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L’Anse aux Meadows, a souvenir of Newfoundland and Labrador history

Newfoundland and Labrador History, About Vikings, and a Capital Risen From Its Ashes!

Newfoundland and Labrador history holds so many memories of different incidents. On the contrary with its name, Newfoundland and Labrador is a relatively small province located in the east. It is one of the Atlantic Provinces, so naturally, it was discovered and explored much sooner than provinces in the west. The first time recorded that the Europeans probed the area was before 1000 AD, hundreds of years sooner than British Columbia, located in the west.

In this article, we look into Newfoundland and Labrador history and discuss some of the most eye-catching historical sites left for us to visit today. Be with us to the end of this article, and you will know about them all.

Looking into Newfoundland and Labrador history, events, and dates

Like other provinces’ history, Newfoundland and Labrador history begins with the indigenous people inhabiting the land. But one event makes it stand out among the Canadian provinces. Around 1000 AD, the Vikings visited the land. Have you watched Vinland Saga? Or read about it? Well, here is the real Vinland Saga: Bjarni Herjolfsson saw the shoreline of Labrador, and a few years later, the Vikings returned to establish a settlement there.

Their settlement was short-lived, but the remains are still there to visit. Later in this article, we will talk more about it. In 1497, the well-known sea explorer, John Cabot, landed on Newfoundland. He claimed the land for the British. Jacques Cartier did the same for the French in 1534.

In the 17th century, the British and the French established settlements in the area. By the end of the century, in the 1690s, after several conflicts, the French burnt down the British colony named St. John’s. It was not the only time St. John’s was burnt down; the same happened several times in the 19th century as well. The province’s capital has seen a lot through Newfoundland and Labrador history!!

In the table below, you can read in more detail about the important events and dates of Newfoundland and Labrador history.

Important events and dates in Newfoundland and Labrador history
Before the 15th centuryIndigenous people occupied the area.
981A Viking, Bjarni Herjolfsson, spotted the shores of Labrador.
About 1000 ADVikings established a settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows, which lasted less than a decade.
1497John Cabot landed on Newfoundland, claiming it for England, making it the oldest of Britain’s colonies.
The 15th centuryEuropean fisher ships occupied the waters around Newfoundland.
1534Jacques Cartier claimed the land for the French.
1583Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed the land for the British Crown.
1610The first English settlement was established in St. John’s.
1662The French established their first settlement in Placentia Bay.
1690sAfter many conflicts between the French and the British, the French attacked St. John’s and burned it down.
1713Treaty of Utrecht, France gave Newfoundland to Britain.
1774Quebec Act, the authority of the province was given to Quebec.
1846Fire destroyed St. John’s.
1855Responsible Government was established in Newfoundland.
1892St. John’s was burnt down again.
1927Against Canada’s will, Labrador was granted to Newfoundland by the British Privy Council.
1948Through a referendum, it was decided for Newfoundland to join the Confederation.
1949Newfoundland formally joined Confederation and became a province.
1956The First telephone line over the Atlantic was created between Scotland and Newfoundland.
Newfoundland and Labrador was the last province to join the Confederation. It was not sooner than 1949 that this province was added to Canada officially. Alberta and Saskatchewan are the 2nd latest ones to join, which they did in 1905.

Remaining Monuments of Newfoundland and Labrador history

Here, we will talk about some of the finest historical sites in Newfoundland and Labrador. These sites are like living tales from Newfoundland and Labrador history books, especially the first one:

L’Anse aux Meadows

Around 990 AD, the first voyagers of North America set foot on its soil. The Vikings were the first European people to land in Canada, imprinting their mark on Newfoundland and Labrador history. They established a settlement in Newfoundland but abandoned it. In the 1960s, the remains of their settlement were discovered. In 1978 L’Anse aux Meadows became a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 1968 it was designated as a national historic site.

Cape Spear Lighthouse

Cape Spear Lighthouse is a deactivated lighthouse on Cape Spear, which was built in 1836, in middle of Newfoundland and Labrador history. It served its purpose, guiding vessels from then to 1955. It is the oldest lighthouse in Newfoundland that still exists. In 1962 it was designated as a national historic site.

Cape Spear Lighthouse, a token of Newfoundland and Labrador history

Cape Spear Lighthouse, 2017

Cape Spear Lighthouse, 2013

Cape Spear Lighthouse, 2013

Signal Hill

A token from an important part of the Newfoundland and Labrador history, the site of the last battle in the Seven Years’ War, Signal Hill, could also be called the last French front in North America. Today it’s a national historic site.

On top of the hill lies Cabot Tower, built in 1898, John Cabot’s 400th anniversary of reaching Canada, which served as a radio communication center.

Signal Hill, 2005,a souvenir of Newfoundland and Labrador history

Signal Hill, 2005

Cabot Tower, 2012, a souvenir of Newfoundland and Labrador history

Cabot Tower, 2012

Our final words on Newfoundland and Labrador history

St. John’s was built in 1610. But throughout its history, it has been burnt down several times, and each time hard-working people built it up again. Newfoundland and Labrador history can teach us about perseverance and the value of hard work.

Here we finish our article on Newfoundland and Labrador history, but if you are interested in other provinces’ history, check our other articles about them and leave your feedback. We would be glad to know your opinion, anytime.

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