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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flag of Labrador.svg Labrador arms.png
Flag of Labrador, with Coat of Arms
(de facto)
Motto: "Munus splendidum mox explebitur"  (Latin)
"The splendid task will soon be fulfilled"
Labrador fullmap.gif
Area: 269,073.3 square kilometres (103,889.8 sq mi)
Water area: 31,340 square kilometres (12,100 sq mi) (4%)
Coastline: 7,886 kilometres (4,900 mi)
Highest Point: Mount Caubvik
(1,652 metres, 5,420 ft)
Longest River: Churchill River
(856 kilometres, 532 mi)
Admin HQ: Happy Valley-Goose Bay
Population (2006): 26,364[1]
Largest City: Happy Valley-Goose Bay[2]
7,572 (2006)
Government of Newfoundland & Labrador
Members of the Parliament of Canada: 1
Members of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly: 4

Labrador is a region of Atlantic Canada. Together with the island of Newfoundland from which it is separated by the Strait of Belle Isle, it constitutes the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The region is part of the much larger Labrador Peninsula on the Canadian mainland. The area was known by the Norse as Markland.

The population of Labrador is 26,364 (2006 census[1]), including some 30 percent Aboriginal peoples, including Inuit, Innu, and Métis. Labrador’s area (including associated small islands and inland water surfaces) is 294,330 square kilometres (113,640 sq mi).[3] It has a land area of 269,073.3 square kilometres (103,889.8 sq mi),[4] approximately the size of New Zealand. Its former capital was Battle Harbour.[citation needed]

The name "Labrador" is one of the oldest names of European origin in Canada, almost as old as the name "Newfoundland". It is named after Portuguese explorer João Fernandes Lavrador who, together with Pêro de Barcelos, were the second party of European explorers (after the Vikings) to sight it in 1498.

Most non-Aboriginal settlement of Labrador occurred due to fishing villages, missions, and fur trading outposts; modern settlements have been created as a result of iron ore mining, hydroelectric developments, and military installations. Until modern times, difficult sea travel and lack of general transportation facilities discouraged settlement. In the 1760s, Moravian missionaries began settling, building missions and often sharing in the fur trade with the Hudson's Bay Company, which was the dominant force on the peninsula until 1870. Claims have persisted concerning the Labrador Peninsula with Quebec, although they were settled by judicial decision in 1927 by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.[citation needed]


Modern Labrador

Just like its island neighbour Newfoundland, early settlement in Labrador was tied to the sea as demonstrated by the Montagnais, Innu and Inuit, although these peoples also made significant forays throughout the interior as well. European settlement was largely concentrated in coastal communities, particularly those south of Hamilton Inlet, and are among Canada's oldest European settlements. Extremely poor, both European and First Nations settlements along coastal Labrador came to benefit from cargo and relief vessels that were operated as part of the Grenfell Mission (see Sir Wilfred Grenfell). Throughout the 20th century, coastal freighters and ferries operated initially by the Newfoundland Railway and later Canadian National Railways/CN Marine/Marine Atlantic became a critical lifeline for communities on the coast, which for the majority of that century, did not have any road connection with the rest of North America.

Labrador has played strategic roles in both the Second World War and the Cold War. In the early 1940s a German U-boat crew installed an automated weather station on the northern tip of Labrador near Cape Chidley, nicknamed Weather Station Kurt. The station only broadcast weather observations to the German navy for a few days but was not discovered until the 1980s when a historian, working with the Canadian Coast Guard, identified its location. [5]

The Canadian government built a major air force base at Goose Bay, at the head of Lake Melville during the Second World War, a site selected because of its topography, access to the sea, defensible location, and minimal fog. During the Second World War and the Cold War, the base was also home to American, British, and later German, Netherlands, and Italian detachments. Today, CFB Goose Bay is the largest employer for the community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Additionally, both the United States Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force built and operated a number of radar stations along coastal Labrador as part of the Pinetree Line, Mid-Canada Line and DEW Line systems. Today the remaining stations are automated as part of the North Warning System, however the military settlements during the early part of the Cold War surrounding these stations have largely continued as local Innu and Inuit populations have clustered near their port and airfield facilities.

During the first half of the 20th century, some of the largest iron ore deposits in the world were discovered in the western part of Labrador and adjacent areas of Quebec. Deposits at Mont Wright, Schefferville, Labrador City, and Wabush drove industrial development and human settlement in the area during the post-war years.

The present community of Labrador West is entirely a result of the iron ore mining activities in the region. The Iron Ore Company of Canada operates the Quebec, North Shore, and Labrador Railway to transport ore concentrate 500 miles south to the port of Sept-Îles, Quebec for shipment to steel mills in North America and elsewhere.

During the 1960s, the Churchill River was diverted at Churchill Falls which resulted in the flooding of an enormous area — today named the Smallwood Reservoir after Joey Smallwood, the first premier of Newfoundland. The flooding of the reservoir destroyed large areas of habitat for the threatened Woodland Caribou. Both a hydroelectric generating station and a transmission line were built in the neighbouring province of Quebec.

In the 1970s-2000s the Trans-Labrador Highway was built in stages to connect various inland communities with the North American highway network at Mont Wright, Quebec (which in turn is connected by a highway running north from Baie-Comeau, Quebec). A southern extension of this highway has opened in stages during the early 2000s and is resulting in significant changes to the coastal ferry system in the Strait of Belle Isle and southeastern Labrador. It is worth noting that these "highways" are so called only because of their importance to the region; they would be better described as roads, and are not completely paved.

A study on a fixed link to Newfoundland, in 2004, recommended that a tunnel under the Strait of Belle Isle, being a single railway that would carry cars, buses and trucks, was technologically the best option for such a link. However, the study also concluded that a fixed link was not economically viable. Conceivably, if built with federal aid, the 1949 terms of union would be amended to remove ferry service from Nova Scotia to Port-aux-Basques across the Cabot Strait.

Although a highway link will soon (2009 or 2010) be complete across Labrador, this route is somewhat longer than a proposed Quebec North Shore highway that presently does not exist. Part of the "highway", Route 389, starting approximately 212 km (132 mi) from Baie Comeau to 482 km (299 mi) is of an inferior alignment, and from there to 570 km (354 mi), the provincial border, is an accident-prone section notorious for its poor surface and sharp curves. Quebec in April 2009 announced major upgrades to Route 389 to be carried out.

Route 389 and the Trans-Labrador Highway were added to Canada's National Highway System in September 2005.

Labrador constitutes a federal electoral district electing one member to the Canadian House of Commons. Due to its size, distinct nature, and large Aboriginal population, Labrador has one seat despite having the smallest population of any electoral district in Canada. Formerly, Labrador was part of a riding that included part of the Island of Newfoundland. Labrador is divided into four provincial electoral districts in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly.

Boundary dispute

Line A: the boundary decided by the Privy Council; the current legal boundary. Line B: the boundary as it is sometimes portrayed by Quebec today.

The border between Labrador and Canada was set March 2, 1927, after a tortuous five-year trial. In 1809 Labrador had been transferred from Lower Canada to Newfoundland, but the landward boundary of Labrador had never been precisely stated.[6] Newfoundland argued it extended to the height of land, but Canada, stressing the historical use of the term "Coasts of Labrador", argued the boundary was one statute mile (1.6 km) inland from the high-tide mark. As Canada and Newfoundland were separate countries, but both members of the British Empire, the matter was referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London), which set the Labrador boundary mostly along the coastal watershed. One of Newfoundland's conditions for joining Confederation in 1949 was that this boundary be entrenched in the Canadian constitution. While this border has not been formally accepted by the Quebec government, the Henri Dorion[2] Commission (Commission d'étude sur l'intégrité du territoire du Québec) concluded in the early 1970s that Quebec no longer has a legal claim to Labrador. Still, Quebec government publications sometimes ignore or modify the Labrador boundary, especially the southern segment.[3] [4] In 2001, Québec Natural Resources Minister and Québec Intergovernmental Affairs Minister reasserted that Québec has never recognised the 1927 border:

"Les ministres rappellent qu'aucun gouvernement québécois n'a reconnu formellement le tracé de la frontière entre le Québec et Terre-Neuve dans la péninsule du Labrador selon l'avis rendu par le comité judiciaire du Conseil privé de Londres en 1927. Pour le Québec, cette frontière n'a donc jamais été définitivement arrêtée[7]."

(The ministers will remember that no Quebec government has ever formally recognized the drawing of the border between Quebec and Newfoundland in the Labrador penninsula according to the opinion rendered by the privy council in 1927. For Quebec, this border has thus never been definitively defined.)

Possible separation from Newfoundland

A Royal Commission in 2002 determined that there is a certain amount of public pressure from Labradorians to break off from Newfoundland and become a separate province or territory. Some of the Innu nation would have the area become a homeland for them, much as Nunavut is for the Inuit; a 1999 resolution of the Assembly of First Nations claimed Labrador as a homeland for the Innu and demanded recognition in any further constitutional negotiations regarding the region.[8] The Inuit self-government region of Nunatsiavut was recently created through agreements with the provincial and federal governments.



Largest towns in Labrador (incorporated towns only)
Town 2006 2001
Happy Valley-Goose Bay 7,572 7,969
Labrador City 7,240 7,744
Wabush 1,739 1,894
Nain 1,034 1,159
L'Anse-au-Loup 593 635
Cartwright 552 629
Hopedale 530 559
North West River 492 551
Port Hope Simpson 529 509
Forteau 448 477
Demographic Factors (2001 Census)[9]
Factor Labrador Canada
Male/Female split 50.6/49.4 49.0/51.0
Median age 32.6 37.6
Percent foreign-born. 1.5% 18.4%
Aboriginal pop. 34.9% 3.3%
Religion - Catholic 28.4% 43.6%
Religion - Protestant 67.4% 29.2%
Religion - other 0.8% 10.6%
No religion 3.4% 16.5%
Median income (age 15+) $19,229 $22,120
Unemployment rate 19.1% 7.4%

Natural features

Labrador is home to a number of fauna and flora species. Most of the Upper Canadian and Lower Hudsonian mammalian species are found in Labrador.[10] Notably the Polar Bear, Ursus maritimus reaches the southeast of Labrador on its annual migration.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b "2006 Census Data - GeoSearch2006". Statistic Canada. 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  2. ^ "2006 Census". Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  3. ^ "NL Government website: Areas". Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  4. ^ "Stats Canada LAbrador information". Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  5. ^ "Weather station Kurt erected in Labrador in 1943". Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  6. ^ "LABRADOR-CANADA BOUNDARY". marianopolis. 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-20. "Labrador Act, 1809. - An imperial act (49 Geo. III, cap. 27), 1809, provided for the re-annexation to Newfoundland of 'such parts of the coast of Labrador from the River St John to Hudson's Streights, and the said Island of Anticosti, and all other smaller islands so annexed to the Government of Newfoundland by the said Proclamation of the seventh day of October one thousand seven hundred and sixty-three (except the said Islands of Madelaine) shall be separated from the said Government of Lower Canada, and be again re-annexed to the Government of Newfoundland.'" 
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ *Community Profile: Labrador: Division No. 10, Newfoundland and Labrador; Statistics Canada
  10. ^ The American Naturalist (1898) Essex Institute, American Society of Naturalists
  11. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Polar Bear: Ursus maritimus,, ed. N. Stromberg

Further reading

  • The Lure of the Labrador Wild, by Dillon Wallace (ISBN 1-4043-1537-3; July 2002)
  • Labrador by Choice, by Benjamin W. Powell Sr. C.M. 1979
  • The Story of Labrador, by B. Rompkey (2005)
  • Labrador, by Robert Stewart (1977)

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Labrador is 'The Big Land'--the mainland portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Despite occupying an area larger than the island of Newfoundland itself, Labrador has a population of just under 30,000. The region covers the eastern coast of mainland Canada from the Strait of Belle Isle to the southeast, to the eastern half of the Labrador Peninsula that lies by Ungava Bay in the north, as well as a portion of interior land to the west. It shares a border with the northern portion of the province of Quebec, although the border itself is still a contentious issue between Newfoundland & Labrador and Quebec.

  • Southeastern Labrador -- home to the historic Basque whaling station at Red Bay, as well as a large number of outport communities dotting the historic Labrador coast.
  • Central Labrador -- dominated by the major air force community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, a former NATO base, central Labrador is also home to the largely unpopulated interior lands, called by some the last unspoiled land in North America, although this claim can be disputed.
  • Western Labrador -- home to Churchill Falls, Labrador City, and Wabush, as well as the enormous Smallwood Reservoir.
  • Northern Labrador (Nunatsiavut) -- an area self-governed by the Inuit of Labrador as of 2005, over 72,000 square kilometres of land, including the area north of Nain and a portion of the Atlantic coast to the south.


Within Labrador, one can hardly speak of cities in the usual sense. Here's a list of the important communities, historically and presently:

  • Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve -- the new reserve within Nunatsiavut, including Mount Caubvick (1,652 metres/5,420 ft).


Labrador is home to the largest herds of Caribou in the world, and is teeming with the kind of abundant wildlife often associated with the northern portion of Canada. Home to a typically diverse population of Euro-Canadians and Natives (Inuit, Innu, Metis), Labrador is a site of first contact between peoples--it is often considered to be Markland, one of the locations visited by Leif Ericson in the 11th Century. Despite its rich history and resources, the region and the people of Labrador are not wealthy. The region has been historically isolated, with roads such as the Trans-Labrador Highway being recent projects. In many ways, the relationship between Labrador and its historical 'parent,' Newfoundland, has been a microcosm of the relationship between the province of Newfoundland & Labrador and the government of Canada--Labrador often feels ignored and exploited by the island government in Newfoundland. Nonetheless, like Newfoundland, Labrador is culturally rich and is an interesting destination for tourists that is off-the-beaten path.

A note of caution: While often interesting to visit, many Labrador Native communities do not encourage tourist 'invasions'. Respect the wishes of the local culture as you would in any other place.


It is worth noting that the languages of Native peoples are still widely spoken as first languages for much of the Native population. English is the main language of most people, and even if not, majority of the people can speak it to some degree.

Get in

From the south travel to Labrador is by ferry from Newfoundland to Blanc Sablon Quebec. It is then approx 5 kilometres east to the Labrador border. Apparently the ferry may not be running during the winter, depending on conditions in the Belle Isle strait.


In Labrador City tours of massive iron mines can be taken on Sundays and Tuesdays, they must be booked in advance with the Labrador West tourist office. Churchill: Only one thing to do here; take a tour of one of the largest dams in Canada. Info and reservations can be obtained by calling a tourist liason in Churchill at 709 925 3335. Happy Valley/Goose Bay: Muskrat falls just outside of town on the Trans Labrador Highway is impressive and a must see. The goose bay airport houses a nato training base where German airmen can be seen practicing air manuevers in fighter jets. Northwest river a town to the north, houses a population of Inuit as well as a mueseum that chronicles the aboriginal history in the area. In Southern Labrador there exists one of North America's oldest burial sites. Red Bay is a village at an old Basque whaling station. The paved road ends here. The scenery along this road is beautiful yet harsh enough to remind the traveller that those who live here are toughened by the elements that shape their existence every day. The coastline is beautiful with distant mountains and a pseudo tundra as the backdrop.


Labrador city: McDonalds, Marybrown's(fried chicken), an assortment of family owned restaurants ranging in basic fast food fare to family style hotel/restaurants. Churchill: well stocked market and the Midway Restaurant serving decent breakfast,lunch, and dinner as well as fastfood fare. Happy valley/Goose Bay: KFC, BurgerKing, A&W, MaryBrown's, Pizza Delight, a surprisingly wide selection of bars grills and family owned stands. There is a co-op market as well as a second supermarket offering surprsingly fresh produce, great cuts of meat, and standard pre-prepared food. These two markets are as good as any supermarket found in the more "civilized" southern Canada. Towns other than these have less options, usually consisting of a few bars and cornerstores and maybe a bakery.


Roadhouses are the most common, don't expect to be treated to winetasting with a pianist playing classical music in the background. You will find a stunning array of hard liquors, molson or Labatt beer, and plenty of country music at these bars.

Stay safe

Make sure to bring a full gas tank as it is possible that the distances may be too great for lower mpg cars. Bring a basic first aid kit as a hospital is usually over a hundred miles away if not hundreds. Bring duct tape for repairs on loose parts, bumpers, etc,. Marine epoxy is essential as you will likely experiences punctures in gas tanks and fuel lines from rocks especially in lower riding cars.

Road conditions do vary from paved in towns to gravel roads where highway speeds are possible, to washboarded/rocky roads that can literally shake a care apart or send it into a ditch. ALWAYS drive at a safe speed, there is no need to drive at the speeds that the locals do (60-70 MPH), it is always better to make it late than not at all. Also watch out for moose, caribou, porcupine as they all obviously can disable your cars in varying ways.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LABRADOR,' a great peninsula in British North America, bounded E. by the North Atlantic, N. by Hudson Strait, W. by Hudson and James Bays, and S. by an arbitrary line extending eastwards from the south-east corner of Hudson Bay, near 51° N., to the mouth of the Moisie river, on the Gulf of St Lawrence, in 50° N., and thence eastwards by the Gulf of St Lawrence. It extends from 50° to 63° N., and from 55° to 80° W., and embraces an approximate area of 511,000 sq. m. Recent explorations and surveys have added greatly to the knowledge of this vast region, and have shown that much of the peninsula is not a land of "awful desolation," but a well-wooded country, containing latent resources of value in its forests, fisheries and minerals.

Physical Geography. - Labrador forms the eastern limb of the V in the Archaean protaxis of North America (see Canada), and includes most of the highest parts of that area. Along some portions of the coasts of Hudson and also of Ungava Bay there is a fringe of lowland, but most of the interior is a plateau rising toward the south and east. The highest portion extends east and west between 52° and 54° N., where an immense granite area lies between the headwaters of the larger rivers of the four principal drainage basins; the lowest area is between Hudson Bay and Ungava Bay in the northwest, where the general level is not more than 500 ft. above the sea. The only mountains are the range along the Atlantic coast, extending from the Strait of Belle Isle to Cape Chidley; in their southern half they rarely exceed 1500 ft., but increase in the northern half to a general elevation of upwards of 2000 ft., with numerous sharp peaks between 3000 and 5000 ft., some say 7000 or 8000 ft. The coasts are deeply indented by irregular bays and fringed with rocky islands, especially along the high Atlantic coast, where long narrow fiords penetrate inland. Hamilton Inlet, 250 m. north of the Strait of Belle Isle, is the longest of these bays, with a length of r50 m. and a breadth varying from 2 to 30 m. The surface of the outer portions of the plateau is deeply seamed by valleys, cut into the crystalline rocks by the natural erosion of rivers, depending for their length and depth upon the volume of water flowing through them. The valley of the Hamilton river is the greatest, forms a continuation of the valley of the Inlet and extends 300 m. farther inland, while its bottom lies from 500 to 1500 ft. below the surface of the plateau into which it is cut. The depressions between the low ridges of the interior are occupied by innumerable lakes, many of great size, including Mistassini, Mishikamau, Clearwater, Kaniapiskau and Seal, all from 50 to Ioo m. long. The streams discharging these lakes, before entering their valleys, flow on a level with the country and occupy all depressions, so that they frequently spread out into lakeexpansions and are often divided into numerous channels by large islands. The descent into the valleys is usually abrupt, being made by heavy rapids and falls; the Hamilton, from the level interior, in a course of 12 m. falls 760 ft. into the head of its valley, this descent including a sheer drop of 315 ft. at the Grand Falls, which, taken with the large volume of the river, makes it the greatest fall in North America. The rivers of the northern and western watersheds drain about two-thirds of the peninsula; the most important of the former are the Koksoak, the largest river of Labrador (over 500 m. long), the George, Whale and Payne rivers, all flowing into Ungava Bay. The large rivers flowing westwards into Hudson Bay are the Povungnituk, Kogaluk, Great Whale, Big, East Main and Rupert, varying in length from 300 to 500 m. The rivers flowing south are exceedingly rapid, the Moisie, Romaine, Natashkwan and St Augustine being the most important; all are about 300 m. long. The Atlantic coast range throws most of the drainage northwards into the Ungava basin, and only small streams fall into the ocean, except the Hamilton, North-west and Kenamou, which empty into the head of Hamilton Inlet.

Table of contents


The peninsula is formed largely of crystalline schists and gneisses associated with granites and other igneous rocks, all of archaean age; there are also large areas of non-fossiliferous, stratified limestones, cherts, shales and iron ores, the unaltered equivalents of part of the schists and gneisses. Narrow strips of Animikie (Upper Huronian or perhaps Cambrian) rocks occur along the lowlying southern and western shores, but there are nowhere else indications of the peninsula having been below sea-level since an exceedingly remote time. During the glacial period the country was covered by a thick mantle of ice, which flowed out radially from a central collecting-ground. Owing to the extremely long exposure to denudation, to the subsequent removal of the greater part of the decomposed rock by glaciers, and to the unequal weathering of the component rocks, it is now a plateau, which ascends somewhat abruptly within a few miles of the coast-line to heights of between 1 From the Portuguese llavrador (a yeoman farmer). The name was originally given to Greenland (1st half of 16th century) and was transferred to the peninsula in the belief that it formed part of the same country as Greenland. The name was bestowed "because he who first gave notice of seeing it [Greenland] was a farmer (llavrador) from the Azores." See the historical sketch of Labrador by W. S. Wallace in Grenfell's Labrador, &c., 1909.

500 and 2000 ft. The interior is undulating, and traversed by ridges of low, rounded hills, seldom rising more than 500 ft. above the surrounding general level.


The mineral wealth is undeveloped. Thick beds of excellent iron ore cover large areas in the interior and along the shores of Hudson and Ungava Bays. Large areas of mineralized Huronian rocks have also been discovered, similar to areas in other parts of Canada, where they contain valuable deposits of gold, copper, nickel and lead; good prospects of these metals have been found.


The climate ranges from cold temperate on the southern coasts to arctic on Hudson Strait, and is generally so rigorous that it is doubtful if the country is fit for agriculture north of 51°, except on the low grounds near the coast. On James Bay good crops of potatoes and other roots are grown at Fort George, 54° N., while about the head of Hamilton Inlet, on the east coast, and in nearly the same latitude, similar crops are easily cultivated. On the outer coasts the climate is more rigorous, being affected by the floating ice borne southwards on the Arctic current. In the interior at Mistassini, 50° 30' N, a crop of potatoes is raised annually, but they rarely mature. No attempts at agriculture have been made elsewhere inland. Owing to the absence of grass plains, there is little likelihood that it will ever be a grazing district. 'there are only two seasons in the interior: winter begins early in October, with the freezing of the small lakes, and lasts until the middle of June, when the ice on rivers and lakes melts and summer suddenly bursts forth. From unconnected observations the lowest temperatures of the interior range from - 50° F. to - 60° F., and are slightly higher along the coast. The mean summer temperature of the interior is about 55° F., with frosts during every month in the northern portion. On the Atlantic coast and in Hudson Bay the larger bays freeze solid between the 1st and 15th of December, and these coasts remain icebound until late in June. Hudson Strait is usually sufficiently open for navigation about the 10th of July.


The southern half is included in the sub-Arctic forest belt, and nine species of trees constitute the whole arborescent flora of this region; these species are the white birch, poplar, aspen, cedar. Banksian pine, white and black spruce, balsam fir and larch. The forest is continuous over the southern portion to 53° N., the only exceptions being the summits of rocky hills and the outer islands of the Atlantic and Hudson Bay, while the low margins and river valleys contain much valuable timber. To the northward the size and number of barren areas rapidly increase, so that in 55° N. more than half the country is treeless, and two degrees farther north the limit of trees is reached, leaving, to the northward, only barrens covered with low Arctic flowering plants, sedges and lichens.


The fisheries along the shores of the Gulf of St Lawrence and of the Atlantic form practically the only industry of the white population scattered along the coasts, as well as of a large proportion of the inhabitants of Newfoundland. The census (1891) of Newfoundland gave 10,478 men, 2081 women and 828 children employed in the Labrador fishery in 861 vessels, of which the tonnage amounted to 33,689; the total catch being 488,788 quintals of cod, 1275 tierces of salmon and 3828 barrels of herring, which, compared with the customs returns for 1880, showed an increase of cod and decreases of salmon and herring. The salmon fishery along the Atlantic coast is now very small, the decrease being probably due to excessive use of cod-traps. The cod fishery is now carried on along the entire Atlantic coast and into the eastern part of Ungava Bay, where excellent catches have been made since 1893. The annual value of the fisheries on the Canadian portion of the coast is about $350,000. The fisheries of Hudson Bay and of the interior are wholly undeveloped, though both the bay and the large lakes of the interior are well stocked with several species of excellent fish, including Arctic trout, brook trout, lake trout, white fish, sturgeon and cod.


The population is approximately 14,500, or about one person to every 35 sq. m.; it is made up of 3500 Indians, 2000 Eskimo and 9000 whites. The last are confined to the coasts and to the Hudson Bay Company's trading posts of the interior. On the Atlantic coast they are largely immigrants from Newfoundland, together with descendants of English fishermen and Hudson Bay Company's servants. To the north of Hamilton Inlet they are of more or less mixed blood from marriage with Eskimo women. The Newfoundland census of 1901 gave 3634 as the number of permanent white residents along the Atlantic coast, and the Canadian census (1891) gave a white population of 5728, mostly French Canadians, scattered along the north shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence, while the whites living at the inland posts did not exceed fifty persons. It is difficult to give more than a rough approximation of the number of the native population, owing to their habits of roving from one trading post to another, and the consequent liability of counting the same family several times if the returns are computed from the books of the various posts, the only available data for an enumeration. The following estimate is arrived at in this manner: Indians - west coast, 1200; Ungava Bay,. 200; east coast, 200; south coast, 1900. Eskimo - Atlantic coast, 1000; south shore of Hudson Strait, Boo; east coast of Hudson Bay, Soo. The Indians roam over the southern interior in small bands, their northern limit being determined by that of the trees on which they depend for fuel. They live wholly by the chase, and their numbers are dependent upon the deer and other animals; as a consequence there is a constant struggle between the Indian and the lower animals for existence, with great slaughter of the latter, followed by periodic famines among the natives, which greatly reduce their numbers and maintain an equilibrium. The native population has thus remained about stationary for the last two centuries. The Indians belong to the Algonquin family, and speak dialects of the Cree language. By contact with missionaries and fur-traders they are more or less civilized, and the great majority of them are Christians. Those living north of the St Lawrence are Roman Catholic, while the Indians of the western watershed have been converted by the missionaries of the Church Mission Society; the eastern and northern bands have not yet been reached by the missionaries, and are still pagans. The Eskimo of the Atlantic coast have long been under the guidance of the Moravian missionaries, and are well advanced in civilization; those of Hudson Bay have been taught by the Church Mission Society, and promise well; while the Eskimo of Hudson Strait alone remain without teachers, and are pagans. The Eskimo live along the coasts, only going inland for short periods to hunt the barren-ground caribou for their winter clothing; the rest of the year they remain on the shore or the ice, hunting seals and porpoises, which afford them food, clothing and fuel. The christianized Indians and Eskimo read and write in their own language; those under the teaching of the Church Mission Society use a syllabic character, the others make use of the ordinary alphabet.

Political Review

The peninsula is divided politically between the governments of Canada, Newfoundland and the province of Quebec. The government of Newfoundland, under Letters Patent of the 28th of March 1876, exercises jurisdiction along the Atlantic coast; the boundary between its territory and that of Canada is a line running due north and south from Anse Sablon, on the north shore of the Strait of Belle Isle, to 52° N., the remainder of the boundary being as yet undetermined. The northern boundary of the province of Quebec follows the East Main river to its source in Patamisk lake, thence by a line due east to the Ashuanipi branch of the Hamilton river; it then follows that river and Hamilton Inlet to the coast area under the jurisdiction of Newfoundland. The remainder of the peninsula, north of the province of Quebec, by order in council dated the 18th of December 1897, was constituted Ungava District, an unorganized territory under the jurisdiction of the government of the Dominion of Canada.

Authorities.-W. T. Grenfell and others, Labrador: the Country and the People (New York, 1909); R. F. Holmes, "A Journey in the Interior of Labrador," Proc. R.G.S. x. 189-205 (1887); A. S. Packard, The Labrador Coast (New York, 1891); Austen Cary, "Exploration on Grand River, Labrador," Bul. Am. Geo. Soc. vol. xxiv., 1892; R. Bell, "The Labrador Peninsula," Scottish Geo. Mag. July 1895. Also the following reports by the Geological Survey of Canada: - R. Bell, "Report on an Exploration of the East Coast of Hudson Bay," 1877-1878; "Observations on the Coast of Labrador and on Hudson Strait and Bay," 1882-1884; A. P. Low, "Report on the Mistassini Expedition," 1885; "Report on James Bay and the Country East of Hudson Bay," 1887-1888; "Report on Explorations in the Labrador Peninsula, 1892-1895," 1896; "Report on a Traverse of the Northern Part of the Labrador Peninsula," 1898; "Report on the South Shore of Hudson Strait," 1899. For History: W. G. Gosling, Labrador (1910). (A. P. Lo.; A. P. C.)

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See also labrador



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  • (UK) IPA: /ˈlæb.ɹə.dɔː(ɹ)/, SAMPA: /"l{b.r@.dO:(r)/

Proper noun




  1. The mainland portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, in Eastern Canada.
  2. (chiefly historical) The geographical region including Labrador in sense 1, as well as neighbouring regions of what is now the province of Quebec.
  3. An abbreviated form of the dog breed name Labrador retriever.

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