What’s Newfoundland?

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Newfoundland is a Canadian province consisting of the islands of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has a population of 568,000 and major industries include fishing, mining, oil production, and tourism. Its history dates back over 4,000 years and it was the last of Canada’s provinces to join the Canadian Confederation in 1949.

Newfoundland is a province in eastern Canada and includes the islands of Newfoundland and Labrador. Located on the Atlantic coast, the province measures 156,184 square miles (404,517 sq km) and is home to 568,000 people. The capital is St John’s, a city located on the eastern tip of the island of Newfoundland. It was the last of Canada’s ten provinces to join the Canadian Confederation, which it was admitted to in 1949. Because of the province’s geography – the Strait of Belle Isle divides the island of Newfoundland from mainland Labrador – the province has , since 2001, commonly referred to as “Newfoundland and Labrador”.

The history of Newfoundland dates back over 4,000 years when first the Seafaring Archaic people and then the Paleo-Eskimos arrived in Northern Labrador. The two people were not related, possessed different physical characteristics and spoke different languages. The arrival of the Paleo-Eskimos spelled the end of the Seafaring Archaic people. Archaeologists believe that they were assimilated into the Paleo-Eskimo population or, more likely, died out as a result of Paleo-Eskimo hegemony. However, records suggest that some of these seafarers survived, especially along Belle Isle Strait; and it is probable that it was these people that the first Europeans, the Vikings, encountered when they reached the east coast of the island of Newfoundland in AD 1000

Newfoundland was to become the first English colony when in 1583 Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed the province for the British crown. However, like much of the continent, colonization of the province led to disputes between the British and the French. In 1713, the French finally recognized British sovereignty with France retaining the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. In 1855, the Newfoundlanders achieved autonomy and continued to govern themselves until 1949 when they joined the Canadian Confederation.

Newfoundland’s major industries include fishing, newsprint, mining (iron in Labrador City and Wabush; nickel in Voisey Bay; zinc, copper and gold in Buchans) oil production (in Hibernia), and the tourism. The gross domestic product (GDP) of the province in 2005 was approximately C$14 billion, of which the tourism and service industries contributed the largest amount.

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