Newfoundland and Labrador includes the island of Newfoundland and the mainland of Labrador (northwest of the island).
The Strait of Belle Isle separates the two sections of the province.
Labrador is the easternmost part of the Canadian Shield.
Formerly a colony and dominion of the United Kingdom, Newfoundland became the tenth province of Canada on March 31, 1949.
The province joined Canada as "Newfoundland," but since 1964, the province's government has referred to itself as the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
On December 6, 2001, an amendment was made to the Constitution of Canada to change the province's official name to "Newfoundland and Labrador.
" Yet most people still refer to the island as "Newfoundland" and the mainland as "Labrador.
" As of January 2010, the province's population was estimated to be 510,805.
About 94% of the province's population resides on the Island of Newfoundland (including over 7000 tiny islands).
Almost 50% of these residents live on the Avalon Peninsula.
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.
The Island of Newfoundland is known for its distinct dialects, which can vary from region to region, and are based on the English, French, and Irish languages.
In addition to these dialects, Labrador has its own dialects of Innu-aimun and Inuktitut.
Marine Atlantic provides inter-provincial ferry services.
Auto/passenger ferries run from Sydney, Nova Scotia, to the Newfoundland towns of Port aux Basques, and Argentia in southern Newfoundland The first inhabitants of Newfoundland and Labrador can be traced back over 9,000 years to the people of the Maritime Archaic Tradition.
This group was displaced later by the Palaeo-Eskimo people of the Dorset Culture (the L'nu or Mi'kmaq), as well as by the Innu and Inuit in Labrador, and the Beothuks on the island.
Over 1000 years ago, the first European presence occurred with the arrival of the Vikings 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 explored the area.
John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto, a citizen of Venice, Italy) is credited with discovering Newfoundland on June 24, 1497.
In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert took possession of Newfoundland in the name of England.
At that point, the city of St.
John's had been established already but new settlements were started at Cupids, Ferryland, and other places.
Basques fishermen who had been fishing off Newfoundland since the 15th century founded Placentia (Plaisance in French).
In 1655, France appointed a governor in Plaisance.
This formal French colonization period in Newfoundland lasted until the Treaty of Utrechtin 1713.
According to the terms of that treaty, France handed over 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 transferred to England.
Afterwards, under the supervision of the last French governor, the French population of Plaisance moved to Île Royale (now Cape Breton Island) which was still under French control.
Modern Newfoundland is a vibrant and diverse province and its people are known for their friendliness.
Every year, thousands of tourists discover the island's magic.
Plan an Atlantic experience.
Stay in Newfoundland cottages and hotels and enjoy a fabulous time in Canada's youngest province.