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Vinland

Vinland is the area of coastal North America explored by Norse Vikings, where Leif Erikson first landed approximately five centuries prior to the voyages of Christopher Columbus and John Cabot. Vinland was the name given to North America as far as it was explored by the Vikings, presumably including both Newfoundland and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence as far as northeastern New Brunswick (where the eponymous grapevines are found).

In 1960, archaeological evidence of the only known Norse settlement in North America (outside Greenland) was found at L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland. Before the discovery of archaeological evidence, Vinland was known only from Old Norse sagas and medieval historiography. The 1960 discovery conclusively proved the pre-Columbian Norse colonization of the Americas. L'Anse aux Meadows may correspond to the camp Straumfjörð mentioned in the Saga of Erik the Red.

Leif Erikson

Leif Erikson or Leif Ericson was an Icelandic explorer and the first known European to have discovered North America (excluding Greenland), before Christopher Columbus. According to the Sagas of Icelanders, he established a Norse settlement at Vinland, tentatively identified with the Norse L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland in modern-day Canada. Later archaeological evidence suggests that Vinland may have been the areas around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and that the L'Anse aux Meadows site was a ship repair station.

Leif was the son of Erik the Red, the founder of the first Norse settlement in Greenland and of Þjóðhildur (anglicized Thjodhild). He was likely born in Iceland and grew up in the family estate Brattahlíð in the Eastern Settlement in Greenland. Leif had two known sons: Thorgils, born to noblewoman Thorgunna in the Hebrides; and Thorkell, who succeeded him as chieftain of the Greenland settlement.

Captain Cook

Captain James Cook (7 November 1728 – 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

Carter

Sir Frederick Bowker Terrington Carter, KCMG (February 12, 1819 – March 1, 1900) was a lawyer and Premier of Newfoundland from 1865 to 1870. He was son of Peter Weston Carter and great-grandson of Robert Carter, who was appointed justice of the peace at Ferryland in 1750. In 1855, he was elected to the House of Assembly as a Conservative and was Speaker from 1861 to 1865. In 1865 he succeeded Sir Hugh Hoyles as Premier.

Cormack

William Epps Cormack (5 May 1796 – 30 April 1868) was a Scottish-Canadian explorer, philanthropist, agriculturalist and author, born St. John’s, Newfoundland. Cormack was the first European to journey across the interior of the island. His account of his travels was first published in Britain in 1824. Interested in studying and trying to preserve Native culture, he founded the Beothick Institution in 1827.

Sylvester Joe

Sylvester Joe (unknown – 1839), hunter and explorer, born Baie d'Espoir, Newfoundland, Canada. Joe, a native Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland, was the noted hunter from the south-west coast of the Island of Newfoundland who was engaged by William Cormack to guide him on his trek across Newfoundland, the first European to do so.

In his writings William Cormack refers to him as Joseph Sylvester, it would appear that he had reversed the name inadvertently, as Joe is a common first name in this area of Newfoundland while Sylvester is unknown as a surname among Newfoundland Mi'kmaq.

Joe can be credited for much of the success of Cormack's venture which began at Smith Sound, Trinity Bay and ended at St. George's Bay on the west coast of the Island. This cross island expedition was undertaken by just Joe and Cormack in search of the declining population of the native Beothuk and to also explore the interior of the Island.

On September 10, 1822, five days into their journey, Cormack immortalized Joe by naming Mount Sylvester in his honour. When Joe realized the immensity of the task at hand, he suggested to Cormack that they abandon their expedition and head south to his home town of Baie d'Espoir. Cormack convinced him to continue by drawing up a new contract on September 14.

Mi'kmaq

The Mi'kmaq (also Micmac, L'nu and Mi'kmaw) are a First Nations people indigenous to Canada's Maritime Provinces and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec. They call this region Mi'kma'ki. Others today live in Newfoundland and the northeastern region of Maine. The nation has a population of about 40,000 (plus about 25,000 in the Qalipu First Nation in Newfoundland), of whom nearly 11,000 speak Mi'kmaq, an Eastern Algonquianlanguage. 

On September 26, 2011 the Government of Canada announced the recognition of Canada's newest Mi'kmaq First Nations Band, the Qalipu First Nations in Newfoundland and Labrador. The new band, which is landless, has accepted 25,000 applications to become part of the band. Its members are recognized as Status Indians, joining other organized Mi'kmaq bands recognized in southeast Canada.

David Buchan

David Buchan, naval officer, colonial administrator, judge, office holder, and Arctic explorer He was born in 1780 in Scotland; married in 1802 or 1803 to Maria Adye, and they had at least three children. He died at sea, some time after 8 Dec. 1838.

In 1806 David Buchan was appointed lieutenant in the Royal Navy and two years later, as a convoy officer for the fishing fleet, he began his long association with Newfoundland. In October 1810 Governor John Thomas Duckworth chose him to lead an expedition into the interior of the island with the aim of making contact with the Beothuks, the small native Indian tribe the government was anxious to protect.

Mariner

One who navigates or assists in navigating a ship.

Beothuk

The Beothuk are the aboriginal people of the island of Newfoundland. They were Algonkian-speaking hunter-gatherers who probably numbered less than a thousand people at the time of European contact. The Beothuk are the descendants of a Recent Indian culture called the Little Passage Complex.

Ann Harvey

Ann Harvey (1811–1860) was a fisher and rescuer born near the small fishing community of Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland, Canada. Harvey, called "Grace Darling of Newfoundland", is known for her bravery at the young age of seventeen for rescuing, along with her father, younger brother and a dog, 163 shipwrecked souls from the brig Despatch between July 12-15, 1828. Despatch had departed from Derry in late May, carrying nearly 200 Irish immigrants (and 11 crew-members) bound for Quebec City, but on July 10, a fierce storm wrecked the brig on the rocks near Isle aux Morts.

Sir David Kirke

Sir David Kirke (1597 – 1654) was an adventurer, colonizer and governor for the king of England. He is best known for his successful capture of New France in 1629 during the Thirty Years' War, and his subsequent Governorship of lands in Newfoundland. 

Kirke is believed to have visited Ferryland, as he published a report on the island of Newfoundland in 1635. Kirke was impressed by the island's fisheries, and in 1637 he asked King Charles for a land grant. In November 1637 Kirke and his partners were granted a royal charter for co-proprietorship of the entire island. A portion of Newfoundland, the Avalon Peninsula, had already been granted to George Calvert, but he was accused of abandoning his colony (before his death in 1632), and the lands were transferred to Kirke. The charter of this grant had stipulations designed to reduce conflict with migratory fishermen; there was to be no settlement within six miles of the shore, fishing rooms were not to be occupied before the arrival of the summer fishing crews, and a five per cent tax was to be collected on all fish products taken by foreigners.

Kirke was installed as the Proprietary Governor, and arrived in 1638 with 100 colonists. The original governorship of the Avalon Peninsula had passed to Baltimore's son, Cecilius (Cecil) Calvert, who had installed William Hill as governor.

Kirke seized the governor's mansion, then occupied by Hill. In January 1638, the king also granted Kirke a coat of arms, “For the greater honour and splendour of that Countrey and the people therein inhabiting … to be used in all such cases as Armes are wont to be by other nations and Countries.” In 1639, Kirke renamed the colony the Pool Plantation. Over the next several years, Kirke erected forts at Ferryland, St. John’s, and Bay de Verde. He collected tolls from all fishing vessels.

Kirke was granted the rights to "the sole trade of the Newfoundland, the Fishing excepted." The latter clause resulted in considerable trouble. At the time the Grand Banks of Newfoundland were being fished by many European nations, and Kirke's 5% tax gave the advantage to the English. A number of West Country merchants thrived on the fish trade. Represented in London by Kirke, Barkeley and Company (with several of his brothers at the helm), Kirke used his land rights to support the fish trade, in conflict with the charter terms. By 1638 strong ties between Ferryland and Dartmouth, Devon had already been set up. Kirke brought the entire trade network south of St. John's under a growing family commercial empire.

These actions aroused strong animosity from the West Country merchants. The planters and migratory fishermen agreed that Kirke was reserving the best fishing rooms for himself and his friends. In addition, he was accused of opening taverns, which were disruptive to the settlers' work. But before these charges could be investigated, in 1642 the English Civil War broke out between the king and parliament.

Sir William Vaughn

Sir William Vaughan (1575-1641) was a Welsh lawyer, scholar and poet. Deeply concerned about poor economic conditions in Wales, he became interested in overseas colonization. He decided to try and plant a colony in Newfoundland because it was easily accessible and possessed an established fishery.

In 1616 he purchased from the Newfoundland Company the Avalon Peninsula south of a line from Caplin Bay (now Calvert) across to Placentia Bay. He called the area "New Cambriol" – a "little Wales" in the New World.

Irish Loop

Since 1500's the migratory fishery attracted Europeans to fish off the of the Avalon Peninsula. For nations initially harvested northern cod to feed Europe's growing population: France, England, Spain, and Portugal. However, by the 1700's the Spanish and Portuguese had been eliminated and the French and English would fight over the abundant resource until 1815. During this time communities and the Avalon Peninsula grew from small seasonal stations to year round settlements. Beginning in the early 1800's, large numbers of Irish began settling year round and caused the regions demographics to be changed forever. By the mid 1800's, unlike other parts of Newfoundland, the overwhelming number of settlers in The Irish Loop were Roman Catholic and of Irish descent. In almost 400 hundred years of permanent settlement, the people of the Irish Loop have endured countless marine tragedies that include hundreds of shipwrecks off their shores.

Alcock & Brown

The first transatlantic flight was achieved in 1919 with the arrival of a Vickers-Vimy biplane behind the Marconi wireless station at Derrigimlagh, 4 kilometres south of Clifden. On-board were two British airmen, Captain John Alcock (pilot), and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown (navigator). The aeroplane had taken off from Lester’s Field in St John’s, Newfoundland at 4:12 p.m. GMT the previous day and arrived at Derrigimlagh, Clifden, County Galway at 8:40 a.m. GMT on Sunday 15th June. The distance covered was a little less than 1,900 miles. The flight time was 16 hours 28 minutes.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1539-1583) was an English nobleman, Army officer, member of Parliament, and explorer.

Early in his career, Gilbert started English settlements in Ireland (to try to stop the Irish rebellion) and, much later, sailed to North America in search of a Northwest Passage (a sea route to Asia through North America). He founded an English settlement in Newfoundland.

Gilbert is said to have believed that America was the lost continent of Atlantis (a legendary but fictional continent that is said to have sunk in ancient times). He was determined to find a sea route through the northern waters of North America. On September 23, 1578, he sailed from England, but was attacked by Spaniards and returned to England.

He successfully sailed again on June 11, 1583, with 5 ships. One ship had to return because of leaks, but the others eventually made it to North America. He landed in Newfoundland on July 30, 1583, and then sailed to St. John's. Gilbert claimed the area for Queen Elizabeth I of England, and started a colony.

After two weeks in his new colony, Gilbert left his colony to explore the area around Nova Scotia. He died on this expedition when his boat, the "Squirrel," sank near the Azore Islands on September 9, 1583 (he was returning to England). Gilbert was the step-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Captain Bob Bartlett

During the more than 50 years of his seafaring life, Captain Robert (Bob) Abram Bartlett skippered some of the most famous, dangerous, and controversial exploratory expeditions to the Arctic. He travelled further north than almost any other living person, was shipwrecked at least 12 times, survived for months in the inhospitable Arctic after sea ice crushed his ship, and journeyed hundreds of miles by dogsled to reach civilization. Despite these hardships, Bartlett returned to the Arctic whenever circumstance allowed and almost always came back with photographs, film reels, and scientific data that greatly contributed to the world's understanding of the north.

John Guy

John Guy (died c. March 1629) was an English merchant adventurer, colonist and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1621 to 1624. He was the first Proprietary Governor of Newfoundland and led the first attempt to establish a colony on the island.

Amelia Earhart

On May 20, 1932 at 7:20 p.m., with a thermos bottle of Rose Archibald’s soup and a can of tomato juice, Amelia Earhart lifted off from the Harbour Grace, NL Airstrip in her Lockheed Vega and flew into the sunset. 14 hours and 56 minutes, after a challenging flight, she landed in a cow field at Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

She became the first woman pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. It was a hazardous flight due to the fact that her altimeter* wasn’t working. She didn’t know her altitude*; how high she was above the ocean, but she arrived safely and was awarded many honors in Europe.

The statue is located in Harbour Grace, NL on the site of the Spirit of Harbour Grace, the SS Kyle, and the Visitor Information Centre.

Corte-Real

Gaspar Corte-Real was given a royal charter in 1500, and made a voyage that year in which he reached Terra Verde. This was probably Newfoundland, but some historians have Corte-Real sailing first to Greenland, and the south along the Labrador coast to Newfoundland.

Gaspar sailed to Terra Verde again in 1501, with three caravels. Again, there has been much speculation about his route. He encountered ice, sailed south, and found a more temperate land which some locate in Labrador, others – more plausibly – in eastern Newfoundland.

On the return voyage Gaspar drowned, along with his crew. Gaspar's brother, Miguel Corte-Real, went to look for him in 1502, but also failed to return.

As a result of these voyages the names Terra Cortereal and Terra del Rey de Portuguall began to appear on European maps, and it is clear that the Portuguese were very interested in what the new lands had to offer - fish, timber and slaves. But the extent and nature of Portuguese activity in the region during the 16th century remains unclear and controversial. The number of Portuguese place names that survive to this day, and the evidence of Portuguese maps, suggests that their presence was significant, but probably not as important as historians have traditionally suggested.

John Cabot 

John Cabot (Italian: Giovanni Caboto, Venetian: Zuan Chabotto; c. 1450 – c. 1500) was a Genoese navigator and explorer whose 1497 discovery of parts of North America under the commission of Henry VII of England is commonly held to have been the first European exploration of the mainland of North America since the Norse Vikings' visits to Vinland in the eleventh century. To mark the Canadian celebration of the 500th anniversary of Cabot's expedition, the Canadian and British governments have both accepted a widely held conclusion that the landing site was at Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland. 

The Matthew 

The Matthew was the ship in which John Cabot sailed from Bristol to North America in 1497. Little is known about it. A few documents corroborate that it was named the Matthew (also spelled Mathew or Mathewe), and some historians have speculated that it may have been named after Cabot's wife, Mattea. John Day, a Bristol merchant, wrote in 1497-98 that Cabot “had only one ship of fifty toneless [tons] and twenty men and food for seven or eight months.” This makes it a relatively small vessel – Bristol customs accounts refer to it as a “navicula”, similar to a caravel. These were maneuverable vessels with three masts.

Shanawdithit

Shanawdithit (ca. 1801 – June 6, 1829), also noted as Shawnadithititis, Shawnawdithit, Nancy April and Nancy Shanawdithit, was the last known living member of the Beothuk people of Newfoundland, Canada. Also remembered for drawings she made towards the end of her life, Shawnawdithit was in her late twenties when she died of tuberculosis in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Joe Batt

Joseph Batt was a member of Captain Cook’s crew when he was charting the coast around Fogo Island. He deserted the ship and set up house, so to speak, in the then uninhabited inlet that somehow or another became known as Joe Batt’s Arm, a little before 1750.

French Shore  

Conche, Croque, Grandois/St. Julien's and Main Brook are located along a stretch of coastline known as the French Shore. In the early 1500s, European fishing crews of many nations began sailing across the North Atlantic for great stocks of cod reported by John Cabot.

By the 17th century, the Newfoundland cod fishery had become a significant part of the European economy and politics. English and French fleets soon dominated the fishery. Their struggle for control of the Newfoundland fishery played a continuing role in the European wars and treaties between 1689 and 1815. When the French lost control of Newfoundland in 1713, they negotiated the exclusive right to fish cod seasonally in designated Newfoundland waters referred to in treaties as the French Shore. These treaty rights remained until 1904.

Dorset

Dorset culture, 500 BC-1500 CE, is known archaeologically from most coastal regions of arctic Canada. The Dorset people were descended from Palaeoeskimos of the Pre-Dorset Culture.

Dorset culture, 500 BC-1500 CE, is known archaeologically from most coastal regions of arctic Canada. The Dorset people were descended from Palaeoeskimos of the Pre-Dorset Culture. Compared to their ancestors, the Dorset people had a more successful economy and lived in more permanent houses built of snow and turf and heated with soapstone oil lamps. They may also have used dogsleds and kayaks. They lived primarily by hunting sea mammals and were capable of taking animals as large as walrus and narwhal. About 500 BCE they moved down the Labrador coast and occupied the island of Newfoundland for about 1000 years. About 1000 CE, they were displaced from most arctic regions by an invasion of Thule Inuit from Alaska, but they continued to live in northern Québec and Labrador until approximately 1500 CE.

Grenfell

Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, medical missionary (born at Parkgate, Eng 28 February 1865; died at Charlotte, Vt 9 October 1940). Grenfell entered the London Medical School in 1883 and 2 years later was converted to active Christianity at a tent meeting of American evangelist Dwight L. Moody. In 1888 he followed the suggestion of one of his teachers, Sir Frederick Treves, that he join the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. He was made superintendent in 1889 and for 3 months in 1892, at the mission's request, cruised the Newfoundland and Labrador coast where 30,000 stationers, 3300 "livyers" (permanent settlers) and 1700 Inuit received only an annual visit from one government doctor. Grenfell treated 900 patients and saw a great opportunity for medical and missionary work. He raised funds to open the first hospital at Battle Harbour in 1893. Grenfell was a forceful speaker and easily gained the friendship of influential men. His medical mission grew rapidly with hospital, orphanage and nursing stations and the first co-operatives in Newfoundland. Grenfell did not winter in the North until 1899 and spent comparatively few winters there, establishing his headquarters at St. Anthony, Nfld. A prolific writer and forceful publicist, he often used artistic licence in accounts of life on the northern coasts. His main financial support came from the US. In 1909 he married a Chicago heiress, Anne MacClanahan, who took him away from life on the coast. Growing friction with the mission eventually led to a split, and the International Grenfell Assn was incorporated in 1912. The practical medical work of the IGA was carried on by dedicated if autocratic doctors, while Grenfell became increasingly involved in fund raising. He was made CMG in 1906 and KCMG in 1927, the year in which he retired to Vermont. Famous in his lifetime, he is now largely forgotten; his papers are in the Yale medical history library.

Eric The Red

Erik Thorvaldsson (Old Norse: Eiríkr Þorvaldsson; 950 – c. 1003), known as Eric the Red (Old Norse: Eiríkr hinn rauði) was a Norwegian Viking, remembered in medieval and Icelandic saga sources as having founded the first Norse settlement in Greenland. His son, Leif Erikson, is said to have discovered North America and established the first Norse settlement in Vinland (L'anse aux Meadows).