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This is about the island in Canada. For the Canadian province formerly and still colloquially known as Newfoundland, see Newfoundland and Labrador. For other meanings of Newfoundland, see Newfoundland (disambiguation).

Newfoundland is a large island off the north-east coast of North America, and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. (The province was called "Newfoundland" until 2001.)

Newfoundland is separated from the Labrador Peninsula by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Cape Breton Island by the Cabot Strait. It blocks the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, creating the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world's largest estuary.

It is 111,390 km2 in area, making it the world's 15th largest island. The provincial capital, St. John's, is found on the southeastern tip of the island. Cape Spear, just south of the capital, is the easternmost point of Canada. The island of Newfoundland has an approximate population of 470,000.

The word 'Newfoundland' is pronounced by Canadians with the second syllable slurred and the accent on the first, (as 'NEW-f'nd-land'). Newfoundland has a dialect of English known as Newfoundland English.

The popular 1993 novel by Annie Proulx, The Shipping News, was mostly set in northernmost Newfoundland.


Discovery, Colonization, and Settlement

"Newfoundland" (originally, Terra Nova) was named by the Portuguese Joćo Vaz Corte-Real in 1472, making it the oldest European name in North America.

The only authenticated Viking settlement in North America was discovered on this island by Norwegian explorer Dr. Helge Ingstad and his archaeologist wife, Anne Stine Ingstad, at L'Anse aux Meadows in 1960. The site of a multi-year archaeological dig, the settlement dating to more than 500 years before Christopher Columbus contains the earliest European structures in North America. Named a World Heritage site by UNESCO, it is believed to be the legendary Vinland settlement of explorer Leif Ericson.

After the Vikings, the first European visitors to Newfoundland were Portuguese and English migratory fishermen. Late in the 17th century came Irish fishermen, who named the island Talamh an Éisc, meaning "land of the fish", or "the fishing grounds" in Irish Gaelic. This was to foreshadow the centuries of importance of Newfoundland's offshore fishing waters.

Newfoundland was explored by Didrik Pining in 1472 (together with Joćo Vaz Corte-Real) and later by Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524, whose expedition was financed by the citizens of Lyon, under the auspices of King Franēois I of France.

On July 5, 1610, John Guy set sail from Bristol, England with 39 other colonists for Newfoundland. However, early attempts at permanent colonization failed, and only with the growth of the annual migratory fishery from southwest England and southeast Ireland were early permanent settlements established.

French and Basque colonists also arrived to settle on the west coast of Newfoundland. The French called it Terre Neuve.

The name Newfoundland is one of the oldest European place names in Canada in continuous geographical and cartographical use, dating from a 1502 letter, and clearly stated in the following early poem:

A Skeltonicall continued ryme, in praise of my New-found-Land

Although in cloaths, company, buildings faire

With England, New-found-land cannot compare:

Did some know what contentment I found there,

Alwayes enough, most times somewhat to spare,

With little paines, lesse toyle, and lesser care,

Exempt from taxings, ill newes, Lawing, feare,

If cleane, and warme, no matter what you weare,

Healthy, and wealthy, if men carefull are,

With much-much more, then I will now declare,

(I say) if some wise men knew what this were

(I doe beleeue) they'd live no other where.

From 'The First Booke of Qvodlibets'

Composed and done at Harbor-Grace in

Britaniola, anciently called Newfound-Land

By Governor Robert Hayman - 1628.

Further reading

  • Gibbons, Henry K. 1997. The Myth and Mystery of John Cabot: The Discoverer of North America. Marten Cat Publishers, Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland.
  • Harris, Michael. 1992. Rare Ambition: The Crosbies of Newfoundland. Penguin. ISBN: 0-14-023220-6

Points of Interest and Major Settlements

Being one of the first places discovered in the New World, Newfoundland has a rich history. St. John's is considered to be the oldest city in North America.

Gros Morne National Park is located on the west coast of Newfoundland and was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 due to its complex geology and remarkable scenery. It is the largest national park in Atlantic Canada at 1,805 km² (697 sq. mi. ).

Stephenville, a town of about 8000, once served as an airport base for the US army in the early 1940s. It is about 20 miles north of its former train station, which is surrounded by the town of Stephenville Crossing.

Also on the West Coast, Corner Brook is situated in the Bay of Islands region. The major industry in Corner Brook is logging, and is serviced by the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Mill.

Sandy Point, which is located in Bay Saint George and north of the town of St. George's , was the first and largest settlement of the west coast. However, the last settler, Alphonsus Swyers, was forced to abandon in 1973.

Barachois Brook Park is a provincial park that is considered to be a model forest .

Marble Mountain is a major attraction in the winter for skiers. It is said to be the best skiing east of the Rocky Mountains.

In March, the annual seal hunt (of the harp seal) takes place.

Newfoundland is also host to a well-recognized university, Memorial University of Newfoundland, based in St. John's.

Largest communities (2001 population)

  1. St. John's (98,182)
  2. Mount Pearl (24,964)
  3. Corner Brook (20,103)
  4. Conception Bay South (19,772)
  5. Grand Falls-Windsor (13,340)
  6. Gander (9,651)
  7. Paradise (9,598)
  8. Stephenville (7,109)
  9. Marystown (5,908)
  10. Portugal Cove-St. Philip's (5,866)
  11. Torbay (5,474)
  12. Bay Roberts (5,237)
  13. Clarenville (5,104)
  14. Deer Lake (4,769)
  15. Carbonear (4,759)
  16. Channel-Port aux Basques (4,637)
  17. Placentia (4,426)
  18. Bonavista (4,021)
  19. Bishop's Falls (3,688)

See Also

Last updated: 10-10-2005 08:31:37
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