Newfoundland and Labrador History

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1497              Newfoundland rediscovered by John Cabot and claimed for England.

1500s            English, French, Basque, and Portuguese fishermen contested the area.

1534             Jacques Cartier visited Newfoundland.

1583             Sir Humphrey Gilbert reclaimed Newfoundland for England.

1610             First English settlement in St. John’s.

1627             St. Mary’s settled by Lord Culvert.

1662             The first French colony was established in Placentia Bay.

1692             The French captured and burned St. John’s.

1713             By the Treaty of Utrecht, France gave Newfoundland to Britain. 

1713–1783   Treaties recognized British sovereignty but granted French fishermen the right to land and to dry catches along parts of the northern and western coasts.  

1832             First election held for the local House of Assembly.  

1846             St. John’s was destroyed by fire. 

1855             Newfoundland became a self-governing colony.

1892             St. John’s was destroyed by a second great fire.

1898             A railroad was completed across the island.

1927             The coast of Labrador was awarded to Newfoundland.

1934             A royal commission began governing Newfoundland.

1949             The Province of Newfoundland was formed on 31 March. 

About 93 percent of Newfoundland’s residents have British ancestry and about 3 percent have French ancestry.

Since Newfoundland joined the Canadian Union late (1949), its early organization and records/record keeping differ from other provinces.

Because Newfoundland joined the Canadian Union late (1949), its early organization, records, and record keeping differ from other provinces. Newfoundland has no county or district divisions. Most records are found in the provincial capital, St. John’s.