Newfoundland and Labrador Britain’s oldest colony – Canada’s Newest Province

Kingwell By Kingwell, 24th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

The earliest European settlers and how they fared in the New - Found - Land.

Newfoundland and Labrador Britain’s oldest colony – Canada’s Newest Province

Please see Chapter III Chapter IV
Although it is John Guy, a merchant and alderman from Bristol, England (someone we will talk more about later), who is credited with establishing the first settlement in Newfoundland, in reality it was simple fishermen who first stayed behind to cut timber when the fishing fleet returned to England, who were the first permanent settlers on the island of Newfoundland. It is said that sometime shortly after Cabot’s voyage in 1497, the first of these crews of perhaps fifty men, were the first adventurers to winter on the lonely island. With plenty of wood close at hand and game for food, they must have fared well for by 1522, just twenty-five years after Cabot, between forty and fifty houses had been built. These pioneers built their own boats, houses and fishing premises, as well as cultivated gardens, reared cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens and of course went fishing. Such small time farming is still carried on in parts of Newfoundland today and Newfoundlanders are still very adept at building their own boats, houses etc. It is also interesting to note that these first settlers were probably from the Devonshire area of England, especially since most of Newfoundland’s lakes are called “ponds” as they were in Devonshire and that the willow grouse, so plentiful in Newfoundland, are called “Partridge”. The willow grouse have a great resemblance to the partridge of the south-western counties of England.
In 1610, James I was king of England and probably persuaded by his friend Sir Francis Bacon issued a proclamation for a grant, to equip an expedition to set up a permanent settlement in Newfoundland. Actually the whole scheme had been planned by one, John Guy and soon thereafter he set sail from Bristol with three ships and forty-one people. He had with him a charter from the king granting him all the land between Cape St, Mary’s and Cape Bonavista. Guy chose the land-locked harbour of Cupids for what he called his “Sea Forest Plantation”. Here he built wharves, stores, houses, a boat and a fort mounted with three guns. A party was sent just a short distance to South River to clear land for a farm. Soon goats, pigs, cows and poultry were thriving there and in the spring grain was sown. Everyone was not happy with the prospect of permanent settlement however, or of Guy’s idea of attempting to enforce laws for the whole island. The merchants of England regarded Newfoundland as their own property and resenting the intrusion of these “planters” determined to get rid of them. Guy however, must have been a man of great tact for he managed to keep the peace. He returned to England in 1612 and brought back more men, horses, cattle, pigs, poultry and farming equipment. He also brought with him a Church of England Clergyman. That year too, the settlers soon had a new enemy to content with in the form of pirates. One famous pirate, Peter Easton, commanded ten vessels and was a terror to the coast. In 1616, John Guy returned to England leaving the colony to sink or swim. With no authority to enforce laws he saw no hope of success. The departure of Guy also ended of the first official attempt to colonize Newfoundland.
There were other attempts made by such men as Captain John Mason, Sir William Vaughan, Sir George Calvert (later Lord Baltimore) and Sir David Kirke, but none were successful. Captain John Mason however did remain on the island for six years and did much to put down piracy, promote trade and bring some semblance of order to the colony. With his return to England however, the settlers soon returned to their old ways. The last official attempt at colonization was made by Sir David Kirke who like Baltimore set up residence in Ferryland. In 1673 a Dutch squadron raided the settlement, plundering it and setting it on fire. Kirke too returned to England.
For many years afterwards settlement on the island was discouraged and eventually even forbidden with the ban not being lifted until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Those who defied the ban settled in small out of the way coves, often in groups of just three or four families.

Tags

Bristol, Cape Bonavista, Cape St Marys, Church Of England, Devonshire, England, King James I, Kingwell, Lord Baltimore, Newfoundland, Peter Easton, Pirates, Sir Francis Bacon

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author avatar Kingwell
I am 75 years old and retired.I like writing short stories, poetry as well other articles of interest.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
24th Mar 2013 (#)

As populations grow they will try to settle anywhere they can.

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author avatar Kingwell
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks Mark.

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author avatar Kingwell
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Church of England

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author avatar Carol
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Very interesting information, many thanks

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author avatar Kingwell
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Hi Carol, Thank you for sharing once again. I hope you will continue following this series.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
25th Mar 2013 (#)

love your handle on history my friend...thank you...

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author avatar Kingwell
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Hi cnwriter, Thank yor your comment. I have always loved history

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Mar 2013 (#)

I am really enjoying this series my friend, and it is making a fascinating read.. I do enjoy your writing style..I am learning more every page..\0/x

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author avatar Kingwell
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Hi Songbird, Thank you and I'm glad that you are enjoying it.

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Very much so Kingwell..Thank you for popping in on my pages too my friend..\0/x

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author avatar madugundurukmini
25th Mar 2013 (#)

my liking history

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author avatar Kingwell
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Hi Songbird, Your work is amazing!

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Now you are making me blush my friend! lol..Enjoyed all your pages, it feels like I am meeting an old friend Kingwell..\0/x

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author avatar C.D. Moore
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Well written ,interesting history Kingswell.

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author avatar Kingwell
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Hi C.D., Thank you my friend.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
25th Mar 2013 (#)

wow...you sure did your homework...well done...

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author avatar Kingwell
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks cn, I love history.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Enjoying the lovely ride, Kingwell. I feel like I being there in those times - a different world indeed! But we have traveled a lot riding on the efforts of these hardy settlers braving the elements with very little shelter and comforts - siva

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author avatar Kingwell
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Siva. I always appreciate your comments.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
27th Mar 2013 (#)

thank you Kingwell,..what amazing history Newfoundland has..

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author avatar Kingwell
27th Mar 2013 (#)

Hi Delicia, An amazing history. People must have loved it to stay in spite of all that was happening.Thank you once again for being such a dedicated follower

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