Newfoundland – a distinct society?Bearbeiten

General facts:

Population: 510.900

Area: 405.720 sq km

Capital: St John’s

Location: part of the most eastern Canadian province “Newfoundland and Labrador”


- Newfoundland & Labrador was the first area of America’s Atlantic coastline which was explored by the Europeans (Vikings in 1001)

- 1497: British explorer John Cabot claimed land as a British colony (under King Henry VIII) but no permanent settlement -> only for fishing and trading

- Newfoundland became Britain’s colony in North America

- 1610: first British colony established

o Immigrants from Europe relied on exporting of fish

o They were isolated from the mainland of Canada and the US

o Native tribe “Beothucks” had at first good relations with settlers, later distrust and persecution -> in 1823 only 13 of them left -> none by 1829

- Also French settlements -> French keep destroying British settlements -> harsh conflict

- Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 -> France gives up Newfoundland and Acadia to England -> French population moved to Nova Scotia

- After 1760: main migrations from England and Ireland -> created basic population mix

- 1774: Newfoundland became part of Quebec

- 1809: Labrador was transferred to Newfoundland

- 1832: Newfoundland was granted a Representative Government & St John’s was established as provincial capital

- In early 20th century: Newfoundland was often used from aviation pioneers and pilots who wished to cross the Atlantic Ocean -> also by Amelia Earhart, first woman who completed a solo transatlantic solo flight in 1932

- 1949: Newfoundland became the 10th and last province of Canada

- 2001: Province ‘s name was changed into “Newfoundland and Labrador”


- Most important languages: English (main language), French and Innu-aimun

- spoken English in Newfoundland contains many non-standard linguistic features (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, meanings, expressions)

- Newfoundland could preserve older English variants and developed own dialects through the time due to its isolated location and the basically not existing connection to the mainland in former times

- Irish Gaelic loanwords like “scrob” for “scratch”

- French is still spoken on Port-au-Port peninsular (also bilingual schooling)

- Innu-aimun used by vast majority of Innu families at home & even first language in their communities -> English as second language taught at school to guarantee the communication outside the community

- Mi’Kmaq: still spoken in some communities (southern area of Newfoundland) -> try to preserving Mi’Kmaq traditions, culture, history

- Languages & dialects which were spoken but disappeared:

o Scots Gaelic (exception: some traditional tales/songs)

o Beothuk


- Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province in Canada with a major Protestant population (60%)

o Largest Protestant groups: Anglican Church & United Church

- Second largest group: Roman Catholic (37%)

- Others: Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh

Ethnic diversity:

- the most homogeneous population of European origin in Canada

- Relatively small number of immigrants after the major settlements from Britain (17th-19th century)

- Majority of present-day inhabitants are descendents from immigrants from southwestern England & southeastern Ireland

- By 1930s, more than 95% of the population were native born

- French people arrived during the 19th century

- French & Mi’kmaq people try to preserve their language, culture & traditions since the 1970s

- Mid-19th century: small number of Highland Scots immigrated

- Very few Chinese& Lebanese Christians immigrants came in early 20th century (only men)

o Both communities suffered official & unofficial discrimination but successfully settled in nevertheless

o Chinese women not allowed until 1949

o Chinese opened laundries and restaurants : now, even though in small numbers, significant part of society

- Since 1949: small numbers of people of other ethnic backgrounds migrated -> partly due to the Memorial University

People & Economy:

- over half the population lives in fishing villages along the coast, other half in cities and towns

- Reliant on natural resources (Mining, oil production, fishing, logging)

Can Newfoundland be finally seen as a distinct society?

- Pro:

o Rather separated, isolated location -> most easterly part of Canada & island

o Long history of mainly French & British settlements

o Fewer immigrants from different locations than on the mainland

o More homogeneous than mainland Canada

o Language is more preserved and more bound to British/ Irish and developed local dialects and varieties

o Protestant religion is more popular than Catholic religion (vice versa on the mainland)

o Still surviving communities of Mi’kmaq native people and few other Inuit tribes

o Less industrialization than on the mainland -> main focus on fishing

o Own Time zone: Newfoundland is one hour ahead of neighbor province Quebec and even Labrador

o Impressive and unique landscape with the “iceberg alley”

- Contra:

o Was also a British Colony

o Main spoken language: English

o Similar cultural aspects & celebrations due to similar religion (holidays, Christmas etc)

o Quebec, even though main language is French, is also still part of Canada

o Christian belief is shared by majority of inhabitants (even though division of Protestants & Catholics is different)






· Lonely Planet „Nova Scotia, New brunswick & Prince Edward Island“

o Chapter Newfoundland & Labrador