The first brief European contact with Newfoundland and Labrador came about 1000 AD when the Vikings briefly settled in LAnse aux Meadows. Around 1500 AD, European explorers and fishermen from England, Portugal, France, fishing expeditions came seasonally, the first small permanent settlements appeared around 1630 AD. Catholic-Protestant religious tensions were high but mellowed after 1860, the British colony voted against joining Canada in 1869 and became an independent dominion in the early 20th century. Fishing was always the dominant industry, but the collapsed in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Prosperity and self-confidence returned during the Second World War, and after intense debate the people voted to join Canada in 1949, poverty and emigration have remained significant themes in Newfoundland history, despite efforts to modernize after 1949. Most efforts failed, and the collapse of the cod fishing industry was a terrific blow in the 1990s. The oil boom in the 00s has revived the economy, human habitation in Newfoundland and Labrador can be traced back about 9000 years to the people of the Maritime Archaic Tradition. They were gradually displaced by people of the Dorset Culture the Lnu, or Mikmaq and finally by the Innu and Inuit in Labrador, the first European contact with North America was that of the medieval Norse sailing from Greenland. For several years after 1000 AD they lived in a village on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, remnants and artifacts of the occupation can still be seen at LAnse aux Meadows, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island was inhabited by the Beothuks and later the Mikmaq, from the late 15th Century, European explorers like John Cabot, João Fernandes Lavrador, Gaspar Corte-Real, Jacques Cartier and others began exploration. John Cabot, commissioned by King Henry VII of England, landed on the North East coast of North America in 1497, the exact location of his landing is unknown but the 500th anniversary of his landing was commemorated in Bonavista, Newfoundland. The 1497 voyage has generated debate among historians, with various points in Newfoundland. Fishing vessels with Basque, English, Portuguese, French and Spanish crews started to make seasonal expeditions, Basque vessels had been fishing cod shoals off Newfoundlands coasts since the beginning of the 16th century, and their crews used the natural harbour at Placentia. French fishers also began to use the area, a settlement was founded at Placentia at some point during the early 16th Century. From 1616, English Proprietary Governors were also appointed, to establish settlements on the island. John Guy was governor of the first settlement at Cupers Cove, other settlements were Bristols Hope, Renews, New Cambriol, South Falkland and Avalon which became a province in 1623. The first governor given jurisdiction over all of Newfoundland was Sir David Kirke in 1638, explorers soon realized that the waters around Newfoundland had the best fishing in the North Atlantic. By 1620,300 fishing boats worked the Grand Bank, employing some 10,000 sailors and they dried and salted the cod on the coast and sold it to Spain and Portugal
Plaque commemorating Gilbert's founding of the British Empire
1897 Newfoundland postage stamp, the first in the world to feature mining
Newfoundland and Canadian Government delegation signing the agreement admitting Newfoundland to Confederation in December 1948. Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and Albert Walsh shake hands following signing of agreement.