About Newfoundland

"Not too long ago, Newfoundland was it's own country..."

Here on the doorstep to the New World is a heritage rich in tradition, with influences from England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Portugal, and Spain as well as still-thriving Innu and Inuit cultures. Thanks to a quick wit, endless charm, and turn of phrase that would not be amiss in Shakespeare's time, Newfoundlanders have molded a legacy like no other people. Who else would call their homes Ha Ha Bay, Come By Chance, Witless Bay or Heart's Delight?

In 1497, almost five centuries after the Vikings landed, Italian explorer John Cabot 'accidentally' arrived in the Far East of the Western World, where—instead of finding spices and gold—he discovered the richest fishing grounds in the world. European settlers would later identify with this way of life, as they made their homes along New-Found-Lande's sheltered bays and rugged shores. In these small villages and seaside towns a unique culture was born—one that has changed little over the centuries, as their descendants can attest. This is a place where the 'simple life' is simply beautiful, where every road takes you on a journey, especially in the Avalon and Bonavista Peninsulas.

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Great Viewing

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Great Reading

Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky (Jul 1998)     BUY>>

Death On The Ice. The Great Newfoundland Sealing Disaster of 1914 by Cassie Brown and Harold Horwood (1972)     BUY>>

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston (May 2000)   BUY>>

More Than Fifty Percent: Women's Life in a Newfoundland Outport, 1900-50 by Hilda Chaulk Murray (Oct 1979)     BUY>>

Random Passage by Bernice Morgan (Jan 2001)    BUY>>

Cape Random: A Novel by Bernice Morgan by Bernice Morgan (May 2002)   BUY>>

Theatre of Fish: Travels Through Newfoundland and Labrador  by John Gimlette (Nov 2006)    BUY>>


Although Sir Humphrey Gilbert laid formal claim to Newfoundland on behalf of Britain on August 5, 1583, that country's early actions were aimed at discouraging settlement on the island. Merchants in Britain did not wish to lose their monopoly over the imported fish trade, and many felt that naval resources could not be spared to defend another colony so far away. There was also a trade act, in place until 1824, which stressed penalties to permanent settlers. However, events such as the American Revolution distracted British attention, allowing the population to grow despite restrictions, and by the 1820s, the island was home to approximately 50 000 people. This figure rose to 140 000 by the early 1860s. The earliest government "officials" in Newfoundland were the fishing admirals, who acted as administrative authorities during the fishing season. By the early 1800s, however, the population was large enough for the British government to appoint a full-time governor. 

The Dominion of Newfoundland was a British Dominion from 1907 to 1949. The dominion was self-governing from 1907 to 1934 when it voluntarily gave up self-government and reverted to direct control from London — one of the few countries that has ever voluntarily given up direct self-rule. Between 1934 and 1949 a six-member Commission of Government administered Newfoundland, reporting to the Dominions Office in London. Newfoundland remained a de jure Dominion until it joined Canada in 1949 to become Canada's tenth province.

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