Newfoundland and Labrador History
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, London and Bristol merchants established the first colony at Cupids.
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.
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
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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Newfoundland and Labrador became the 10th and last province of Canada by a very slim margin of votes in 1949.
Newfoundland and Labrador Today
The province, when it joined the Canadian Confederation was referred to as Newfoundland. On December 6, 2001, an amendment was made to the Constitution of Canada to change the province's official name to Newfoundland and Labrador.
An ongoing battle between federal government and Newfoundland and Labrador over oil royalties resulted in the Canadian flag being removed from all provincial buildings in late 2004. In early 2005, the flags were flown again after the federal government signed an agreement granting all oil revenues to the province.
Newfoundland and Labrador is spread over a huge landmass, divided into two geographical parts, separated by the Strait of Belle Isle.
Over half the population lives in fishing villages along the coast, with the remaining people living in cities and towns.
Visitors to Newfoundland and Labrador generally describe the experience as "unique". Its unusual geography, untamed wilderness, fjords, whale watching, quaint villages and rugged coastline are just a few of the reasons travelers say "prepare to be lost and found" in Newfoundland and Labrador.
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