Meaning of NEWFOUNDLAND in English


Canadian province composed of the island of Newfoundland and a larger mainland sector, Labrador, to the northwest. It is Canada's newest province, having joined the confederation only in 1949. The island, named the New Found Land by 15th-century explorers, has an area of 43,548 square miles (112,790 square kilometres) and lies athwart the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is separated from Labrador by the narrow Strait of Belle Isle and from Nova Scotia, to the southwest, by Cabot Strait. Labrador, with an area of 113,101 square miles, is bordered to the west and south by the province of Quebec. The province has a total area of 156,649 square miles. Newfoundland is the most easterly part of North America, and its position on the Atlantic gives it strategic importance in transportation and communications. Its capital city, St. John's, for instance, is closer to the coast of Ireland than it is to Winnipeg. Of perhaps greater significance are the great fish stocks inhabiting the Grand Banks to the east and south of the province, which spurred the development of numerous communities stretched along 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometres) of deeply indented, wave-battered seacoast. These fisheries have been the single most important factor in shaping the history and character of the land and its people. Newfoundland. breed of working dog developed in Newfoundland, possibly from crosses between native dogs and the Great Pyrenees dogs taken to North America by Basque fishermen in the 17th century. Noted for rescuing persons from the sea, the Newfoundland is a huge, characteristically gentle and patient dog standing 26 to 28 inches (66 to 71 cm) and weighing 110 to 150 pounds (50 to 68 kg). Powerful hindquarters, a large lung capacity, large webbed feet, and a heavy, oily coat contribute to the dog's ability to swim and to withstand cold waters. In addition to rescue work, the Newfoundland has served as a watchdog and companion and as a draft animal. The typical Newfoundland is solid black; the Landseer Newfoundland, named after Sir Edwin Landseer, the artist who painted it, is usually black and white. See the Table of Selected Breeds of Working Dogs for further information. one of the four Atlantic Provinces of Canada, extending into the North Atlantic Ocean and constituting the easternmost portion of the North American continent. The island of Newfoundland has an area of 43,548 square miles (112,790 square km), and the total area of the province is 156,649 square miles (405,720 square km). The Strait of Belle Isle separates the island of Newfoundland to the south from mainland Labrador, which is bounded by Quebec to the west and south and constitutes nearly three-quarters of the province's total area. Newfoundland has more than 10,000 miles (16,000 km) of wildly jagged coastline with some of the world's finest and most extensive fishing grounds, the Grand Banks. The position of Newfoundland gives it strategic importance in transportation and communication between North America and Europe. The capital is St. John's. Newfoundland was originally settled by Indians and Inuit (Eskimos). Archaeological excavation in the northern part of the island of Newfoundland has revealed Viking ruins dating from about AD 1000, demonstrating that the Vikings were the earliest Europeans to reach the area. The island's official discovery by Europeans, however, was in 1497 by John Cabot, who claimed it for England. Traditionally, the British regarded Newfoundland's fisheries as a preserve of the mother country and discouraged colonial settlement of the island. Thus, Newfoundland developed separately from the rest of Canada, and it was not until 1824 that a settled colony with a resident governor and council was finally acknowledged by Great Britain. In 1832 local agitation led to a popularly elected assembly. By the end of the 19th century a working class composed mainly of Irish Roman Catholics and a middle class of Protestant merchants and fishermen had developed in Newfoundland. New radical social policies in the province were heralded by the formation of the People's Party by Edward Morris in 1907 and the Fishermen's Protective Union by William Coaker in 1908. In 1927 Labrador became a part of Newfoundland after lengthy negotiations with Canada. In the 1930s Newfoundland's already struggling economy was overwhelmed by the Great Depression, and a commission appointed by the United Kingdom took over the government in order to straighten out the financial situation. In 1949 the people of Newfoundland voted to enter the Canadian Union. Newfoundland island and Labrador are separate physiographic regions. The island is geologically part of the Appalachian chain of North America, while Labrador is part of the Canadian Shield. In general, the province has cold but not severe winters (with the exception of northern Labrador, which is subarctic) and warm to cool summers. It is hit by numerous midlatitude storms, however, that move across Canada and up the Atlantic seaboard, and there are frequent, dense fogs over the Grand Banks and along the south and southeastern portion of the coast. Much of the province is forested, with the exception of the tundra region of northern Labrador, the barren reaches at higher elevations, and some coastal regions. The principal trees are such conifers as balsam fir and black spruce. In most parts of the province, but particularly on the island, the conifers are mixed with deciduous species such as paper and yellow birches and with a wide variety of hardwood shrubs. The best stands of forest occur in areas of deep and well-drained soils such as the eastern slope of the Long Range Mountains in Labrador. Large wild animals include moose, caribou, black bear, polar bear, and several species of seal. In the northern coniferous forests and in the tundra region, there are numerous small fur-bearing animals, and large seabird colonies inhabit the islands and coastal areas. Whales, now protected, are commonly seen in the summer. Newfoundland's people are an extremely homogeneous group. About 95 percent of them are of British and Irish origin, while fewer than 3 percent are of French extraction. The three largest religious denominations are Roman Catholic, Anglican, and the United Church of Canada. Fishing in the Grand Banks, mainly for cod, was virtually the only industry in Newfoundland until the beginning of the 20th century, when the exploitation of western Labrador's vast iron reserves made mining the major industry. A forestry industry also arose beginning in the late 19th century. Newfoundland's fisheries, although surpassed by mining and forestry as sources of provincial wealth, remain the largest employers of labour and continue to constitute the main economic base for the coastal villages and towns. Traditionally, the fishing industry was inshore, and the fish were prepared for the market by small, family-run facilities. Today the catch is taken in offshore waters by modern trawlers and is fresh-frozen in large plants located along the coast. In the late 20th century, however, the depletion of the northern cod stock had a negative impact on the province's economy. A narrow-gauge railway was built during the 1880s from St. John's to Channel-Port aux Basques; but that railway has been abandoned, and the province now has a single rail line that carries freight from Labrador to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Newfoundland Island is well connected by roads, but most of Labrador is still without them. The island is linked to mainland Canada by car and passenger ferries. Several airlines serve the province. The enormous hydroelectric-power resources of the province have been of great importance to Newfoundland's industrial development. Churchill Falls (Labrador) is the site of one of the world's greatest hydroelectric developments, supplying power to Quebec and indirectly to the northeastern United States. The constitution of Newfoundland is based on the British North America Act of 1867. It provides for a lieutenant governor, appointed by Canada's governor-general and representing the crown, and a unicameral assembly elected by universal adult suffrage; the leader of the majority party becomes premier and selects the executive council from the assembly. Local government has been slow to evolve. The first municipal government was elected in St. John's in 1888, and the next town council was not created until 1938. Newfoundland's isolation helped perpetuate sectarianism in the province's schools. In 1969 the Canadian federal government consolidated and integrated Newfoundland's school districts. Compulsory primary and secondary education is free in the public schools to grade 11. There are also nondenominational vocational, technical, and trade schools operated by the provincial government. The Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's, founded 1925, has become one of Canada's larger universities. As a result of the province's comparative isolation, 17th-century West Country speech and other British dialects are still preserved in Newfoundland. There is an immense body of folk music and folk tales that has been preserved by storytellers and bards. Pop. (1991) 568,474. Additional reading A collection of diverse information on the province is offered in Joseph R. Smallwood et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, 5 vol. (198194). Alan G. Macpherson and Joyce Brown Macpherson (eds.), The Natural Environment of Newfoundland, Past and Present (1981), surveys the area's geology, climate, landforms, flora, and fauna. Harold A. Innis, The Cod Fisheries: The History of an International Economy, rev. ed. (1954, reprinted 1978), is a mine of information, and not only on the economy. Shannon Ryan, Fish Out of Water; The Newfoundland Saltfish Trade, 18141914 (1986), is an important economic history. The development of educational services is examined in Frederick W. Rowe, Education and Culture in Newfoundland (1976). Particular features of cultural life and customs are presented in Herbert Halpert and G.M. Story (eds.), Christmas Mumming in Newfoundland: Essays in Anthropology, Folklore, and History (1989); and Patrick O'Flaherty, The Rock Observed: Studies in the Literature of Newfoundland (1979).James A. Tuck, Newfoundland and Labrador Prehistory (1976), is both readable and informative. Helge Ingstad, Westward to Vinland: The Discovery of Pre-Columbian Norse House-Sites in North America (1969, reissued 1972; originally published in Norwegian, 1965), is an account of the only authenticated Viking settlement in North America. A useful general survey is Frederick W. Rowe, A History of Newfoundland and Labrador (1980). Information on the early political and economic situation is provided in R.I. McAllister (ed.), Newfoundland and Labrador: The First Fifteen Years of Confederation (1966); and Harold Horwood, Joey: The Life and Political Times of Joey Smallwood (1989). James Hiller and Peter Neary (eds.), Newfoundland in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (1980); and S.J.R. Noel, Politics in Newfoundland (1971), provide a sharp perspective on 20th-century history. Leslie Harris

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