A Reader's Guide to the History
of Newfoundland and Labrador to 1869

by Olaf U. Janzen, Professor of History (Retired)
Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Corner Brook, NL
A2H 5G4

"Discovery" and Exploration
    - includes the medieval Norse, the context for fifteenth- and sixteenth-century European explorations by John Cabot and others, early navigational techniques
Fishery and Trade 1500-1800
    - includes European fisheries before Newfoundland (e.g., Iceland), sixteenth-century "International fishery" (Basque [including Basque whaling in Labrador], Portuguese, French, English), European market forces, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French and English fisheries, including saltfish trade, English expansion beyond the Avalon in the eighteenth century, risks of the voyage (including piracy), French decline (includes Ile Royale as well as St. Pierre & Miquelon), development of English bank fishery, widening networks (New England, West Indies, Ireland), West Country shift from fishery to trade
Colonization and Settlement 1600-1830
    - includes sixteenth-century context, seventeenth-century colonies (English and French), migration and settlement in the eighteenth century (English, Irish), emergence of a resident society, legal and administrative developments (including emerging "reform" efforts in the early nineteenth century)
Native People of Newfoundland and Labrador
    - main focus is on the Beothuk and the Mi'kmaq people; the Inuit, Innu, and Metis are covered in the section on "Labrador" (see below)
War and Diplomacy
    - includes Anglo-French rivalry, the fishery as a "nursery for seamen", the French Shore between 1713 and 1783, military events such as the French raid of 1762, French and English cartography (including James Cook), the American and French Revolutionary wars
Nineteenth-Century Newfoundland
    - including the fishing economy, the early seal fishery, fisheries wealth & underdevelopment, political, social & cultural developments to 1869
Suggestions for Additional Research on Newfoundland

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last updated: January 10, 2021

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