Newfoundland and Labrador

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Newfoundland and Labrador is a province of Canada that includes all of the island of Newfoundland, as well as Labrador, a large, lightly populated area of mainland which has a border with the Province of Quebec. It was the oldest English dependency in the New World, until 1949, when it joined Canada.[1]

Before 2001 the official name was "Newfoundland," and most people still call it that, for Labrador has only 28,000 people or 6% of the total population. Since World War II, people from Newfoundland are often called "newfies", a term that the locals dislike, and disparaging jokes about stupidity are common in Canada.[2] The capital is St. John's. The total area is 405,720 km2.

Newfoundland became a self-governing dominion in 1855, but lost independence when it went bankrupt in the 1930s, and reverted to the status of a colony ruled by London. Wartime prosperity gave the colony the chance to choose its own future, and after a hotly contested vote it joined Canada in 1949.

The population in 2009 was 509,000, only 1.6% of the national total. Many residents migrate permanently, and in recent years there has been a large temporary migration to the oilfields of Alberta. Since the utter collapse of the cod fisheries in the 1990s, and the failure of various government sponsored industrialization schemes, the economy has been hard-pressed. The per capita provincial income of $CAN 30,500 (2008) is well below the national average.

Newfoundland and Labrador


In 2006 the province had a population of 505,469, and is declining steadily.[3] Newfoundland and Labrador cover 405,720 square kilometers in total.

Population history

In 1654 the number of permanent inhabitants was 1750. In 1680 it reached 2280; in 1763, 7,000; in 1804, 20,000. Immigration boosted the 1832 total to 60,000 in 1832 and 75,094 in 1836, and 124,288 in 1857. Growth continued at a slower pace reaching 161,374 in 1874 and 217,037 in 1901 (including 3947 in Labrador). The capital of St John's, doubled from 15,000 in 1835, to 29,594 in 1901. The religious census of 1901 reported: Roman Catholics, 75,989; Church of England, 73,008; Methodists, 61,388; Presbyterians, 1168; Congregationalists, 954; Salvationists, 6594; Moravians, Baptists and others, 1554.[4]


The school system was denominational until the 1990s, with each church receiving grants in proportion to numerical strength. The budget for 1905 was $196,192, which covered 783 elementary schools and academies with 35,204 students.


Cod, supplemented by herring and lobster, was the economic mainstay until the late 20th century. Around 1900 the average annual export of dried cod-fish over a term of years was about 120,000,000 kilograms, with a value of five to six million dollars. The cod were caught on the shores of the island, along the Labrador coast and especially on "the Banks." These Banks stretch for about 300 m. in a south-east direction towards the centre of the North Atlantic; depths range from 15 to 80 or 90 fathoms. In 1901 41,231 men and 21,443 women were engaged in the catching and curing of fish, about 28% of the labor force, compared to 31% in 1857. They used 1550 small boats, with a tonnage of 54,500. The cod are taken by the hook-and-line, the seine, the cod-net or gill-net, the cod-trap and the bultow; Brazil and Spain were the largest customers.[5]

Farming was a supplement for some fishing families. In 1901, 85,533 acres were cultivated, producing chiefly hay, oats, potatoes, turnips and cabbages. Sheep grazing was common.

In 1901, 195 saw-mills employed 2408 workers with an output of $480,555. The rope-walk in St John's produces rope and line valued at $300,000 annually. Other factories were of minor importance.

When Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, it relinquished jurisdiction over its fisheries to Ottawa; the Supreme Court ruled in 1983 that the federal government also has jurisdiction over offshore oil drilling.

After 1945, the fishing economy was transformed from a predominately labor-intensive inshore, household-based, saltfish-producing enterprise into an industrialized economy dominated by vertically integrated frozen fish companies. These efficient companies needed fewer workers, so about 300 fishing villages, or outports, were abandoned by their residents between 1954 and 1975 as part of a Canadian government-sponsored program known as the Resettlement. Some areas lost 20% of their population, and enrollment in schools dropped even more.

In the 1960s, some 2 billion pounds of cod were harvested annually from the Grand Bank off Newfoundland, the world's largest source of fish. Then disaster hit. The northern cod practically vanished—they were reduced to 1% of their historic spawning biomass. In 1992, the cod fishery was shut down by the Canadian government; cod fishing as a way of life came to an end for 19,000 workers after a 500-year history as a main industry.[6]

The fishing crisis of the 1990s saw the already precarious economic base of the many towns further eroded. The situation was made worse by both federal and provincial pursuit of programs of economic liberalization that sought to limit the role of the state in economic and social affairs. As the effects of the crisis were felt, and established state supports were weakened, tourism was embraced by a growing body of local development and heritage organizations as a way of restoring the shattered economic base of many communities. Limited, short-term funding for some tourism-related projects was provided mostly from government programs, largely as a means of politically managing the structural adjustment that was being pursued.[7]

Whaling became an important industry around 1900. At first slow whales were caught by men hurling harpoons from small open boats. Mechanization copied from Norway brought in cannon-fired harpoons, strong cables, and steam winches mounted on maneuverable, steam-powered catcher boats. They made possible the targeting of large and fast-swimming whale species that were taken to shore-based stations for processing. The industry was highly cyclical, with well-defined catch peaks in 1903–05, 1925–30, 1945–51, and 1966–72, after which worldwide bans shut it down.[8]



The first definite evidence of European contact with North America was that of the medieval Norse sailing from Greenland. For several years after 1000 AD they operated a small village on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, known as L'Anse aux Meadows.[9] Most historians believe explorer John Cabot (1450-1499), commissioned by King Henry VII of England, landed in Nova Scotia in 1497, but some historians have hypothesized he landed in Newfoundland. Sir Humphry Gilbert, provided with letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I, landed in St John's in August 1583, and formally took possession of the island.[10]

17th-18th centuries

Explorers soon realized that the waters around Newfoundland provided the best fishing in the North Atlantic. By 1620, 300 fishing vessels a year worked the Grand Bank, employing some 10,000 sailors; many were French or Basques from Spain. They dried and salted the cod on the coast and sold it to Spain and Portugal. Heavy investment by Sir George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore, in the 1620s in wharves, warehouses, and fishing stations failed to pay off. French raids hurt the business, and the weather was terrible, so he redirected his attention to Maryland colony.[11] After Calvert left small-scale entrepreneurs such as Sir David Kirke made good use of the facilities. Kirke became the first governor in 1639.[12] A triangular trade with New England, the West Indies, and Europe gave Newfoundland an important economic role. By the 1670s there were 1700 permanent residents and another 4500 in the summer months.

The "admiral" system, by which the first captain arriving in a particular bay was in charge of allocating suitable shoreline sites for curing fish, was slowly replaced after 1700. Fishing-boat captains tried to arrive early from Europe each season in an attempt to become the admiral; soon merchant companies left crewmen behind at the prime shoreline locations to lay claim to the sites. This was a precursor to the establishment of private property and led to "bye-boat" fishing, wherein local, small-boat crews fished certain spots for the summer, claimed a strip of land as their own, and sold their catches to the migratory fishers. Bye-boat fishing then led to increased residency on the island, which in turn led to the elimination of migratory fishing enterprises as resident fishing became more profitable in the 18th century.[13]

The fishing admirals ruled until 1729, when the Royal Navy sent in its officers to govern during the fishing season.

By the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), France acknowledged that Newfoundland belonged to the British Empire, but French fishermen were given the right to land and cure fish on the "French Shore" on the western coast. They had a permanent base on nearby St. Pierre and Miquelon islands; the French gave up their rights in 1904. In 1783, the British signed the Treaty of Paris with the United States that gave American fishermen similar rights along the coast. These rights were reaffirmed by treaties in 1818, 1854 and 1871 and confirmed by arbitration in 1910.

19th century

Cod fishing remained dominant but sealing also became important after 1820, as specially designed ships sailed each spring to intercept the great herds of seals on their annual southern migrations. The northern outports grew in importance ("outport" is used for all fishing ports except St. John's). By the 1850s new formed local banks became a source of credit, replacing the haphazard system of credit from local merchants. Prosperity brought immigration, especially Catholics from Ireland who soon comprised 40% of the residents.

Newfoundland was now a permanent settlement requiring a more established government. No elections were allowed but courts of law were set up in 1791 and the first civilian governor was appointed in 1817. In 1832 representative government was established with an elected General Assembly and a nominated Legislative Council consisting entirely of royal officials appointed by London. The Assembly and Council clashed repeatedly and after riots between Catholics and Protestants in 1841 the Assembly was suspended. Canada and Nova Scotia obtained "responsible" government in 1848 (whereby the assembly had the final word, not the royal governor), and Newfoundland followed in 1855. Self-government was now a reality. The Liberal Party, based on the Irish Catholic vote, alternated with the Conservatives, with its base among the merchant class and Protestants.[14] With a prosperous population of 120,000, Newfoundlanders decided to pass in 1869 on joining the new confederation of Canada.

Small scale seasonal farming became widespread, and mines began to exploit abundant reserves of lead, copper, zinc, iron, and coal. Railways were opened in the 1880s, with the link from St. John's to Port aux Basques open in 1898. In 1895 Newfoundland again rejected the possibility of joining Canada.

20th century

Sir Robert Bond (1857–1927) was a Newfoundland nationalist who insisted upon the colony's equality of status with Canada, and opposed joining the confederation. Bond promoted the completion of a railway across the island (started in 1881) because it would open access to valuable minerals and timber and reduce the almost total dependence on the cod fisheries. He advocated closer economic ties with the United States, and distrusted London for ignoring the island's viewpoint on the controversial issue of allowing French fisherman to process lobsters on the French Coast, and for blocking a trade deal with the U.S. Bond became Liberal Party leader in 1899 and premier in 1900. In 1904 he helped negotiate the end of all French fishing rights, and was reelected in a landslide. His efforts to restrict the rights of American fishermen failed. His party was badly defeated in 1909 and Bond proved an ineffective opposition leader.[15] Bond formed a coalition with the new Fishermen's Protective Union (FPU), led by William Ford Coaker. Founded in 1908, the FPU promised to increase the incomes of fishermen by breaking the merchants' monopoly on the purchase and export of fish and the retailing of supplies, and wanted to revitalize the fishery through state intervention. It appealed to Protestants, and morphed into a political party in 1912, the Fisherman's Union party.[16] Bond was succeeded as premier by Edward Morris (1859–1935), a prominent Catholic and founder of the new People's Party. Morris began a grandiose program of building branch railways, and adeptly handled the arbitration at the Hague tribunal on American fishing rights. He introduced old-age pensions, and increased investment in education and rural infrastructure. In the prosperous and peaceful year of 1913 he was reelected.

The First World War was supported with near unanimity in Newfoundland. Recruiting was brisk, with 6,240 men joining the Newfoundland Regiment for overseas duty, 1,966 joining the Royal Navy, 491 joined the Forestry Corps (which did lumberjack work at home), plus another 3,300 men joined Canadian units, and 40 women became war nurses. Without convening the legislature, Premier Morris and the royal governor, Sir Walter Davidson created the Newfoundland Patriotic Association, a politically neutral body involving both citizens and politicians, to supervise the war effort until 1917. With inflation soaring and corruption rampant, with prohibition of liquor in effect and fears of conscription apparent, the Association gave way to an all-party National Government. Morris was given a peerage as first Baron Morris, the only Newfoundlander ever so honored, and removed to London. The conscription issue was not as intense as in Canada, but it weakened the Fisherman's Union party, as its leaders supported conscription and most members opposed it. The Fisherman's party then merged into the Liberal-Unionist Party and faded away as an independent force.[17]

During the great Battle of the Somme in 1916, the British assaulted the German trenches near Beaumont Hamel, in France. On the first day of the battle, July 1, 1916, the eight-hundred-man Royal Newfoundland Regiment attacked as part of a British brigade. Almost all the Newfoundlanders, including all the officers, were killed or wounded without anyone in the regiment having fired a shot. The state, church, and press recognized the sacrifice Newfoundlanders had made in the war effort through ceremonies, war literature, and memorials, the most important of which was the Beaumont Hamel Memorial Park, which opened in France in 1925. The story of the heroic sacrifice of the regiment in 1916 served as a cultural inspiration.[18] In Newfoundland, July 1 is observed as Memorial Day, a day of remembrance, whereas other provinces celebrate the same day as Canada Day, commemorating the passing of the Constitution Act on July 1, 1867.

The 1920 Education Act called for the establishment of a Department of Education, to oversee all state schools, including the processes of teacher training and certification. The act provided for four grades of certificated teachers. There was also a category of other "ungraded" teachers, who were unqualified and employed on a temporary basis.

International capital was increasingly attracted to the island's natural resources. A Canadian firm opened iron mines in 1895 on Bell Island in Conception Bay. Paper mills were built at Grand Falls by the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company, a British firm, in 1909. British entrepreneurs set up a paper mill at Corner Brook in 1925 while the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company opened a lead-zinc mine on the Buchans River in 1927. In 1927, Britain awarded the vast, almost uninhabited hinterland of Labrador to Newfoundland rather than to Canada, adding potentially valuable new forest, hydroelectric, and mineral resources.

Politically the years from 1916 to 1925 were turbulent, as six successive governments failed, widespread corruption was uncovered, and the postwar boom ended in economic stagnation. Labour unions were active, as Joseph Smallwood founded the Newfoundland Federation of Labour in the early 1920s.

Commission on Government 1934

Newfoundland's economic crash in the Great Depression, coupled with a profound distrust of politicians, led to the abandonment of self-government. The government had borrowed very heavily and had a weak tax base; 1933 interest payments on the public debt amounted to 63% of government revenue. There was no more credit; a short-lived plan proposed to sell Labrador to Canada; Canada offered no help. In return for British financial assistance, the newly elected government of Frederick Alderdice agreed to the appointment by London of a three-member royal commission, including British, Canadian, and Newfoundland nominees, "to examine into the future of Newfoundland and in particular to report on the financial situation and prospects therein." The Newfoundland Royal Commission was chaired by Lord Amulree, recommended that Britain "assume general responsibility" for Newfoundland's finances. Newfoundland would give up self-government in favour of administration by an appointed governor and a six-member appointed Commission of Government, having both executive and legislative authority. The solution was designed to provide "a rest from politics" and a government free of corruption. The legislature accepted the deal, formalized when the British Parliament passed the Newfoundland Act, 1933. The commission began operations in 1934, and disbanded in 1949.[19]

Newfoundland remains the only nation that ever voluntarily relinquished democracy.[20]

World War II

In 1940 Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed to an exchange of American destroyers for access to British naval bases in the Atlantic, including Newfoundland. The result was sudden prosperity as American money flooded the island, where 25% had been on relief. Some 20,000 men were employed in building military bases, but the government kept wages low so as to not destroy the labor force for fishing.[21] Even more influential was the sudden impact of a large modern American population on a traditional society. American ideas regarding food, hygiene (and indoor plumbing), entertainment, clothing, living standards and pay scales swept the island. Fears of a permanent American presence in Newfoundland prompted the Canadian government to push the island to join the Canadian Confederation.[22]

Joining Canada

As soon as prosperity returned (in 1942), agitation began to end the Commission. Newfoundland, with a population of 313,000 (plus 5,200 in Labrador), seemed too small to be independent. Joseph "Joey" Smallwood (1900–91) was a well-known radio personality, writer and organizer; he was a nationalist who long had criticized British rule. In 1945 London announced that a National Convention would be elected in Newfoundland to advise on what constitutional choices should to be voted on by referendum. Union with the United States was a possibility, but London rejected the option and offered instead two options, return to dominion status or continuation of the unpopular Commission. Canada issued an invitation to join it on generous financial terms. Smallwood was elected to the convention where he became the leading proponent of confederation with Canada, insisting, "Today we are more disposed to feel that our very manhood, our very creation by God, entitles us to standards of life no lower than our brothers on the mainland." Displaying a mastery of propaganda technique, courage and ruthlessness, he succeeded in having the Canada option on the ballot. His main opponents were Peter J. Cashin and Chesley A. Crosbie. Cashin, a former finance minister, led the Responsible Government League, warning against cheap Canadian imports and the high Canadian income tax. Crosbie, a leader of the fishing industry, led the Economic Unionists, seeking responsible government first, to be followed by closer ties with the United States, which could be a major source of capital. Smallwood carried his cause in a hard-fought referendum and a runoff in June–July 1948 as the decision to join Canada (rather than become an independent dominion) carried 77,869, as against 71,464, or 52.3%. A strong rural vote in favor of Canada overwhelmed the pro-independence vote in the capital of St. John's. The Irish Catholics in the city desired independence in order to protect their parochial schools, leading to a Protestant backlash in rural areas.[23] The promise of cash family allowances from Canada proved decisive.

According to the terms, Newfoundland would again have its own legislature and full local self-government, as well as seven members of the Canadian House of Commons. Canada assumed the Newfoundland debt of $63 million and in return Canada would keep the income, corporation, and customs revenue. Newfoundlanders would immediately get Canadian welfare benefits and the province would be paid about $3 million annually, plus a transitional grant, starting at $6.5 million then phasing out over 12 years. "We are all Canadians now," exculted one minister; "Now it can truly be said that Canada stretches from sea to sea."[24]

Smallwood era

Joey Smallwood was elected the Liberal party premier of Newfoundland (1949 to 1972), as the demoralized anti-confederates became the provincial wing of the Progressive Conservative Party. Smallwood's style was autocratic and highly personalized, as he totally controlled his party. He vigorously promoted promoted economic development through the Economic Development Plan of 1951, championed the welfare state (paid for by Ottawa), and attracted favorable attention across Canada. He emphasized modernization of education and transportation in order to attract outsiders, such as German industrialists, because the local economic elite would not invest in industrial development. Smallwood dropped his youthful socialism and collaborated with bankers, and became hostile to the militant unions that sponsored numerous strikes. His efforts to promote industrialization were a mixed bag, with great success primarily in hydroelectricity, iron mining and paper mills. He upgraded the small Memorial University College in St John's, to Memorial University in 1949, with free tuition and a cash salary for students.

He was narrowly defeated in the 1971 elections, and failed in several comeback attempts. He left politics in 1977 to create an outstanding multivolume Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador with over 200 authors.[25]

Neary (1980) identifies three postwar political eras, each marked by a dramatic opening event. A first period began with confederation, and Joseph R. Smallwood's accession to power. A second period of politics started with the Progressive Conservative victory in the federal general election of 1957. A third period began with the sweeping Conservative victory in Newfoundland in the federal election of 1968. Running through these periods is a common theme: the continuing erosion of the traditional, stable, subsistence, outport economy of Newfoundland by the forces of urbanism and industrialism.[26]

National identity

Nationalist sentiment in the 21st century is a powerful force in Newfoundland politics and culture. But that was a development of the late 20th century, for in the 1940s it was not strong enough to stop confederation with Canada. A Newfoundland identity was first articulated in the 1840s, embodied in a distinction between English-born and native-born Newfoundland residents.The relative absence of a strong sense of belonging to an independent country was the underlying reason for Joseph Smallwood's referendum victory. Most islanders were descendants of immigrants from either Ireland or the English West Country. It took centuries for them to view themselves as Newfoundlanders first and foremost. Gregory (2004) tried to date the transition from old (European) to new (Newfoundland) in the outport communities using vernacular song texts. Use of three collections of Newfoundland songs[27] demonstrates how by 1930 or so a Newfoundland song culture had replaced earlier cultural traditions. These songs suggest that the island was still a cultural mosaic; some outports were completely Irish, others were English, and in a few ethnically mixed communities, including St. John's, there was an emergent, home-grown, patriotic song culture. Cultural nationalism was still a minority tradition in the Newfoundland of 1930.[28] After joining Canada in 1949, Newfoundland culture underwent a significant transformation, notably in the cultural revival of the 1970s, which extolled the virtues of the people before they were hit with efficiency, centralization, and modernity. The "Ode to Newfoundland" is sung with as much enthusiasm in the taverns of Toronto and Calgary as on the island itself. Traditional Newfoundland heritage enjoyed a renaissance in the arts and crafts. Celebrations of outport life have been combined with a long-standing sense of victimization, offering a parade of historical scapegoats ­ from the fishing admirals to powerful merchants ­used to explain relative backwardness and failure. Atlantic Canadians increasingly share an angle of vision derived in large part from the unpleasant fact that, compared to the mainland, the Atlantic region is both economically poor and politically weak, and growing more so. Nevertheless, Atlantic Canadians have so far rejected political union.[29]

Wayne Johnston's prize-winning novel The Colony of Unrequited Dreams (1999)[30] develops insights into the unique identity of the islanders and challenges prevailing misconceptions about the area among both residents and outsiders. The protagonist of the book is premier Joey Smallwood, with focus on his advocacy of confederation with Canada. Chafe (2003) sees the novel in terms of postcolonial literature with its attendant themes of displacement, identity, and history. Chafe explores Johnston's use of the phrase "scuttlework of empire" and its many interpretations of the often troubled relationship between the British Empire and Newfoundland settlers.[31]

Further reading

for a more detailed guide see the Bibliography below

  • The Dictionary of Canadian Biography (1966-2006), thousands of scholarly biographies of notables who died by 1930
  • Canadian Encyclopedia (2008) reliable detailed encyclopedia, on-line free
  • Cadigan, Sean T. Newfoundland and Labrador: A History (2009), the standard scholarly history excerpt and text search
  • Canada, Government of. Newfoundland . An Introduction to Canada's New Province (1950), 142p., useful short history online edition
  • Conrad, Margaret, and James Hiller. Atlantic Canada: A Concise History (2006).
  • Hempstead, Andrew. Frommer's Newfoundland and Labrador (2010) excerpt and text search 2006 edition
  • Jackson, Lawrence. Newfoundland & Labrador (1998)
  • Smallwood, Joseph, et al. eds. The Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador (5 vol 1981-94) 3900 pages; available on cd-rom portions online
  • Walls, Martha, and John MacIntyre. Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Everything (2006)


  • Canadian Encyclopedia (2008), complete text
  • Bélanger, Claude, ed. "Newfoundland Biography (1497-2004)" (2004) online edition
  • Cadigan, Sean T. Newfoundland and Labrador: A History (2009), the standard scholarly history excerpt and text search
  • Canada, Government of. Newfoundland . An Introduction to Canada's New Province (1950), 142p., useful short history online edition
  • Chadwick, Gerald William St. John. Newfoundland; Island Into Province (1967)
  • Conrad, Margaret, and James Hiller. Atlantic Canada: A Concise History (2006).
  • The Dictionary of Canadian Biography (1966- ), scholarly biographies of everyone of importance who died by 1930
  • Encyclopedia Britannica (11th ed. 1911) online edition
  • Harris, Leslie. Newfoundland and Labrador: A Brief History (1968),
  • Jackson, Lawrence. Newfoundland & Labrador (1999)
  • MacNutt, W.S. The Atlantic Provinces: The Emergence of Colonial Society (1965)
  • Prowse, D.W. A History of Newfoundland (1895) 744pp, highly infleuntial classic history complete text online;also complete text downloadable
  • Rowe, Frederick. History of Newfoundland and Labrador (1980).
  • Smallwood, Joseph, et al. eds. The Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador (5 vol 1981-94) 3900 pages; available on cd-rom portions online

Specialized studies

  • Bannister, Jerry. The Rule of the Admirals: Law, Custom, and Naval Government in Newfoundland, 1699-1832. (2003).
  • Birkenhead, Lord. The story of Newfoundland (2nd ed. 1920) 192pp online edition
  • Blake, Raymond B. Canadians at Last: Canada Integrates Newfoundland as a Province. (1994). 252 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Buckner, Phillip A., and John G. Reid, eds. The Atlantic Region to Confederation: A History (1994);
  • Casey, G.J., and Elizabeth Miller, eds., Tempered Days: A Century of Newfoundland Fiction St. John's: Killick Press, 1996.
  • Earle; Karl McNeil. "Cousins of a Kind: The Newfoundland and Labrador Relationship with the United States" American Review of Canadian Studies Vol: 28. Issue: 4. 1998. pp: 387-411. online edition
  • English, Christopher, ed. Essays in the History of Canadian Law. Vol. 9. Two Islands: Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. (2005). 419 pp. excerpts and text search
  • Fay, C. R. Life and Labour in Newfoundland University of Toronto Press, (1956) online edition
  • Forbes, E.R., and D.A. Muise, eds. The Atlantic Provinces in Confederation (1993).
  • Fowler, Adrian. "Distinct Society: Cultural Identity in Twentieth-Century Newfoundland Literature." PhD dissertation U. of Ottawa 2003. 340 pp. DAI 2003 64(1): 149-A. DAQN76384 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • Francis, R. Douglas, Richard Jones and Donald B. Smith. Origins: Canadian History to Confederation (3rd. ed. 1996), "Newfoundland to the 1860s," pp. 352-370.
  • Greene, John P. Between Damnation and Starvation: Priests and Merchants in Newfoundland Politics, 1745-1855. (2000). 340 pp.
  • Gwyn, R. J. Smallwood: the unlikely revolutionary (2nd ed. 1972)
  • Hale, David. "The Newfoundland Lesson," The International Economy. v17#3 (Summer 2003). pp 52+. online edition
  • Handcock, Gordon W. "So Longe as There Comes Noe Women": Origins of English Settlement in Newfoundland (1989)
  • Harris, R.C. ed. The Historical Atlas of Canada, vol. I: From the Beginning to 1800 (1988) and R. Louis Gentilcore, ed. The Historical Atlas of Canada, vol. II: The Land Transformed, 1800-1891 (1993)
  • Harvey, M. Newfoundland in 1900. A treatise of the geography, natural resources and history of the Island, embracing an account of recent and present large material movements, finely illustrated with maps and half-tone engravings (1900) 187 pp.edition
  • Head, Grant C. Eighteenth Century Newfoundland: A Geographer’s Perspective (1976)
  • Hiller, James, and Peter Neary, eds. Newfoundland in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Essays in Interpretations (1980)
  • Hiller, James, and Peter Neary, eds. Twentieth century Newfoundland: Explorations (1994), 384pp; 10 essays by scholars excerpt and text search
  • Hiller, James K. Confederation: deciding Newfoundland's future, 1934–1949 (1998)
  • Hiller, J. K. and Harrington, M. F., ed. The Newfoundland National Convention, 1946-1948. (2 vols. 1995). 2021 pp. excerpts and text search
  • Hiller, James K. "Robert Bond and the Pink, White and Green: Newfoundland Nationalism in Perspective." Acadiensis 2007 36(2): 113-133. Issn: 0044-5851
  • Hiller, James K. "Smallwood, Joseph Roberts (1900–1991)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online ed, May 2007
  • Hollett, Calvin. Shouting, Embracing, and Dancing with Ecstasy: The Growth of Methodism in Newfoundland, 1774-1874 (2010)
  • House, J.D. The Challenge of Oil: Newfoundland's Quest for Controlled Development. ISER Books (1985) re 1980s
  • House, J.D. Against the Tide: Battling for Economic Renewal in Newfoundland and Labrador. (1999) excerpts and text search
  • Kealey, Linda, ed. Pursuing Equality: Historical Perspectives on Women in Newfoundland and Labrador. St. John's: Institute of Social and Economic Research, 1993. 310 pp.
  • Letto, Douglas. Chocolate bars and rubber boots: the Smallwood industrialization plan (1998)
  • Ling, Katherine Anne. "'A Share of the Sacrifice': Newfoundland Service Wives in the Second World War." PhD dissertation Memorial U. of Newfoundland [Canada] 2001. 331 pp.: DAI 2002 62(10): 3527-A. DANQ62451 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • Long, Gene. Suspended State: Newfoundland Before Canada (1999) excerpt and text search
  • McCann, Phillip. Schooling in a Fishing Society: Education and Economic Conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1836-1986. St. John's: Institute of Social and Economic Res., 1994. 277 pp.
  • MacKay, R. A. Newfoundland: Economic, Diplomatic, and Strategic Studies, (1946) online edition
  • MacKinnon, Robert. "The Industrial City in Transition: A Cultural and Environmental Inventory of Greater Saint John," Acadiensis vol. 37 no. 1 (Winter/Spring 2008)* Macpherson, Alan G. ed. Four Centuries and the City: Perspectives on the Historical Geography of St. John's (2005)
  • Mannion, John J. Irish Settlements in Eastern Canada: A Study of Cultural Transfer and Adaptation (1974)
  • Mannion, John J. ed., The Peopling of Newfoundland: Essays in Historical Geography (Institute of Social & Economic Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1977)
  • Matthews, Keith. Lectures on the History of Newfoundland 1500-1800 (1988),
  • Neary, Peter. Newfoundland in the North Atlantic world, 1929-1949. McGill-(1996)
  • Nolan, Stephen. Leaving Newfoundland: A History of Out-Migration (2007)
  • O'Flaherty, Patrick. Old Newfoundland: A History to 1843. St John's: Long Beach, 1999. 284 pp.
  • O'Flaherty, Patrick. The Rock Observed: Studies in the Literature of Newfoundland (1979),
  • Ommer, Rosemary E., ed. The Resilient Outport: Ecology, Economy, and Society in Rural Newfoundland. (2002). 358 pp.
  • Overton, James. "Nationalism, Democracy, and Self-determination: Newfoundland in the 1930s and 1940s." Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism 2005 32(1-2): 31-52. Issn: 0317-7904
  • Pope, Peter E. Fish into Wine: The Newfoundland Plantation in the Seventeenth Century. (2004). 464 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Rowe, Frederick W. The Smallwood Era. (1985). 250 pp.
  • Sider, Gerald M. Between History and Tomorrow: Making and Breaking Everyday Life in Rural Newfoundland. (2nd ed. 2003); first edition was Culture and Class in Anthropology and History: A Newfoundland Illustration, (1986). 344 pp.
  • Sweeny, Robert C. H. "What Difference Does a Mode Make? A Comparison of Two Seventeenth-century Colonies: Canada and Newfoundland." William and Mary Quarterly 2006 63(2): 281-304. Issn: 0043-5597 Fulltext: History Cooperative
  • Wright, Miriam. A Fishery for Modern Times: The State and the Industrialization of the Newfoundland Fishery, 1934-1968. (2001). 176 pp.
  • Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador. Desperate measures: the Great Depression in Newfoundland and Labrador (1996) 55 pages; essays by Carmelita McGrath and Kathryn Welbourn. online edition


  • Bannister, Jerry. "'A Species of Vassalage': The Issue of Class in the Writing of Newfoundland History" Acadiensis 24:1 (Autumn 1994): 134-144.
  • Conrad, Margaret, and James Hiller, "Introduction" in Atlantic Canada: A Region in the Making" (2006) online
  • English, Christopher. "The Legal Historiography of Newfoundland," in Christopher English (ed.), Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. 9. Two Islands: Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island (2005), pp. 19-38.
  • Janzen, Olaf U. "Newfoundland and the International Fishery," in M. Brook Taylor, ed. Canadian History. A Reader's Guide. Vol. I: Beginnings to Confederation (1994). Chapter 4, pp. 280-324 online expanded version
  • Matthews, Keith. "Historical Fence Building: a Critique of the Historiography of Newfoundland." Newfoundland Studies 2001 17(2): 143-165. Issn: 0823-1737
  • Neary, Peter. "The Writing of Newfoundland History: An Introductory Survey," in James Hiller and Peter Neary (eds.), Newfoundland in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Essays in Interpretations (1980), pp. 3-15
  • Rowe, Fred. "Myths of Newfoundland", Newfoundland Quarterly 74:4 (Winter 1979): 3-16
  • Sager, Eric. "Newfoundland's Historical Revival and the Legacy of David Alexander," Acadiensis 11:1 (Autumn 1981): 104-115

Primary sources

  • The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs (annual 1901-1933) report on the year in Newfoundland, stressing politics online edition
  • Millais, John Guille. The Newfoundland Guide Book, 1911: Including Labrador and St. Pierre (1911)‎ online edition; also reprinted 2009
  • Moyles, Robert Gordon, ed. "Complaints is Many and Various, But the Odd Divil Likes It": Nineteenth Century Views of Newfoundland (1975).
  • Neary, Peter, and Patrick O'Flaherty, eds. By Great Waters: A Newfoundland and Labrador Anthology (1974)
  • O'Flaherty, Patrick ed. The Rock Observed: Literary Responses to Newfoundland and Its People (1979)
  • Rompkey, Ronald, ed. Terre-Neuve: Anthologie des Voyageurs Français, 1814-1914 [Newfoundland: anthology of French travelers, 1814-1914]. Presse University de Rennes, 2004. 304 pp.
  • Smallwood, Joseph R. I Chose Canada: The Memoirs of the Honourable Joseph R. "Joey" Smallwood. (1973). 600 pp.

Additional bibliographies

External links


  1. Britannica
  2. see George Morley Story et al. Dictionary of Newfoundland English (1990) p. 343 online
  3. Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data. 2006 Canadian Census. Retrieved on 2008-03-25.
  4. Encyclopedia Britannica (11th ed. 1911)
  5. Encyclopedia Britannica (11th ed. 1911)
  6. Dean Louis Yelwa Bavington, "Of Fish and People: Managerial Ecology in Newfoundland and Labrador Cod Fisheries." PhD dissertation Wilfrid Laurier U. 2005. 293 pp. DAI 2006 66(11): 4133-A. DANR09915 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. Michael Harris, Lament for an Ocean: The Collapse of the Atlantic Cod Fishery, a True Crime Story. (1998) is a popular account.
  7. James Overton, "'A Future in the Past'? Tourism Development, Outport Archaeology, and the Politics of Deindustrialization in Newfoundland and Labrador in the 1990s." Urban History Review 2007 35(2): 60-74. Issn: 0703-0428
  8. Anthony B. Dickinson and Chesley W. Sanger, Twentieth-Century Shore-Station Whaling in Newfoundland and Labrador (2005).
  9. See "L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada: History" and David Quinn, "Review Essay – Norse America: Reports and Reassessments," Journal of American Studies 22:2 (1988): 269-273. For a summary of scholarship see Olaf U. Janzen, "Discovery and Early Exploration, ca. 1000 - 1550"
  10. Brian Cuthbertson, "John Cabot and His Historians: Five Hundred Years of Controversy." Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society 1998 1: 16-35. Issn: 1486-5920. For excellent history see Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages (1971)
  11. See Allan M. Fraser, "Calvert, Sir George" Dictionary of Canadian Biography online
  12. John S. Moir, "Kirke, Sir David," Dictionary of Canadian Biography online
  13. Kenneth Norrie and Rick Szostak, "Allocating Property Rights over Shoreline: Institutional Change in the Newfoundland Inshore Fishery." Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 2005 20(2): 234-263. Issn: 0823-1737
  14. On the election riots of 1861, again based on religion, see Jeff A. Webb, "The Election Riots of 1861" (2001) online edition
  15. James K. Hiller, "Bond, Sir Robert (1857–1927)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (2004); online edition, Jan 2008
  16. See "The Fisherman's Protective Union"
  17. James K. Hiller, "Morris, Edward Patrick, first Baron Morris (1859–1935)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,(2004); online edition, Jan 2008; and "Newfoundland and the First World War" in The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, 1917 (1918) pp. 187-190
  18. Robert J. Harding, "Glorious Tragedy: Newfoundland's Cultural Memory of the Attack at Beaumont Hamel, 1916-1925." Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 2006 21(1): 3-40. Issn: 0823-1737
  19. Jeff A. Webb, "Collapse of Responsible Government, 1929-1934" (2001) online edition
  20. James Overton, "Economic Crisis and the End of Democracy: Politics in Newfoundland During the Great Depression." Labour 1990 (26): 85-124. Issn: 0700-3862
  21. Steven High, "Working for Uncle Sam: the 'Comings' and 'Goings' of Newfoundland Base Construction Labour, 1940-1945," Acadiensis 2003 32(2): 84-107. Issn: 0044-5851
  22. David Mackenzie, "A North Atlantic Outpost: the American Military in Newfoundland, 1941-1945." War & Society 2004 22(2): 51-74. Issn: 0729-2473
  23. The Catholic schools were nationalized in 1998 over strong Catholic objections. See John Edward Fitzgerald, "Archbishop E. P. Roche, J. R. Smallwood, and Denominational Rights in Newfoundland Education, 1948." Historical Studies: Canadian Catholic Historical Association 1999 65: 28-49. Issn: 1193-1981
  24. Om Smallwood see Harold Howood, Joey (1989) and Richard Gwyn, Smallwood: The Unlikely Revolutionary (1968)
  25. Richard J. Gwyn, "Smallwood, Joseph Roberts," Canadian Encyclopedia (2008) online, and and Richard Gwyn, Smallwood: The Unlikely Revolutionary (1968); James K. Hiller, "Smallwood, Joseph Roberts (1900–1991)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edn, May 2007
  26. Peter Neary, "Party Politics in Newfoundland, 1949-71: a Survey and Analysis," in Newfoundland in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Essays in Interpretation (1980): 205-245
  27. Gerald Doyle, ed. The Old Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland (1927); Elisabeth Greenleaf, Ballads and Sea Songs from Newfoundland (1968); and Maud Karpeles, ed. Folk Songs from Newfoundland (1971)
  28. E. David Gregory, "Vernacular Song, Cultural Identity, and Nationalism in Newfoundland, 1920-1955," History of Intellectual Culture 2004 4(1). Issn: 1492-7810 online edition
  29. Shane O'Dea, "Culture and Country: the Role of the Arts and Heritage in the Nationalist Revival in Newfoundland." Newfoundland Studies 2003 19(2): 378-386; Margaret R. Conrad and James K. Hiller, Atlantic Canada: A Region in the Making (2001) pp 1-11.
  30. See excerpts and text search at
  31. Paul Chafe, "'The Scuttlework of Empire': a Postcolonial Reading of Wayne Johnston's The Colony of Unrequited Dreams". Newfoundland Studies 2003 19(2): 322-346.