Known as “the Rock”, Newfoundland is a Canadian island on the Atlantic Ocean. The island was part of the British empire until 1949, when it joined Canada. That’s the reason why its inhabitants have a British accent.
AN OLD CAPITAL
St. Johns, its lively and colourful capital, is the oldest English-founded settlement and the oldest city in Canada. Founded in 1604, the city was named Saint John after the day the settlers arrived, on June 24th. A century later, the town was captured and burned by the French, and one year later reoccupied by the British.
Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the area was populated by the Beothuk, aboriginal hunter-gatherers. Its population dramatically declined due to the diseases brought by the Europeans and they disappeared at the beginning of the 19th century. Despite their extinction, their legacy is still alive in Newfoundland, as is the island’s Viking culture. In the region you can visit a Beothuk site and a Norse settlement with archaeological remains, and experience what Beothuk and Viking life was like.
Visitors should not miss Gros Morne National Park, named after the highest mountain on the island. It is just eight hundred meters high, but from its peak one can admire some of the island’s fjords as well as the Pissing Mare Falls, the highest falls in eastern North America. The island also boasts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world and more than twenty whale species, among other sea animals.
Newfoundland’s economy is based on the fishing industry. Icebergs also play an important role, because besides attracting a lot of tourists, these huge mountains of freshwater ice are also used to produce drinks like Iceberg Vodka or Iceberg Beer.
TWO EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS
Newfoundland was also the scene of a great tragedy and the starting point of a great feat. In 1912, the luxury ship Titanic collided with an iceberg just four hundred miles south of Newfoundland. Twenty years later, the American pilot pioneer Amelia Earhart flew from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, to Northern Ireland, becoming the first woman to cross the Atlantic by plane. Her solo, non-stop flight across the ocean took fifteen hours.