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By Beachcomber, retrieved from Wikipedia
Nov 3, 2003, 21:58
Newfoundland is a large island off the north-east coast of North America, and the most populous part of the Canadian province Newfoundland and Labrador. (The province was called "Newfoundland" until 2001.)
"Newfoundland" (in the original, Terra Nova) was named by the Portuguese João Vaz Corte-Real in 1472, making it the oldest European name in North America.
Newfoundland is separated from the Labrador Peninsula by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Cape Breton Island by Cabot Strait. It is 111 390 km2 in area, making it the world's 15th largest island.
The provincial capital, St. John's, is found on the southeastern tip of the island. Cape Spear, just south of the capital, is the easternmost point of Canada and North America.
The only authenticated Viking settlement in North America was discovered on this island by Norwegian explorer Dr. Helge Ingstad and his archaeologist wife, Anne Stine Ingstad, at L'Anse aux Meadows in 1960. The site of a multi-year archaeological dig, the settlement dating to more than 500 years before Christopher Columbus contains the earliest European structures in North America. Named a World Heritage site by UNESCO, it is believed to be the legendary Vinland settlement of explorer Leif Ericson.
Newfoundland was explored by Didrik Pining in 1473 and later by Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524, whose expedition was financed by the citizens of Lyon, under the auspices of King François I of France.
After the Vikings, the first permanent European settlers in Newfoundland were Irish fishermen, who named the island Talamh an Éisc, meaning "island of fish" in Irish Gaelic. This was to foreshadow the centuries of importance of Newfoundland's offshore fishing waters.
On July 5, 1610, John Guy set sail from Bristol, England with 39 other colonists for Newfoundland.
French and Basque colonists also arrived to settle on the west coast of Newfoundland. The French called it 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.
The word 'Newfoundland' is pronounced by Canadians with the second syllable slurred and the accent on the last, (as 'New-f'nd-LAND'), so as to imperfectly rhyme with the word 'understand'. Newfoundland has a dialect of English known as Newfoundland English.
The popular 1993 novel by Annie Proulx, The Shipping News, was mostly set in northernmost Newfoundland.
Being one of the first places discovered in the New World, Newfoundland has a rich history. St. John's is considered by some to be the oldest city in North America - a title also claimed by St. Augustine, Florida. Besides the places mentioned above, there are several other key spots with deep cultural history.
Stephenville, a town of about 8000, once served as an airport base for the US army in the early 1940s. It is about 20 miles north of it's former train station, which is surrounded by the town of Stephenville Crossing.
Sandy Point, which is located in Bay Saint George and north of the town of St. George's, was the first and largest settlement of the west coast. However, the last settler, Alphonsus Swyers, was forced to abandon in 1973.
Barachois Brook Park is the major park in Newfoundland. It is also considered to be a model forest.
Marble Mountain is a major attraction in the winter for skiers. It is said to be the best skiing east of the Rocky Mountains or "Rockies"
Newfoundland is also host to a well recognized university known as the Memorial University of Newfoundland located in St. John's.
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