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Newfoundland and Labrador (pronounced /njuːfəndˈlænd ənd læbrəˈdɔr/; French: Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, Irish: Talamh an Éisc agus Labradar, Latin: Terra Nova) is a province of Canada on the country's Atlantic coast in northeastern North America. This easternmost Canadian province comprises two main parts: the island of Newfoundland off the country's eastern coast, and Labrador on the mainland to the northwest of the island.


A former colony and dominion of the United Kingdom, it became the tenth province to enter the Canadian Confederation on 31 March 1949, named simply as Newfoundland. Since 1964, the province's government has referred to itself as the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and on 6 December 2001, an amendment was made to the Constitution of Canada to change the province's official name to Newfoundland and Labrador. In day-to-day conversation, however, Canadians generally still refer to the province itself as Newfoundland and to the region on the Canadian mainland as Labrador.


As of July 2010, the province's population is estimated to be 509,739. Approximately 94% of the province's population resides on the Island of Newfoundland (including its associated smaller islands), of which roughly half live on the southern Avalon Peninsula. The Island of Newfoundland has its own dialects of the English, French, and Irish languages. The English dialect in Labrador shares much with that of Newfoundland. Labrador also has its own dialects of Innu-aimun and Inuktitut.


While the name Newfoundland is derived from English as "New Found Land" (a translation from the Latin Terra Nova), Labrador comes from Portuguese lavrador, a title meaning "landholder / ploughman" held by Portuguese explorer of the region João Fernandes Lavrador.


Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. The Strait of Belle Isle separates the province into two geographical divisions, Labrador and island of Newfoundland. The province also includes over 7,000 tiny islands.


Newfoundland is roughly triangular, with each side being approximately 400 km (250 mi), and has an area of 108,860 km2 (42,030 sq mi). Newfoundland and its associated small islands have a total area of 111,390 km2 (43,010 sq mi). Newfoundland extends between latitudes 46°36'N and 51°38'N.


Labrador is an irregular shape: the western part of its border with Quebec is the drainage divide of the Labrador Peninsula. Lands drained by rivers that flow into the Atlantic Ocean are part of Labrador, the rest belong to Quebec. Labrador’s extreme northern tip, at 60°22'N, shares a short border with Nunavut. Labrador’s area (including associated small islands) is 294,330 km2 (113,640 sq mi). Together, Newfoundland and Labrador make up 4.06% of Canada’s area.


Labrador is the easternmost part of the Canadian Shield, a vast area of ancient metamorphic rock comprising much of northeastern North America. Colliding tectonic plates have shaped much of the geology of Newfoundland. Gros Morne National Park has a reputation as an outstanding example of tectonics at work, and as such has been designated a World Heritage Site. The Long Range Mountains on Newfoundland's west coast are the northeasternmost extension of the Appalachian Mountains.


The north-south extent of the province (46°36'N to 60°22'N), prevalent westerly winds, cold ocean currents and local factors such as mountains and coastline combine to create the various climates of the province. Northern Labrador is classified as a polar tundra climate, southern Labrador is considered to be a subarctic climate while most of Newfoundland would be considered to have a humid continental climate, Dfb: Cool summer subtype.


The province has been divided into six climate types, but in broader terms Newfoundland is considered to be a cool summer subtype of a humid continental climate, which is greatly influenced by the sea since no part of the island is more than 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the ocean. Northern Labrador is classified as a polar tundra climate, southern Labrador is considered to have a subarctic climate.








Monthly average temperatures, rainfall and snowfall for four communities are shown in the attached graphs. St. John's represents the east coast, Gander the interior of the island, Corner Brook the west coast of the island and Wabush the interior of Labrador. The detailed information and information for 73 communities in the province is available from a government website. The data used in making the graphs is the average taken over thirty years. Error bars on the temperature graph indicate the range of daytime highs and night time lows. Snowfall is the total amount which fell during the month, not the amount accumulated on the ground. This distinction is particularly important for St. John's where a heavy snowfall can be followed by rain so that no snow remains on the ground.


Surface water temperatures on the Atlantic side reaches a summer average of 12 °C (54 °F) inshore and 9 °C (48 °F) offshore to winter lows of −1 °C (30.2 °F) inshore and 2 °C (36 °F) offshore. Sea temperatures on the west coast are warmer than Atlantic side by 1 to 3 °C (1 to 5°F). The sea keeps winter temperatures slightly higher and summer temperatures a little lower on the coast than at places inland. The maritime climate produces more variable weather, ample precipitation in a variety of forms, greater humidity, lower visibility, more clouds, less sunshine, and higher winds than a continental climate. Some of these effects can be seen in the graphs. Labrador's climate differs from that of the island not only because it is further north, but also because the interior does not see the moderating effects of the ocean.


Human habitation in Newfoundland and Labrador can be traced back over 9,000 years to the people of the Maritime Archaic Tradition. They were gradually displaced by the Palaeoeskimo people of the Dorset Culture, the L'nu, or Mi'kmaq and finally by the Innu and Inuit in Labrador and the Beothuks on the island. The oldest verified European contact was made over a thousand years ago when the Vikings briefly settled in L'Anse aux Meadows.


Five hundred years later, European explorers (John Cabot, Gaspar Corte-Real, Jacques Cartier, and others), fishermen from England, Ireland, Portugal, France and Spain and Basque whalers (the remains of several whaling stations have been found at Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador) began exploration and exploitation of the area.




The overseas expansion of British Empire began when Sir Humphrey Gilbert took possession of Newfoundland in the name of England in 1583. Apart from St. John's, which was already established, early settlements were started at Cupids, Ferryland and other places.


Basque fishermen, who had been fishing cod shoals off Newfoundland's coasts since the beginning of the 16th century, founded Plaisance (today Placentia), a haven which started to be also used by French fishermen. In 1655, France appointed a governor in Plaisance, thus starting a formal French colonization period of Newfoundland. It lasted until the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, which ended the War of the Spanish Succession. According to the terms of the treaty, France ceded its claims to Newfoundland to the British (as well as its claims to the shores of Hudson's Bay). In addition, the French possessions in Acadia were yielded to England. Afterward, under the supervision of the last French governor, the French population of Plaisance moved to Île Royale (now Cape Breton Island), part of Acadia which remained then under French control. In 1796 a Franco-Spanish expedition succeeded in raiding the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador.



During its history Newfoundland and Labrador have had many forms of government, including a time as an independent country of the British Commonwealth, the Dominion of Newfoundland (1907–1949), equivalent in status to Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Newfoundland and Labrador became the tenth province of Canada on 31 March 1949.


Newfoundland has been a battleground in numerous early wars among Great Britain, France, Spain and even the United States. Royal Newfoundland Regiment fought with distinction in World War I.


The Great Depression would hit the dominion's fish and logging industries hard (as with the rest of Canada's economy) and last until the Second World War. By this date living standards were declining and colonial politics was beginning to get chaotic.


Numerous bases were built in Newfoundland and Labrador by Canada and the United States during World War II, particularly to safeguard the Atlantic convoys to Europe.


Politics of the province were dominated by the Liberal Party, led by Joseph R. Smallwood, from confederation until 1972. In 1972, the Smallwood government was replaced by the Progressive Conservative administration of Frank Moores. In 1979, Brian Peckford, another Progressive Conservative, became Premier. During this time, Newfoundland was involved in a dispute with the federal government for control of offshore oil resources. In the end, the dispute was decided by compromise. In 1989, Clyde Wells and the Liberal Party returned to power ending 17 years of Conservative government.





In the late 1980s, the federal government, along with its Crown corporation Petro-Canada and other private sector petroleum exploration companies, committed to developing the oil and gas resources of the Hibernia oil field on the northeast portion of the Grand Banks. Throughout the mid-1990s, thousands of Newfoundlanders were employed in the oil industry.


The pressure of the oil and gas industry to explore offshore in Atlantic Canada saw Newfoundland and Nova Scotia submit to a federal arbitration to decide on a disputed offshore boundary between the two provinces in the Laurentian Basin. The 2003 settlement rewrote an existing boundary in Newfoundland's favour, opening this area up to energy exploration.


In 1992 and again in 2003, the federal government declared moratoriums on the Atlantic cod fishery due to declining catches, which deeply affected the economy of Newfoundland.


From late October 2003 to early January 2006, Premier Danny Williams argued that then Prime Minister Paul Martin had not held up his promises for a new deal on the "Atlantic Accord". The issue is the royalties from oil. Toward the end of 2004, Premier Williams ordered the Canadian flag to be removed from all provincial buildings as a protest against federal policies, and asked for municipal councils to consider doing the same. The flags went back up in January 2005 after much controversy nationwide. At the end of January, the federal government signed a deal to allow 100% of oil revenues to go to the province.


According to the 2001 Canadian census, the largest ethnic group in Newfoundland and Labrador is English (39.4%), followed by Irish (19.7%), Scottish (6.0%), French (5.5%), and First Nations (3.2%). While half of all respondents also identified their ethnicity as "Canadian," 38% report their ethnicity as "Newfoundlander" in a 2003 Statistics Canada Ethnic Diversity Survey.




Population since 1951


Source: Statistics Canada


The 2006 census returns showed a population of 505,469.

Figures shown above are for the number of single language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses. There were also 435 responses of both English and a 'non-official language'; 30 of both French and a 'non-official language'; 295 of both English and French; 10 of English, French and a 'non-official language'; and about 14,305 people who either did not respond to the question, or reported multiple non-official languages, or else gave another unenumerated response.


The largest single religious denomination by number of adherents according to the 2001 census was the Roman Catholic Church, at 36.9% of the province's population (187,405 members). The major Protestant denominations make up 59.7% of the population, with the largest group being the Anglican Church of Canada at 26.1% of the total population (132,680 members), the United Church of Canada at 17.0% (86,420 members), and the Salvation Army at 7.9% (39,955 members), with other Protestant denominations in much smaller numbers. The Pentecostal Church made up 6.7% of the population with 33,840 members. Non-Christians made up only 2.7% of the total population, with the majority of those respondents indicating "no religion" (2.5% of the total population).


All currency is in Canadian dollars.


The 2005 gross dc product (GDP) of Newfoundland and Labrador was approximately fourteen billion dollars. Service industries accounted for over $8 billion with financial services, health care and public administration being the top three contributors. Other significant industries are mining, oil production and manufacturing. The total workforce in 2010 was 263,800 people. Per capita GDP in 2008 was 61,763, higher than the national average and third only to Alberta and Saskatchewan out of Canadian provinces. The GDP in Newfoundland and Labrador surged 9.1 per cent in 2007, nearly three times the rate of its growth in 2006.


Traditional industries include mining, logging, fishery and forest-based industries (sawmills and paper mills).


Mines in Labrador, the iron ore mine at Wabush/Labrador City, and the new nickel mine in Voisey's Bay produced a total of $2.5 billion worth of ore in 2006. A new mine at Duck Pond (30 kilometres (18 mi) south of the now-closed mine at Buchans), started producing copper, zinc, silver and gold in 2007 and prospecting for new ore bodies continues. Mining accounted for 3.5% of the provincial GDP in 2006. The province produces 55% of Canada’s total iron ore. Quarries producing dimension stone such as slate and granite, account for less than $10 million worth of material per year.


Oil production from offshore oil platforms on the Hibernia, White Rose and Terra Nova oil fields on the Grand Banks was of 110 million barrels, which contributed to more than 15% of the province's GDP in 2006. Total production from the Hibernia field from 1997 to 2006 was 733 million barrels with an estimated value of $36 billion. This will increase with the inclusion of the latest project, Hebron. Remaining reserves are estimated at almost 2 billion barrels as of December 31, 2006. Exploration for new reserves is ongoing.


On April 8, 2009 another oil discovery was announced. Statoil announced that they were making plans to make an application for a Significant Discovery License over the coming months, it revealed that during deepwater drilling in an area about 500 kilometres east-northeast of St. John's "hydrocarbons were encountered". Just months later on June 16, 2009 Danny Williams announced a tentative agreement to expand the Hibernia Oil Field. The government negotiated a 10-per-cent equity stake in the Hibernia South expansion which will add an estimated $10 billion to Newfoundland and Labrador's treasury.


The fishing industry remains an important part of the provincial economy, employing 26,000 and contributing over $440 million to the GDP. The combined harvest of fish such as cod, haddock, halibut, herring and mackerel was 150,000 tonnes (165,000 tons) valued at about $130 million in 2006. Shellfish, such as crab, shrimp and clams, accounted for 195,000 tonnes (215,000 tons) with a value of $316 million in the same year. The value of products from the seal hunt was $55 million.


Aquaculture is a new industry for the province, which in 2006 produced over 10,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon, mussels and steelhead trout worth over $50 million.


Newsprint is produced by one paper mill, Kruger operates a mill in Corner Brook with a capacity of 420,000 tonnes (462,000 tons) per year. A second mill existed in Grand Falls which had a capacity of 210,000 tonnes (230,000 tons) per year but after a century of operation the mill closed in March 2009. The value of newsprint exports varies greatly from year to year, depending on the global market price. Lumber is produced by numerous mills in Newfoundland.


Apart from seafood processing, paper manufacture and oil refining, manufacturing in the province consists of smaller industries producing food, brewing and other beverage production, and footwear.


Agriculture in Newfoundland is limited to areas south of St. John's, near Deer Lake and in the Codroy Valley. Potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, carrots and cabbage are grown for local consumption. Poultry, eggs are also produced. Wild blueberries, partridgeberries (lingonberries) and bakeapples (cloudberries) are harvested commercially and used in jams and wine making. Dairy production is also another huge part of the Newfoundland Agriculture Industry.


Tourism is a significant part of the economy. In 2006 nearly 500,000 non-resident tourists visited Newfoundland and Labrador, spending an estimated $366 million. Tourism is highly popular throughout the months of June-September, as these months are the warmest months of the year.


See also: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador


See also: Politics of Newfoundland and Labrador




Newfoundland and Labrador has a unicameral legislature with 48 seats. Fixed date elections are held every four years on the second Tuesday in October. The Premier is usually the leader of the party that holds the most seats in the House of Assembly.


There are two dominant political parties in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Liberal Party and the Progressive Conservative Party. While the New Democrats are consider one of the three major parties they have only attained minor success throughout the years and have only elected five MHA's since 1984, with a record of two in the 1999 and 2003 elections.


Politics of the province were dominated by the Liberal Party, led by Joseph R. Smallwood, from confederation until 1972. In 1972, the Smallwood government was replaced by the Progressive Conservative administration of Frank Moores. In 1979, Brian Peckford, another Progressive Conservative, became Premier. During this time, Newfoundland was involved in a dispute with the federal government for control of offshore oil resources. In the end, the dispute was decided by compromise. In 1989, Clyde Wells defeated Progressive Conservative Premier Thomas Rideout and the Liberal Party returned to power ending 17 years of Conservative government. In 1996 Federal Liberal Cabinet Minister Brian Tobin became leader of the Liberal Party and won two large majority governments in 1996 and 1999. In 2001 Tobin suddenly resigned as Premier and Liberal leader to once again enter Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's Cabinet. After a divisive leadership race Roger Grimes became party leader and Premier of the province. When successful businessman and lawyer Danny Williams entered politics as the leader of the Progressive Conservatives the Liberals saw a decline in support and in the 2003 general election the Conservatives under Williams came to power with a huge victory. Williams has since become the most popular Prmeier in the country with approval ratings in the 70's and 80's, in the 2007 election Williams won a landslide victory winning nearly 70% of the popular and nearly wiping the Liberals and New Democrats off the electoral map.


Within the province, the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Transportation and Works operates or sponsors several passenger and auto ferry services which connect various communities along the province's significant coastline.


A regular passenger and car ferry service, lasting about 90 minutes, crosses the Strait of Belle Isle, connecting the province's island of Newfoundland with the region of Labrador on the mainland. The ferry MV Apollo travels from St. Barbe, Newfoundland on the Great Northern Peninsula to the port town of Blanc-Sablon, Quebec, located on the provincial border and beside the town of L'Anse-au-Clair, Labrador. The MV Sir Robert Bond also provides seasonal ferry service between Lewisporte on the island and the towns of Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador. Several smaller ferries connect numerous other coastal towns and offshore island communities around the island of Newfoundland and up the Labrador coast as far north as Nain.


Inter-provincial ferry services are provided by Marine Atlantic, a federal Crown corporation which operates auto-passenger ferries from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to the towns of Port aux Basques and Argentia on the southern coast of Newfoundland island.


Newfoundland and Labrador has a folk musical heritage based on the Irish, English and Scottish traditions that were brought to its shores centuries ago. Though similar in its Celtic influence to neighbouring Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador are more Irish than Scottish, and have more elements imported from English and French music than those provinces. Much of the region's music focuses on the strong seafaring tradition in the area, and includes sea shanties and other sailing songs. Some modern traditional musicians include Great Big Sea, The Ennis Sisters, Shanneyganock, Sharecroppers, and Ron Hynes.


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