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Waters Atlantic Ocean
Geographical location 48 ° 34 ′  N , 55 ° 47 ′  W Coordinates: 48 ° 34 ′  N , 55 ° 47 ′  W
Newfoundland (Canada)
surface 108,860 km²
Highest elevation The Cabox
814  m
Residents 492,519 (2016)
4.5 inhabitants / km²
main place St. John's
Map of Newfoundland
Map of Newfoundland

The island of Newfoundland ( English Newfoundland , French Terre-Neuve ) is located off the northeast coast of North America in the Atlantic Ocean , here in the outermost estuary of the Saint Lawrence River . The Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador also extends over the much larger Labrador region, which is located in the northern part of the province on mainland Canada. The island of Newfoundland itself is the most densely populated part of the province.

Geography and climate

Newfoundland is separated from Labrador by the Belle Isle Strait and from Cape Breton Island by the Cabot Strait . The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has a total area of ​​404,720 km². The island itself has an area of ​​108,860 km² (with all offshore islands such as Twillingate , Fogo and Bell Island a total of 111,390 km²). The easternmost outpost of the island, the Avalon peninsula with the capital St. John's, has an area of ​​only 9700 km². The island - called "The Rock" by the locals - is inhabited by more than 500,000 people. In contrast, only 28,000 people live on the mainland of Labrador with an area of ​​294,330 km².

The island of Newfoundland offers 9,656 km of coastline. Together with the 7886 km of coastline of Labrador, the province has a total of 17,542 km of coastline. The provincial capital St. John's with a population of around 100,000 is located on the Avalon peninsula in the extreme southeast of the island. About half of the population (250,000) live in the St. John's catchment area. The city has excellent natural harbor areas for fishing and ocean-going shipping; the university town under Signal Hill is also the oldest port city in North America. This extreme east of North America is closest to Europe, so the natural harbor in St. John's was also the first point of landing for new settlers from the Old World. In front of the provincial capital is Cape Spear , which is not only the easternmost point of the island ("First to See the Sun"), but also of the entire North American continent (excluding Greenland ). About 25 km south of Newfoundland is the Saint-Pierre and Miquelon archipelago , a French overseas territory ( collectivité d'outre-mer , officially abbreviated as COM ).

The highest point on the island is the 814 m high mountain The Cabox in the Long Range Mountains on the west coast at Corner Brook . The longest river is the 322 km long Exploits River , which flows northeast from Red Indian Lake .

Newfoundland is a harsh country shaped by the weather and the influence of the Atlantic. The Labrador Current carries numerous icebergs with it in early summer. Although the island with its rugged, rocky coasts is at the same geographical latitude as Central Europe, the temperatures are significantly lower. The weather is cool all year round. Summers are short, with temperatures around 16 ° C. In the coastal areas, precipitation can be expected all year round. Only in the coastal regions does the maritime climate ensure mild winters with temperatures around freezing point. The mainland areas of Newfoundland are generally drier; the winters in Labrador are much colder than on the island itself. Despite the cool and short summers, occasional high temperatures are not uncommon, even in the subarctic areas in the north of the province.


Prehistory and early history

The first inhabitants of Labrador were probably the maritime archaic Indians who lived between 8000 and 3500 BC. Lived in North America (see History of the First Nations ). Excavations at the L'Anse Amour Site on the east coast of Labrador date back to about 7500 BC. Dated. At the latest by 4000 BC. BC these Indians also came to the coast of Newfoundland. Between 3500 and 2500 BC The "Intermediate Indians" who also lived in the interior of the country probably developed from this. In Port au Choix on the west coast of Newfoundland, Indian cemeteries from different eras have been excavated for a long time.

Around 4000 BC Until 2000 BC The pre-Dorset Inuit displaced or took over the settlement areas of the archaic Indians. Around 2400 BC Then came the pre-Dorset Inuit from the northeast to Labrador and Newfoundland. However, they disappeared unexplained from the island. Around 1400 BC The third wave of Inuit, the Thule , immigrated from Alaska . From around 1700 BC. BC to modern times, different groups of Indians were common on the island. The most important groups were or are the Beothuk and the Micmac . The last beothuk, Shanawdithit , died in St. John's in 1829. The Micmac are the last "Native Indians" in Newfoundland; The Innu , formerly called Montagnais / Naskapi, and the Inuit, descendants of the Thule-Inuit, live in Labrador .

The theories that Brendan , an Irish monk , reached Newfoundland in the sixth century are not confirmed.


The Vikings ( Bjarni Herjólfsson , Thorvald Eiriksson , Leif Eriksson ) came to Newfoundland and Labrador on several trips around 1000 AD. Leif Eriksson, the son of Erik the Red , first reached inhospitable “cold land” from Greenland in the summer of 1003, presumably today's Baffin Island , then went south and after a few days found the Markland , woodland; a coast without bays, with long beaches and sand. In the high Middle Ages there was a relative warm period here . Reportedly, there was no winter frost, large salmon, lumber, berries and grazing land.

In 1961 Helge Ingstad discovered a Viking settlement in the far north of the island. L'Anse aux Meadows is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List . It is likely that this is the Viking Vinland . It was already described by Adam von Bremen in 1076 .

In 2015, evidence of a second Viking settlement was discovered at Point Rosee . The evidence of a Nordic settlement in the Viking Age could not be confirmed according to an archaeological report for the Provincial Archeology Office in St. John's from 2017.

15th to 19th century

Map of Newfoundland by James Cook and Michael Lane

In the 15th century, the Portuguese navigator João Cortes Real came close to Newfoundland. But it was not until June 24, 1497 that the first European after the Vikings - John Cabot (Anglicized; Italian Giovanni Caboto ), an Italian seafarer in the service of the English king who came from Bristol - saw the American mainland in Labrador, after being on the that same trip had landed in Bonavista on Newfoundland. The name Newfoundland is derived from Cabot's designation newe founde islande ( German  newly found island ). In 1583 England officially took possession of the island. From 1610 the colony of Newfoundland was established here .

In the 17th century, England and France competed for the island; At that time, cod fishing by Basque and French fishermen from Brittany and Normandy was at its peak. Both sides installed governors and encouraged the settlement of their compatriots. With the Peace of Utrecht in 1713, Newfoundland finally fell to England, but France kept the so-called "French Shore" as a fishing area until 1904. In 1832, Newfoundland received a regional council of representatives.

Another wave of immigration began in the 19th century, mainly from Ireland, but also from Scotland and Scandinavia. The island prospered.

In June 1882 the first railway line was built across the island. The first passengers were not transported by train until 1898, which was called the "Newfie Bullet" because of its speed.

20th century

In June 1919, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown made the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic from Newfoundland . From 1938 to the 1950s, Gander Airport in particular was a stopover for transatlantic flights ; The planes of the time did not yet have the range for non-stop flights between North America and Europe. During the Second World War, thousands of US Army aircraft were transported to Europe via Gander .

Newfoundland (English Dominion of Newfoundland) existed from 1907 to 1934 as an independent Dominion within the British Empire. On March 31, 1949, Newfoundland became a province of Canada. Until the completion of the Trans-Canada-Highway (TCH) in 1967, the railway line was the only overland connection from Port aux Basques in the west to the provincial capital St. John's in the east. Shortly after the TCH was completed, on July 2, 1969, the last passenger was carried. The railway was completely stopped on September 1, 1988, after the federal government had promised the further expansion of the TCH. Nowadays the whole route is in the process of being made accessible to tourism by converting it into Newfoundland T'Railway Provincial Park.

21st century

For a long time Newfoundland was considered the poorest province in Canada. The province has been experiencing an oil boom since the turn of the millennium. Today the country is prospering and enjoying one of the highest standards of living in the world.

On the history of fishing in Newfoundland

The history of the people of Newfoundland is inextricably linked to the history of the fishery, especially the cod. Because the acidic and boggy soils of Newfoundland are hardly usable for agriculture . Fish has always been the sole livelihood of locals and newcomers. Significantly, villages can only be found on the coast, hardly inland; the settlements could only be reached by boat. Off the coast of Newfoundland, the icy and nutrient-rich Labrador Current meets the warmer Gulf Stream : This is how those unimaginable cod beds formed off Newfoundland, without which the coasts would have remained uninhabited. - It would have been hard to imagine for the Vikings in the 10th century that the cod would disappear from the seas : They followed the enormous swarms of cod to the west. On their hunt for the fish they came from Iceland via Greenland to America . The Vikings were followed by the Basques to Newfoundland, who now discovered the art of salting. The first Breton fishermen came to Newfoundland in 1504 and from 1520 onwards 60–90 ships came from French ports every year. However, they had to give way to the Inuit on Groais Island , who defended their hunting grounds. Then the English went ashore on Newfoundland. There are reports that it was no longer possible to see fish on the sea off Newfoundland - or that they could be scooped out of the water in baskets: the schools were so dense that they slowed the boats. - In the 16th century it was the Spanish and Portuguese fleets for which cod became an important source of food in the New World. In the period that followed, cod made up 60 percent of all fish consumption in Europe. - In the record year 1968, 810,000 tons of cod were landed in Canada alone. However, in the second half of the 20th century, fishing in the Atlantic became a threat to the very existence of the sea: the exploitation of the seas with reckless fishing of young animals led to a drastic decline in stocks; the overfishing of the cod was so decimated that the so-called cod wars broke out. Diplomatic relations between Iceland and Great Britain , including Canada , were temporarily interrupted in 1976. The collapse of the cod fishery plunged the island into an existential crisis in the 1990s - with mass unemployment that hit nearly a quarter of the population. The international fishing laws brought massive restrictions; In addition, the fishermen have to deal with the annual protests against the seal hunt that begins at the end of March . Newfoundland has only recently been recovering from the profound social crises - with restructuring of the economic basis (oil wells, tourism).

See also for the story:


Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) of the Cambrian, Terreneuvian and Fortunian in Fortune Head Ecological Reserve , Newfoundland, Canada

The Terreneuvium , that is, the lower chronostratigraphic series of the Cambrian in geological history, was named after the French name Newfoundland (" Terre-Neuve ").

Nature parks

Gros Morne National Park is located on the western American side of the island of Newfoundland . Its natural history attractions include fjord Western Brook Pond and the Tablelands . The 600 m high plateau (table) is geologically unique in that it is where the oldest layers of rock are exposed, allowing glimpses into the interior of the earth. This national park was established in 1973. Because of its extraordinary beauty and the unique geological conditions, the Gros Morne National Park was added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1987. You can get through the Terra Nova National Park on Highway No. 1 en route from St. John's to Gander with an important air hub. Spread over the entire island there are several reserves to protect unique plants and animals, such as Cape St. Mary’s or Witless Bay.

On the southern tip of the island at Mistaken Point is the total reserve Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve , where the world's most famous, richest and best preserved Precambrian fossils have been found. On July 17, 2016, this area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List .


A fishing outport

In addition to oil production, the development of gentle tourism means an important line of business for the Newfoundlanders, especially against the background that the traditional, abundant fishing grounds are now exhausted. At least since the turn of the millennium, the inhabitants of Newfoundland have recognized that tourism, along with oil in the Hibernia oil field and the Terra Nova oil field , is an industry with a future. Due to the isolated location of the island, tourism developed more slowly: primarily hunters and hikers, also artists and individual tourists first visited the island, often with the camper from other parts of Canada or from the USA. Nowadays package tourism - and increasingly also tourists from Europe - has long discovered this extreme eastern outpost of North America for itself. St. John's on the east coast and Corner Brook on the west coast are popular ports of call for cruise ships, usually during the summer months. There is now a wide range of adventure tours and winter holidays. Strong surf and the cold Labrador current from the north rule out a beach holiday on the Atlantic coast, but the countless lakes can reach bathing temperatures in summer. In particular, the development of extraordinarily beautiful rocky coastline on the East Coast Trail on the far-reaching east into the Atlantic Peninsula Avalon with the provincial capital St. John's invites nature lovers a: to bed and breakfast and hiking tours along the coast, but also to Whalewatching- Take a boat trip or watch mighty icebergs off the coast. Caribou herds , seabird colonies and whales offer spectacular photo motifs. Arts, crafts and local customs attract tourists.


Newfoundland is easily accessible by air. The St. John's International Airport was opened in 1941 and is located north of St. John's.


There has been no rail traffic on Newfoundland since 1988.


The Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1) leads from Port aux Basques on the west coast to St. John's. It runs parallel along first to the western, then to the northern, and finally to the eastern coast, the distance is 905 km.

Biggest places

(2006 population)

  1. St. John's (106,172)
  2. Mount Pearl (24,671)
  3. Conception Bay South (21,966)
  4. Corner Brook (20,083)
  5. Grand Falls-Windsor (13,558)
  6. Paradise (12,584)
  7. Gander (9951)
  8. Stephenville (6588)
  9. Torbay (6281)
  10. Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s (5575)


Fishing as the almost exclusive source of livelihood for the Newfoundlanders made roads and road connections on the island superfluous well into the 20th century. The people lived accordingly isolated in villages along the coast and communicated with each other by boat. The remote location of the communes meant that the customs, folklore and linguistic characteristics of the former settlers for a long time - and z. T. until today - have received. In addition to American English, one still hears old-fashioned English and French, especially Irish expressions and occasionally u. a. also Portuguese. It was only after Newfoundland was annexed to Canada in 1949 and the associated expansion of infrastructure, radio and television that modernity reached these remote villages and replaced these linguistic peculiarities. Nowadays, Newfoundland is one of the regions with the highest percentage of Internet usage. In 2009 almost 70 percent of the population had internet access (including Labrador).

For the mentality of "Newfie" as Newfoundland are called in Canada often, the novel is The Shipping News (dt. The Shipping News ) by Annie Proulx a comprehensive overview. This book was made into a film on the condition that the recordings were made in Newfoundland. The Newfoundlanders thanked them by naming a stretch of coast after the hero "Quoyle's Land". The film of the same name was shot in 2001 with actors Kevin Spacey and Julianne Moore near Trinity (Bonavista Bay).

The "Newfies" are occasionally the object of jokes and in this respect are considered the "East Frisians of North America". Most of the Newfie jokes come from the Newfies themselves, who in turn target the awkwardness of other Canadians (e.g. the term Torontonians , which stands for “people from Toronto and the mainland”). (see Ostfriesenwitz ).


  • Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism (Eds.): Newfoundland & Labrador: Travel Guide. yearly
  • Elke Dettmer (Ed., Transl.): Newfoundland and Labrador - Insider reports. Johnson Family Foundation, 2001 ISBN 0-9685672-3-1
  • Bernard D. Fardy: John Cabot - The Discovery of Newfoundland. Creative Book Publishing, 1994
  • Bernice Morgan : At the end of the sea. dtv, Munich 1998 (org. Waiting for time)
  • Bernice Morgan: The colors of the sea. btb Goldmann, Munich 1998 (original Random Passage)
  • Bob Tulk: Newfie Jokes. Newfie Jokes, Corner Brook, 1971 ff.
  • Daniel Woodley Prowse: A History of Newfoundland. (New edition), Boulder Publications, Portugal Cove 2002
  • E. Annie Proulx : Ship reports. List, Munich 1995 (org. Shipping News)
  • Farley Mowat : A Whale For The Killing. McClelland & Stewart, Toronto 1972
  • Farley Mowat: The Farfarers. Key Porter Books, Toronto 1998
  • Farley Mowat: The Boat Who Wouldn't Float. McClelland & Stewart, Toronto 1969
  • Farley Mowat: West Viking. McClelland & Stewart, Toronto 1965
  • Howard Norman: The fresco. Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt 1997 (org. The Bird Artist)
  • Margaret Elphinstone: The Road to Vinland. List, Munich 2002 (org. The Sea Road)
  • Mark Kurlansky: The fish that changed the world. Claassen, Munich 1997 (org.Cod. A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World)
  • George M. Story, WJ Kirwin, John DA Widdowson: Dictionary of Newfoundland English. University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1982
  • Wayne Johnston : The Colony of Unfulfilled Dreams . Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1999 (orig. The Colony of unrequieted dreams)
  • Gerhard P. Bassler: Escape Hatch. Newfoundland's Quest for German Industry and Immigration, 1950-1970. Flanker Press, St. John's 2017

Web links

Commons : Newfoundland  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Spectrum of Science: A second Viking settlement discovered in America
  2. Point Rosee, Codroy Valley, NL (ClBu-07) 2016 Test Excavations
  3. La pêche française à Terre-Neuve. Retrieved August 4, 2017 .
  4. ^ French Shore ( English, French ) In: The Canadian Encyclopedia . Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  5. Newfie (also "Newf" or "Newfy") Name for the Newfoundland residents, bullet , (shot) ball
  6. La pêche française à Terre-Neuve. Retrieved August 4, 2017 .
  7. Entry of Mistaken Point in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.Retrieved July 21, 2016
  8. The Broadcasting Corporation of Newfoundland was founded in 1939 and was incorporated into the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1949; see. Jeff A. Webb: The Voice of Newfoundland: A Social History of the Broadcasting Corporation of Newfoundland. University of Toronto Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8020-9553-4 .
  9. Statistics Canada , accessed September 4, 2013.
  10. ^ Richard Wiseman: Studies on the Psychology of Laughter. In: Brain & Mind. 4, 2008, p. 30; Peter Ludwig Berger: Redemptive laughter. de Gruyter, Berlin 1998, p. 62.