Newfoundland and Labrador is an island located in the most north, easterly point of Canada. This province is deep rooted in fishing with a very rich history and culture to boot. Now it you ever had the opportunity to live or travel there; you would experience a very “different feel” than in any other part of our country. Who played a big role in Newfoundland Emmigration?How did this all come about..you say?
Who Discovered Nfld
There are recent discoveries of a Norse prescence in the area around 1000ad. This was in and around the northern tip of the province, at L’anse aux Meadows. However; for many years all historical recordings of settlers to the area were documented once John Cabot was in the area; in 1497. At this time; his trip to the area was commissioned by the King of England to discover new lands. Shortly thereafter; many European fishing vessels expanded their fishing to the area. Word soon spread that Newfoundland had the best fishing in all of the great North Atlantic. Cod became King!
Supply and Demand
Cod was in abundance! The fishing industry had the potential for great prosperity. Naturally the cod had to be dried and salted before being sent back over the Atlantic. So as a result of the supply and demand; many seasonal settlements began appearing all around the Island’s coast. Fishing and export was booming!
Cod is King
England realized that fishing was a major resource here. They sent Sir Humphrey Gilbert to the easterly coast of St. John’s in 1538. He formally took posession of the island for England. France; also wanting a piece of the action, appointed their own governor. He set up operations in Placentia; in 1655. So there you have it! A major international stand off between two major world powers. Whoever controlled the Island would control the fishing industry.
Treaty of Utrecht
European people were wanting to emmigrate to the area because of the opportunities presented. They were reluctant due to the political situation between the French and the English. Nothing was settled until 1713 when the French signed the Treaty of Utrecht. This treaty gave the French the right to land and cure fish on the western coast of Newfoundland only. It also gave them the island if St. Pierre and Miquelon on which to set up a permanent base. Port Royal; in present day Nova Scotia, fell to the English in 1710. England then controlled the whole of the North Atlantic Coast. As a result they controlled the fishing industry.
The English settlers soon began emmigrating to Newfoundland. However; the process was slow due to the haphazard economy and lack of infrastructure on the island. It was not until the 1800’s that things picked up. A banking system was established and prosperity was booming. Emmigration to Newfoundland increased extensively all along the Islands coastal waters. The Irish began to flock to the area during the Potato Famine and soon made up 40% of the population. Even today Newfoundland has about 80% of its population within a stones throw of the coast. This leaves a vast part of the interior of the province undeveloped and under populated.
Kiss the Cod
Now in most areas, oil can drive an economy. But when you look at Newfoundland; the economy was driven by one little fish. COD! So what drove the emmigration in Newfoundland you say? Well now you know! That one little fish! So when you venture there; its tradition to honor their cod. Its the backbone of the economy and who they are. Honor the people with The Kissing of the Cod and become one with the Newfoundlanders.