Newfoundland and Labrador


Newfoundland and Labrador

geographical name

Province, one of the four Atlantic Provinces of Canada. Area: 156,453 sq mi (405,212 sq km). Pop. (2009 est.): 508,990. Capital: St. John's. Consisting of the island of Newfoundland and a mainland sector, Labrador, to the northwest, it is bounded by Quebec and extends into the North Atlantic Ocean. It is the easternmost part of North America. It was originally settled by Indians (First Nations) and Inuit (the Arctic people of Canada known as Eskimo in Alaska). Viking ruins from c. 1000 have been found in the northern part of the island. John Cabot claimed the island for England in 1497; the first colony was established at St. John's in 1583. France and England disputed possession of the area; though England retained control with the 1713 Peace of Utrecht, controversies over fishing rights continued through the 19th century. A province since 1949, it includes the Grand Banks fishing grounds. Fishing, mainly for cod, was virtually the only economic activity until the early 20th century, when western Labrador's vast iron reserves began to be exploited. Fishing subsequently declined considerably with the depletion of stocks, but exploration for offshore petroleum and natural gas and also tourism rose in importance.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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