Newfoundland and Labrador DescriptionNewfoundland and Labrador History
Newfoundland and Labrador's inhabitants can be traced back over 9,000 years to the Maritime Archaic Indians, appropriately named due to their reliance on the sea.
Over the years, they were displaced by the Palaeoeskimo people, the L'nu, Innui and Innuit in Labrador and the Beothuks on Newfoundland.
Newfoundland and Labrador was the first area of North America's Atlantic coastline to be explored by Europeans, beginning with the Vikings in 1001.
British explorer, John Cabot, arrived in Newfoundland at Bonavista in 1497 and claimed the land as a British colony for King Henry VIII. In 1610, the first colony was established at Cupids by London and Bristol merchants.
Immigrants from Europe who settled in Newfoundland relied heavily on the exporting of fish, giving them contact to many places around the Atlanticrim, but isolated from the mainland of Canada and its neighbor, the United States.
French fisherman established Plaisance and started formal colonization of Newfoundland. This lasted until the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, with France ceding its claims in Newfoundland to England, along with the French possessions in Acadia. Most of the French population relocated to Ile Royale (now Cape Breton Island) in Nova Scotia.
Immigration was slow and it was after 1760, when migrants from England's and southeast Ireland settled, creating the basic population mix that is still in place today.
Following the Seven Years' War, the British Government organized new territories, including making Labrador a part of Quebec in the 1774 Quebec Act. In 1809, the Labrador Act transferred Labrador to Newfoundland.
Struggles, Wars and Fame
Newfoundland was granted a Representative Government in 1832, and Philip Frances Little was elected prime minister. The provincial capital was established in St. John's.
One hundred years later, in 1933, Newfoundland had run out of money resulting in the closing of the House of Assembly and marking the end of the Representative Government. It finally requested British aid and a royal commission recommended that the responsible government be replaced with a commission form of government. This commission, comprised of three Britons and three Newfoundlanders along with a governor, maintained control until 1949.
In the early 20th century, aviation pioneers made the island of Newfoundland a popular destination for pilots who wished to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The Americanpilot, Amelia Earhart, completed the world's first transatlantic solo flight by a woman in 1932, taking off from Harbour Grace and landing in Northern Ireland.
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