in a harbour each spring the "admiral" of that place dates back to the 16th century. However, despite popular belief, it seems that these "FISHING ADMIRALS" usually restricted their activities to various fishery related matters. In the first half of the 17th century, the various proprietary governors, such as John Guy at Cupids and David KIRKE at Ferryland, were responsible for maintaining order among the colonists; and during England's Interregnum (England was without a monarchy from 1649-1660) Parliament appointed a commissioner, John Treworgie, to oversee the Island's affairs. However, despite various petitions from some of the more prominent settlers, little attention was paid to the Island's governance between 1660 and 1697.
Certain elements in the West Country fishery objected to year-round settlement and some legislation was passed in an effort restrict it. In 1675 those opposed to settlement persuaded the English government to order all the settlers to leave. However, John Berry, the naval commander sent out to enact this policy, soon realized that any such attempt was futile and became a staunch defender of settlement, arguing that the planters were both an asset to the migratory fishery and a defense against the French. Two years later the English Privy Council recognized the settlers' right to remain in Newfoundland.
In 1662, the first French colony was established in Newfoundland at PLACENTIA. Over the next 20 years, a number of other settlements grew up and by 1687 there were more than 600 French settlers in Newfoundland and on the nearby island of SAINT-PIERRE. War between England and France broke out in 1689 and continued with only a short respite until 1713. It was during these conflicts, known to the English as King William's War and Queen Anne's War, that the issue of who would control Newfoundland was finally decided.
The French launched 2 devastating campaigns. In the winter of 1696-1697 a French force and some native allies, led by Pierre Le Moyne d'IBERVILLE, destroyed almost all the English settlements. However, the French failed to consolidate their victory and by the summer of 1697 the settlements were re-occupied and a British garrison had been established at St John's. In the winter and spring of 1705 another French force, led by Jacques Testard de Montigny, destroyed many of the English settlements but it too was a short-lived victory and the English soon returned. Despite the devastation of the French attacks, the Treaty of UTRECHT, signed in 1713, awarded Newfoundland to England and left the French with fishing rights to the FRENCH SHORE, a section of the coast between Cape Bonavista and Point Riche. In 1762, at the end of the SEVEN YEARS' WAR, the French captured St John's briefly and used it as a base to attack other settlements, but the British soon drove them off.
King William's Act, issued in 1699, recognized the rights of settlers but made no allowance for a settled government. Instead it confirmed the position of the fishing admirals and gave the commanders of the Royal Naval ships that accompanied the English fishing fleet the right to act as appeal judges. Over the course of the 18th century the Royal Navy was to become the dominant judicial and political force in Newfoundland.
In 1729 Newfoundland's first naval governor, Captain Henry Osborne, was appointed. The naval governors sailed to Newfoundland each spring and returned to England in the fall. To maintain order during the rest of the year, Osborne divided the Island into 6 judicial districts, and justices of the peace and constables were appointed from among the local population. Twenty-one years later, the first court of oyer and terminer (hear and determine) was held at St John's with a jury made up of local residents. By 1776 a customs house was built at St John's to regulate trade and suppress smuggling, and in 1792 a Supreme Court of Judicature was established.
The removal of the French in 1713 led to an expansion of English settlement beyond the original English Shore. Along the south coast, settlement spread into ST MARY'S, PLACENTIA and Fortune bays. Settlement also expanded northwest onto the French Shore. FOGO ISLAND and TWILLINGATE, both in Notre Dame Bay, were settled in 1728 and 1732 respectively.
There were a few Irish settlers among the first colonists in Newfoundland but the majority was English. More Irish arrived in the latter part of the 17th century. These were mostly female servants, many of whom married local servants and planters. Some of the Irishmen among the soldiers stationed in St John's in 1697 also settled on the Island. By the 1720s Irish servants were arriving in Newfoundland in considerable numbers. This mixture of West Country English and Irish cultures has continued to shape the identity of the Island's people down to the present day.
By 1775 the population of Newfoundland had risen to nearly 12 000. Although the cod fishery remained the main industry, increased population led to a more diversified economy: logging, shipbuilding, trapping, salmon fishing and SEALING all came to play a more important role, and the demand for a variety of skilled tradesmen increased. This period also saw the beginning of a seasonal fishery between Newfoundland and Labrador and merchants establishing premises on the Labrador coast to collect furs and exploit the cod, salmon and seal fisheries.
The French Revolution (1789-1799) and Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) saw dramatic change in Newfoundland. The English migratory fishery ground to a halt and never fully recovered as the dangers of a trans-Atlantic crossing increased and many West Country fishermen were pressed into the British Navy. Increased danger at sea also meant that many more people chose to remain on the Island, thus spurring population growth. The defeat of the French in Spain in 1811 reopened the markets in southern Europe for Newfoundland salt cod and initiated an economic boom that saw many new arrivals, especially from Ireland. By the time peace arrived in 1815, the Newfoundland population had risen to more than 40 000 and the fishery was firmly in the hands of the resident population.
Once a significant permanent population was established, petitions for better government and local representation increased. Dr William Carson and Patrick Morris, through a campaign of pamphlets and petitions to Britain, succeeded in having representative government established in 1832, with the objective to obtain RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT and full colonial status, which was finally achieved in 1855.
Settlement increased throughout the 19th century. The salt-cod fishery was the principal occupation and the mainstay of the economy, and there was some logging, mining and agriculture. In the late 1800s the transinsular railway began to open up the interior, and goods and services became accessible to many parts formerly isolated in winter.
Representatives of the various Newfoundland governments attended the CONFEDERATION conferences, but they chose not to join, despite substantial support of the movement. When the French fishing rights were revoked in 1904, the northern and western coasts became available for settlement.
Until about 1925 the economy was based on the primary industries - fishing, mining, and pulp and paper - but debts incurred through building railways and supporting a regiment in World War I, coupled with the Great Depression after 1929, produced bankruptcy and government collapse. Newfoundland was forced to beg Britain for assistance and eventually reassumed colonial status under a COMMISSION OF GOVERNMENT.
The economy recovered remarkably towards the end of the 1930s, mainly because of increasing demand for products of the sea, mines and forests, and because of increased activity in defence-based construction in anticipation of World War II. During the war many young people joined the armed forces overseas, and at home there was full employment. The US, Canada and Britain established several army bases, 2 large naval bases and 5 airports in Newfoundland. Gander was the largest and most important airport because of its role in the transatlantic Ferry Command. When the Commission government was dissolved in 1949, it had cleared all debts and left a surplus of over $40 million.
After World War II a national convention was elected to debate the question of Newfoundland's future and to make recommendations. It was decided to hold a referendum through which the people would make a choice between the Commission government, Confederation with Canada, or a return to responsible government and Dominion status. The referendum proved inconclusive except that Newfoundlanders were unwilling to retain the Commission government. A second referendum with the options of Confederation or Dominion was then held. An intensive campaign ensued between the confederates, led by Joseph R. Smallwood, and the anticonfederates, which the confederates won by a narrow margin, 52% to 48%. Canada accepted Newfoundland at midnight on 31 March 1949 and Smallwood became premier of the first provincial government.
The next 2 decades witnessed dramatic and substantial changes in the economy and in the lifestyle of Newfoundlanders. The fishing industry was revolutionized as dozens of fresh-fish-processing plants were established on all coasts and as they gradually all but replaced the old method of the family-run enterprise of catching, salting and sun-curing cod for sale to Caribbean and Mediterranean areas. Draggers operating offshore on the Banks, and smaller boats in the near-shore and inshore waters, could now catch a variety of species for delivery to the plants, where the fish were quick-frozen for new markets, chiefly in the US. The number of fishermen declined greatly and opportunity for shore work in the plants increased.
The pulp and paper mills at Corner Brook and Grand Falls substantially increased production, and mines at Buchans, St Lawrence and Wabana worked to capacity. New industries were launched with government backing and although most failed - including a steel mill, a rubber-goods plant, a leather-products plant and a knitting mill - a few succeeded, notably the plasterboard mill and cement plant at Corner Brook, the particle-board mill near St John's and the phosphorus plant at Long Harbour, Placentia Bay. A huge oil refinery at Come by Chance at first failed (1973-76) but has been producing oil since 1987, mainly for export to the United States.
The huge iron ore mines of western Labrador came into production in the 1950s. Since World War II many people have moved from small communities to large towns and growth centres. As chances for local employment diminished, young people left the province at an annual rate of about 5000. With opportunities accessible through cheap transportation by land, air and sea, they moved on, most to central or western Canada. The population that was 289 588 in 1935 had risen to 568 349 by 1986, but growth had slowed.
The impact of the economic recessions of the late 1970s, early 1980s and early 1990s were keenly felt in Newfoundland, although there was no comparison with the desperate conditions of the Great Depression in the early 1930s. Unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, social assistance and other benefits of the welfare state ensured decent living and health standards.
High unemployment most severely affected the young and there was again considerable out-migration in the late 1990s and early 2000s as people sought employment in western Canada's booming economy. In 2006 the province's population stood at 505 469. The development of the Voisey's Bay nickel mine in northern Labrador and offshore oil production since 1997 have reversed the long-term trend of annual deficit budgets for the province. Increased economic activity, especially in the St John's metropolitan region, has contributed to the province experiencing in-migration. Journalistic articles of the 1990s of despair and out-migration have given way to optimism that better economic times are ahead.
Author W.F. SUMMERS Revised: MELVIN BAKER
D. Alexander, "Newfoundland's Traditional Economy and Development to 1934," Acadiensis (Spring 1976); J.K. Hiller and P. Neary, eds, Newfoundland in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (1980); H. Horwood, Newfoundland (1969); H. Ingstad, Westward to Vinland (1969); J. Mannion, ed, The Peopling of Newfoundland (1977); S.J.R. Noel, Politics in Newfoundland (1970); F.W. Rowe, Education and Culture in Newfoundland (1976) and A History of Newfoundland and Labrador (1980); J.R. Smallwood, ed, Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador (vols I & II, 1981) and The Book of Newfoundland ( vols I-VI, 1967); W.F. Summers and M.E. Summers, Geography of Newfoundland (1965); J.A. Tuck, Aboriginal Inhabitants of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula (nd) and Newfoundland and Labrador Prehistory (1976).
Links to Other Sites
The website for the Historica-Dominion Institute, parent organization of The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Check out their extensive online feature about the War of 1812, the "Heritage Minutes" video collection, and many other interactive resources concerning Canadian history, culture, and heritage.
Island of Newfoundland slowly sinking, says geographer
A CBC News story about the gradual sinking of the island of Newfoundland.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The official website of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Symbols of Canada
An illustrated guide to national and provincial symbols of Canada, our national anthem, national and provincial holidays, and more. Click on "Historical Flags of Canada" and then "Posters of Historical Flags of Canada" for additional images. From the Canadian Heritage website.
Newfoundland and Labrador Collections
Newfoundland and Labrador Collections at the Memorial University Libraries. Check the menu on the right side of the page for links to the "Digital Archives Inititative" and much more.
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
The official site devoted to the preservation and conservation of Newfoundland and Labrador history.
Newfoundland & Labrador
A tourism guide to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. A Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website.
The Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
Check out the many heritage sites that have earned the Manning Award for Excellence in the Public Presentation of Historic Places.
Selected Topics in Newfoundland and Labrador Studies
Click on the links to access illustrated study guides about the culture and heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador. From the Goverment of Newfoundland and Labrador.
MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
This site features transcriptions and audio clips of traditonal Cape Breton and Newfoundland folk songs in the Leach collection. Click on the menu items on the home page for a biography of MacEdward Leach, profiles of singers, commentary about the historical significance of local tunes and music genres, and more. From the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive.
Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage
An extensive information source about the history, geography, population, culture, and society of Newfoundland and Labrador. Produced by the Memorial University of Newfoundland and the C.R.B. Foundation.
Point Amour Lighthouse
This website highlights the historic Point Amour Lighthouse located on the south coast of Labrador. Be sure to check out the harrowing stories about the fate of the HMS Raleigh and other nearby shipwrecks.
Watch the Heritage Minute about explorer John Cabot from the Historica-Dominion Institute. See also related online learning resources.
Maps of provinces and territories from "The Atlas of Canada," Natural Resources Canada.
Maritime History Archive
A searchable database and and online virtual exhibits about the maritime history of Canada's north Atlantic region. The "Shipwrecks" section features historical photos of prominent shipwrecks. From Memorial University.
Cape Spear National Historic Site
This Parks Canada website highlights the history of the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland.
Dorset-Norse Interactions in the Canadian Eastern Arctic
An exhibit features archaeological evidence related to Norse expeditions to North America. From the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
The Tenth Province
This website provides in-depth commentary about Joseph Smallwood and Newfoundland politics from 1949 to 1972. Produced by Melvin Baker at Memorial University.
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.
L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site
The Parks Canada site for L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, the only authenticated Viking settlement in North America. Also includes information about historic Aboriginal settlements.
Geographical Names of Canada
Search the "Canadian Geographical Names Data Base" for the official name of a city, town, lake (or any other geographical feature) in any province or territory in Canada. See also the real story of how Toronto got its name. A Natural Resources Canada website.
Interesting photos and notes about lighthouses in Newfoundland.
An overview of the major issues and events leading up to Newfoundland's entry into Confederation. Includes biographies of prominent personalities, old photos and related archival material. From Library and Archives Canada.
Learn how Newfoundland became part of Canada in this “Confederation for Kids” website. Features old photos and maps. From Library and Archives Canada.
A history of the "census" in Canada. Check the menu on the left for data on small groups (such as lone-parent families, ethnic groups, industrial and occupational categories and immigrants) and for information about areas as small as a city neighbourhood or as large as the entire country. From the website for Statistics Canada.
The Grand Banks
This fact-filled website about the Grand Banks of Newfoundland explains why it is one of the richest fishing grounds in the world. From Parks Canada.
Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. Check out the links to various attractions throughout the province.
Dictionary of Newfoundland English
Do you know what a “bangbelly” is? Find out by consulting this extensive online regional lexicon of Newfoundland and coastal Labrador English. From the "Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage" website.
The 1929 Magnitude 7.2 Grand Banks Earthquake and Tsunami
An illustrated overview of the damage caused by the 1929 Grand Banks earthquake and tsunami. From Natural Resources Canada.
View digital exhibits and other resources devoted to the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. From The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery.
450 Years of Making Fish
This online exhibit features a wide variety of archival images, texts, video and audio clips, and links that tell the story of the salt-fish processing industry. Also features a glossary of key terms. From the Newfoundland and Labrador website "The Rooms."
Ann and Seamus
About the narrative poem "Ann and Seamus" which told the story of Ann Harvey's heroic rescue of desperate Irish passengers from the "Dispatch," a vessel that was shipwrecked off the coast of Newfoundland in 1828. A Manitoba Library Association website.
Ann and Seamus
The website for the folk opera “Ann and Seamus,” based on the true story of seventeen-year-old Ann Harvey's heroic rescue of stranded passengers from a shipwreck in 1828.
Sir Humphrey Gilbert
A biography of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Elizabethan explorer who annexed Newfoundland to England. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
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.
IcebergFinder.com offers an online guide to viewing icebergs in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Find out how fast icebergs can move and other fascinating facts about these towering masses of ice. From Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador.
National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials
A searchable database of over 5,100 Canadian military memorials. Provides photographs, descriptions, and the wording displayed on plaques. Also a glossary of related terms. A website from the Directorate of History and Heritage.
Francophones of Newfoundland and Labrador
Search for or browse topics and locations at this extensively illustrated online exhibit that explores the enduring legacy of early French settlers and fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador. Features many historic images of the Placentia region. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Glossary: Geological Terms
A glossary of terms commonly used in geological science. A Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website.
Glossary: Architectural Terms
A glossary of architectural terms related to heritage structures in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Glossary: Fisheries Heritage Structures
A glossary of terms related to fisheries heritage structures in Newfoundland and Labrador. From the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Names of the provinces and territories
Abbreviations and symbols for the names of the provinces and territories. From the website for Natural Resources Canada.
Check out the profiles of communities on the Baie Verte peninsula. From the website for the Emerald Zone Corporation.
Newfoundland Historic Trust
The Newfoundland Historic Trust is a membership driven organization dedicated to the preservation of the built heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador through research, advocacy and education.
Silk Robes and Sou'westers: A History of Law and the Courts in Newfoundland
An in-depth review of the legal history of colonial Newfoundland. From the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage website.
Thalour du Perron
A brief profile of Thalour du Perron, governor of Plaisance (Placentia). From the website "Government House: The Governship of Newfoundland and Labrador."
The website for the Alder Institute Inc., a non-profit collective dedicated to educating the public about environmental issues pertaining to Newfoundland and Labrador. Click on "Open Air: Natural History Radio from Newfoundland and Labrador" for an archive of "Open Air" radio programs.
Theatre Newfoundland Labrador
The website for Theatre Newfoundland Labrador, home to the Gros Morne Theatre Festival and other theatrical performances, a youth theatre program, and more.
A brief note about the observance of Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador. From Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Alwyn Ruddock: John Cabot and the Discovery of America
An analysis of Dr. Alwyn Ruddock's research on the North American discovery voyages of John and Sebastian Cabot. From the "Wiley InterScience" website.
Reader's Guide to the History of Newfoundland and Labrador
An extensive history of Newfoundland and Labrador (to 1869). Includes numerous links to primary sources and other online publications. From Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.
The Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive
The website for the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive. Check out the listings of archival material related to Newfoundland folk music, culture, and heritage.
Edward Burtynsky: Oil
View a collection of superb Edward Burtynsky photographs depiciting the oil industry. From the CBC website.
Sir John Harvey
View an illustrated biography of military officer and colonial administrator Sir John Harvey. From the website "The New Brunswick Land Company & The Settlement of Stanley and Harvey."
A History of Newfoundland from the English, Colonial, and Foreign Records
See page 387 (and 393) for an overview of how the War of 1812 benefited the Newfoundland economy, page 389 for brief notes about privateering during the War of 1812, and page 390 for a reference to a unusual circumstance in the capture of American frigate Chesapeake by HMS Shannon. From Memorial University Digital Archives Initiative. Note: A very large PDF document - long download time.
Frederic Bowker Terrington Carter
A biography of Frederic Bowker Terrington Carter, lawyer, politician, and judge. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
A 1945 speech to the Empire Club that offers some basic lessons in Newfoundland history.
Blackwood on the Tradition of Mummering
See an image of David Blackwood's 1979 print "Lone Mummer Inside". Also, listen to a brief podcast in which Blackwood talks about Newfoundland’s long tradition of mummering, a theme depicted in some of his paintings. And, check out the link to a fine NFB film "Blackwood" about his printmaking techniques and life in his home community. From the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador (Volume Three)
See an online copy of "Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador: Volume Three."
Dictionary of Newfoundland English turns 30
Watch local residents talk about their favourite Newfoundland words in this CBC TV News story about the Dictionary of Newfoundland English.
Greg Malone probes how N.L. became Canada's 10th province
A feature article about Greg Malone's book "Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders: The True Story of Newfoundland's Confederation with Canada," which offers newly revealed information about government negotiations that led to Newfoundland and Labrador becoming Canada's 10th province.