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Newfoundland

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

Newfoundland is the site of the only authenticated Norse (mostly Greenlandic Icelanders) settlement in North America. This archeological site was discovered by Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad and his wife, archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad, at L'Anse aux Meadows in 1960. The site has been the subject of multi-year archaeological digs in the 1960s and 1970s. These have revealed that the settlement dated to more than 500 years before John Cabot; it contains the earliest-known European structures in North America. Designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, it is believed to be the Vinland settlement of explorer Leif Eiriksson. (The Icelandic Skálholt Vinland Map of 1570 refers to the area as "Promontorium Winlandiæ" and correctly shows it on a 51°N parallel with Bristol, England). The Norse stayed for a relatively short period of time, believed to be between 999 and 1001 AD. Cabot Tower located in St John's After the departure of the Norse, the island was inhabited by aboriginal populations for nearly 500 years. In 1497, the Italian navigator John Cabot (Zuan/Giovanni Cabotto) became the first European since the Norse settlers to set foot on Newfoundland, working under commission of King Henry VII of England. His landing site is unknown but popularly believed to be Cape Bonavista, along the island's East coast.,[14] Another site claimed is Cape Bauld, at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. A document found in the Spanish National Archives, written by a Bristol merchant, reports that Cabot's crew landed 1,800 miles (2,900 km) west of Dursey Head, Ireland (latitude 51° 35'N), which would put Cabot within sight of Cape Bauld. This document mentions an island that Cabot sailed past to go ashore on the mainland. This description fits with the Cape Bauld theory, as Belle Isle is not far offshore.[14] After Cabot, the first European visitors to Newfoundland were Portuguese, Spanish, French and English migratory fishermen. In 1501, Portuguese explorers Gaspar Corte-Real and his brother Miguel Corte-Real charted part of the coast of Newfoundland in a failed attempt to find the Northwest Passage. Late in the 17th century came Irish fishermen, who named the island Talamh an Éisc, meaning "land of the fish", or "the fishing grounds" in Irish Gaelic. This reflected the abundance of fisheries. In 1583, when Sir Humphrey Gilbert formally claimed Newfoundland as a colony of England, he found numerous English, French and Portuguese vessels at St. John's. There was no permanent population. Gilbert was lost at sea during his return voyage, and plans of settlement were postponed. On July 5, 1610, John Guy set sail from Bristol, England with 39 other colonists for Cuper's Cove. This, and other early attempts at permanent settlement failed to make a profit for the English investors, but some settlers remained, forming the very earliest modern European population on the island. By 1620, the fishermen of England's West Country dominated the east coast of Newfoundland. French fishermen dominated the island's south coast and Northern Peninsula. James Cook's 1775 Chart of Newfoundland After 1713, with the Treaty of Utrecht, the French ceded control of south and north shores of the island to the British. They kept only the nearby islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, located in the fish-rich Grand Banks off the south coast. Despite some early settlements by the English, the Crown discouraged permanent, year-round settlement of Newfoundland by migratory fishery workers. Thomas Nash was an Irish Catholic fisherman who permanently settled in Newfoundland despite English rule. He established the fishing town of Branch.[15] He and his cousin Father Patrick Power of Callan, County Kilkenny, spread Catholicism in Newfoundland. This settlement attracted a major migration of Irish Catholic immigrants to Newfoundland in the early eighteenth century.[16] By the late 18th century, permanent settlement increased, peaking in the early years of the 19th century.[17] The French name for the island is Terre Neuve. The name "Newfoundland"' is one of the oldest European place names in Canada in continuous geographical and cartographical use, dating from a 1502 letter. It was stated in the following 1628 poem:

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