Newfoundland, the youngest of the Canadian provinces, joined
Confederation at midnight on 31 March 1949. Some portion of the
coast of this easternmost part of Canada was assuredly one of the
first parts of the continent seen by Europeans. Tenth-century Viking
explorers from Iceland and Greenland saw Labrador and settled
briefly in the north part of the Island of Newfoundland. In the late
15th century the Grand Banks southeast of Newfoundland were known to
Basque, French and Portuguese fishermen.
Since the time of King Henry VII of England, who
on 10 August 1497 awarded John Cabot £10 for finding "the new isle,"
the Island has been referred to as Terra Nova, but more commonly in
the English-speaking world as Newfoundland. The French call it
Terre-Neuve; the Spanish and Portuguese still call it
The Labrador part of the province
may have received its name from the Portuguese designation, "Terra
del Lavradors."Cape Spear, near St. John's, is the easternmost point
of the province and thus, excepting Greenland, of North America.
From Cape Spear across the Atlantic
to the nearest point in Ireland it is nearly 3000 km. Winnipeg, in
mid-Canada, and Miami in the southeast US are farther away - 3100 km
and 3400 km respectively. The south coast of the province lies
astride lat 47° N lat, but Cape Chidley on the northernmost tip of
Labrador is just north of 60° N lat, giving the province a total
north-south extent of just over 1800 km.
For more information on Newfoundland and