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Moravian Missions in Labrador
In 1771, Moravian missionaries were the first Europeans to settle in Labrador. Over a 133-year period, they established a series of eight missions along the coast which became the focus of religious, social and economic activities for the Inuit who gradually came to settle near the communities. Moravians had a huge impact on the life and culture of Labrador Inuit. What emerged was a unique culture rooted in Inuit traditions with indigenized European practices. The last Moravian missionary left Labrador in 2005, but the Moravian church, its customs and traditions are still very much alive in Labrador.
Wabush, Newfoundland and Labrador, incorporated as a town in 1967, population 1,906 (2016 census), 1,861 (2011 census). The town of Wabush is located in western Labrador, close to the Quebec border, 5 km south of Labrador City. It lies next to Wabush Lake, Little Wabush Lake and Jean Lake.
Mistaken Point was designated as Canada’s 18th World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2016. It is located in southeastern Newfoundland. Mistaken Point is the oldest grouping of large, biologically complex fossilized creatures found anywhere in the world. The fossils date from 580 to 560 million years ago, when large, multicellular organisms began to appear. Mistaken Point was the fifth Canadian fossil site to be recognized by UNESCO, following Dinosaur Provincial Park (1979), Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (1984), Miguasha National Park (1999) and Joggins Fossil Cliffs (2008).
The Newfoundland dog is one of five Canadian dog breeds. In the past, the breed was used as a draft animal and as a companion to Canadian fishermen. Known for its ability to swim, the Newfoundland dog’s reputation as a water rescuer is unparalleled. The dog is a symbol of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the subject of many stories and legends based on the breed’s bravery and loyalty. (See also Dogs in Canada.)
Geography of Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is divided by three of Canada’s seven physiographic regions. These three regions are the Canadian Shield in Labrador, and the Appalachian and Eastern St. Lawrence Lowlands on the island of Newfoundland.
Labrador’s northern coastal region is mountainous, deeply fjorded, and grows only ground-level, subarctic vegetation. Its southern coast has a rugged, barren foreshore and a forested hinterland. The interior of Labrador is a well-forested, dissected plateau. Most of Labrador’s most-populous towns, including Happy-Valley Goose Bay and Labrador City, are located in its interior.
On the island of Newfoundland the west coast is dominated by the table-topped Long Range Mountains. The northeast coast, with its numerous bays, islands and headlands, fronts on the Atlantic Ocean from the Great Northern Peninsula to the Avalon Peninsula. Newfoundland’s southern coast has the deeply embayed characteristics of a submerged shoreline. The inland areas of the island are generally hilly and rugged. Shallow bogs and heath vegetation covers much of the land. Most of Newfoundland’s towns and cities are located in the bays and coves of the island’s west and northeast coasts.
Reserves in Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is home to two First Nation groups: the Mi’kmaq living on the island of Newfoundland, and the Innu, living in central and northern Labrador. The province has three reserves. Two of the reserves are Innu: the Sheshatshiu and Natuashish reserves are home to the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation and Mushuau Innu First Nation respectively. The third, Miawpukek Mi’kamawey Mawi’omi (commonly known as Miawpukek, or in English, Conne River), is Mi’kmaq. Indigenous people live in these communities, as well as in other, non-Indigenous communities throughout the province. As of March 2019, there were 28,293 registered Indians living in Newfoundland and Labrador, 12 per cent of whom lived on reserve. One reason the province has a relatively small on-reserve population is because the Qalipu Mi’kmaq, a band from the West Coast of Newfoundland and one of the largest in the country, does not have reserve lands. Labrador is also home to many Inuit communities who, like Inuit living in other parts of the country, do not have reserves.
Argentia, NL, Unincorporated Place. Argentia is located on the west coast of the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland.
Cupids, Newfoundland and Labrador, incorporated as a town in 1965, population 743 (2016 census), 761 (2011 census). The town of Cupids is located in southwest Conception Bay on the Avalon Peninsula, about 80 km west of St. John's. Originally known as Cupers Cove (1610), other early variants of the name include Cuperts Cove and Kibby's Cove. However, the name Cupids Cove appears quite early: Sir William Alexander referred to it by this name in his An Encouragement to Colonies (1624). No one knows the origin of the name, but it may be an anglicized version of a Spanish or Basque name.
Ron Hynes, singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor (born 7 December 1950 in St. John's, NL; died 19 November 2015 in St. John’s). One of Canada's most esteemed songwriters, Ron Hynes is often referred to as the “man of a thousand songs.” His debut solo album, Discovery (1972), was the first album of entirely original material by a Newfoundland artist. He is best known for the 1976 folk classic “Sonny’s Dream,” which has been covered by more than 200 artists, including Emmylou Harris, Stan Rogers and Great Big Sea. Hynes won a Genie Award and numerous East Coast Music Awards. He was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2020.
Owen William Steele
Owen William Steele, salesman, soldier and officer (born 28 April 1887 in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador; died 8 July 1916 near Englebelmer, France). Owen Steele was an officer in the Newfoundland Regiment who served during the First World War. The regiment suffered horrendous losses in July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme (see The Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel). Steele is best known for the detailed journal he kept from his enlistment to his death in France in July 1916. His journal and letters from the front provide insight into the experiences and impressions of Newfoundland soldiers during the war.
John Cabot (a.k.a. Giovanni Caboto), merchant, explorer (born before 1450 in Italy, died at an unknown place and date). In 1496, King Henry VII of England granted Cabot the right to sail in search of a westward trade route to Asia and lands unclaimed by Christian monarchs. Cabot mounted three voyages, the second of which, in 1497, was the most successful. During this journey Cabot coasted the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador, possibly sighted the Beothuk or Innu people of the region, and famously noted that the waters teemed with cod. At the time, the land Cabot saw was thought to be the eastern shore of Asia, the fabled island of Brasil, or the equally fabled Isle of Seven Cities. Cabot and his crew were the second group of Europeans to reach what would become Canada, following Norse explorers around 1000 CE. Despite not yielding the trade route Cabot hoped for, the 1497 voyage provided England with a claim to North America and knowledge of an enormous new fishery.
St. John’s Election Riot of 1861
On 13 May 1861, 2,000 protesters gathered outside the Colonial Building in St. John’s, Newfoundland. They objected to actions taken by the colony’s governor, Sir Alexander Bannerman, during the recent, highly contentious election; he had defied responsible government and install a new, Conservative government. The protest turned into a riot that damaged property and resulted in the deaths of three people. It took months to settle the political stalemate. The Conservatives won by-elections in disputed ridings and remained in power. The riot led to new laws that protected polling stations, saw police officers keep the peace instead of soldiers, and discouraged events and practices that could lead to violence.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland, the youngest of the Canadian provinces, joined Confederation in 1949. Some portion of its coast was undoubtedly one of the first parts of the continent seen by Europeans. Its total area is 405, 720 km2, of which Labrador makes up almost three-quarters (294,330 km2). The island of Newfoundland is the easternmost region of Canada, while Labrador is located on the mainland to the northwest. Since John Cabot's arrival on the “new isle” the island has been referred to as Terra Nova, or in English, Newfoundland. Labrador probably received its name from the Portuguese designation, "Terra del Lavradors."
Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi, electrical engineer, inventor and businessman (born 25 April 1874 in Bologna, Italy; died 20 July 1937 in Rome, Italy). Marconi’s early experiments in wireless telegraphy demonstrated the potential of long-range radio communication. He is generally considered the inventor of the radio. Marconi’s first reputed reception of a transatlantic radio signal occurred at Signal Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1901. The following year, he built a wireless transmission station in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Half of the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics went to Marconi for his work in wireless telegraphy.
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Edward Patrick Roche
Edward Patrick Roche, Roman Catholic archbishop of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador (born 19 February 1874 in Placentia, Newfoundland; died 23 September 1950 in St. John’s). Roche was a prelate in the Roman Catholic Church and served as archbishop of St. John’s from 1915 until he died in 1950. He is best known for his opposition to Confederation with Canada. Roche was also a strong supporter of Catholic education in Newfoundland and oversaw the construction of many new schools. As archbishop, he championed healthcare and established St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s.
Dwight Ball and the Liberal Party Are Re-elected in Newfoundland and Labrador
Dwight Ball and the provincial Liberal Party won re-election but were reduced to a minority government — the first in the province since 1971. The Liberals won 20 seats compared to 15 for the Conservatives, 3 for the NDP and 2 for independents.
Hebron Mission National Historic Site of Canada
For generations, Hebron, one of Nunatsiavut’s (see Labrador Inuit and Newfoundland and Labrador) most culturally important and significant sites, was an important meeting place for the Inuit, as well as a primary hunting and fishing area. In the early 1800s, Moravian missionaries chose the site to establish their fourth and northernmost mission in Labrador, officially opening the mission in 1830 (although missions were later established farther north, at Ramah in 1871 and Killinek in 1905). For more than 130 years, Hebron was a thriving community where an average of 200 to 250 Inuit lived. In 1959, without consultation with the Inuit, the community was closed, forcing all Inuit to relocate. Declared a National Historic Site in 1976 by the federal government, the Hebron Mission has been undergoing major restoration since 2004.