The first brief European contact with Newfoundland and Labrador came about 1000 AD when the Vikings briefly settled in L’Anse aux Meadows. Around 1500, European explorers and fishermen from England, Portugal, Netherlands, France, and Spain began exploration.
Poverty and emigration have remained significant themes in Newfoundland history, despite efforts to modernize after 1949. Most efforts failed, and the sudden collapse of the cod fishing industry was a terrific blow in the 1990s. Over the second half of the 20th century, the historic cultural and political tensions between British Protestants and Irish Catholics faded, and a new spirit of a unified Newfoundland identity emerged through songs and popular culture.
Newfoundland and Labrador is the most easterly province of Canada. Situated in the country’s Atlantic region, it comprises the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador to the northwest, with a combined area of 405, 212 square kilometers.
Located at the north-eastern corner of North America, the province is separated into two geographical divisions by the Strait of Belle Isle. Labrador, which is a large area of mainland Canada, and Newfoundland, an island in the Atlantic Ocean. The province also includes over 7,000 tiny islands. It forms the easternmost part of the Canadian Shield, which is a vast area of ancient metamorphic rock.
Newfoundland is roughly triangular in shape. Each side is 400 km long, and its area is 108,860 km2. Whereas, Labrador is irregular in shape, where the western part of its border with Quebec is the drainage divide of the Labrador Peninsula.
The economy of Newfoundland and Labrador was all about Cod, Whales and fur seals, farming and lumbering. Cod, along with herring and lobster was the economic mainstay until the 20th century. The fishes were caught on the island shores along the Labrador coast and especially on the banks and were then taken by the hook-and-line, the seine, the cod-net or gill-net, the cod-trap and the bultow; Brazil and Spain were the largest customers.
Whale hunting was a vital industry around 1900. Initially, slow whales were caught by men from small open boats. Targeting of large and fast-swimming whale species was made possible with Norway mechanization that brought in cannon-fired harpoons, strong cables, and steam winches mounted on maneuverable, steam-powered catcher boats. Seal hunting off the Labrador coast for fur came into being in the late 18th century. Lumbering and farming were two major sources of employment of the economy. Small-scale farming provided vegetables, wool, milk and meat for many fishing families. In 1901, 85,000 acres were under cultivation and produced hay, oats, potatoes, turnips, and cabbages respectively. Sheep grazing was also common in the region.
The province of Canada experiences varied climates and weather due to its geography. The province has been majorly divided into six climate types, but broadly Newfoundland has a cool summer subtype of a humid continental climate, which is greatly influenced by the sea since no part of the island is more than 100 km from the ocean. Northern Labrador is classified as a polar tundra climate, southern Labrador has a subarctic climate.
Newfoundland and Labrador is the ninth-most populous Canadian province/territory. The province has an area of 405,212 square kilometers and a population of 514,563 in 2011, where a majority of the provincial population resided on the Island of Newfoundland, and nearly half of the population resided on the Avalon Peninsula.
The Canadian province’s varied landscape has been shaped by the ice ages, leaving a rugged coastline of deep fjords and high coastal cliffs that plunge into the sea. Inland are miles and miles of moorland and forest studded by lakes and inhabited by moose and herds of caribou. The province has some of the world’s richest fishing grounds.
All around the island’s irregular coast are towns and remote villages attracting tourists with their breathtaking scenery, sea life, and exceptional birding sites. Miles and miles of trails follow the magnificent coast, and historic sites to tour. Tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador was promoted by local development, heritage, and archaeological organizations as a way of restoring the economic base of many outports and villages.
The ethnicity of Newfoundland and Labrador is identified as Canadian ethnocultural ancestry due to the majority of people belonging to the community. Other than that, only two-fifths were identified as belonging to English ancestry, and one-fifth identified with Irish ancestry.
Newfoundland is Canada’s most linguistically homogeneous, with 97.6% of residents reporting English as their mother tongue in the 2006 census. Moreover, it is also considered the De facto language of the Canadian province. Historically, Newfoundland was home to unique varieties of French and Irish, as well as the extinct Beothuk language. In Labrador, local dialects of Innu-aimun and Inuktitut are also spoken.
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