Is Newfoundland a part of Canada?

December 22, 2016 | Author: | Posted in Geography

Newfoundland is neither geographically nor politically a part of the Dominion of Canada. When the Dominion of Canada was created in 1867 provision was made for the admission of Newfoundland into the federation, but, despite negotiations from time to time with that end in view, Newfoundand has never availed itself of the privilege. Until 1933 Newfoundland was a self-governing dominion with its own governor-general, premier and parliament and was a full-fledged member of the sisterhood of British commonwealths with a status in the Empire similar to that of the Dominion of Canada itself. Because of financial difficulties, in 1933 Newfoundland lost its dominion status and reverted to that of a
British crown colony, being governed by a British governor and a commission composed of three members appointed by the United Kingdom and three by Newfoundland. It was contemplated that this arrangement would continue only until such time when the island could again support itself. Newfoundland, among the dozen largest islands in the world, is often called the “senior British colony” because it antedates in discovery, though not in continuous settlement, all the other overseas units of the British Empire. John Cabot, sailing in the service of Henry VII of England, discovered the island in 1497, at least a year before Columbus saw the mainland of South America. The following entry in the accounts
of the English privy purse expenditures is supposed to refer to the discovery: “1497, Aug. 10. To hym that found the New Isle, £10.” The name, of course, alludes to the fact that the island had just been found. This entry in the privy purse accounts does not necessarily mean that the King paid Cabot ten pounds for discovering the island. Sir Humphrey Gilbert formally occupied Newfoundland in 1583 and the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 acknowledged it to be British. Newfoundland’s first governor-general was appointed in 1728 when Canada was still a French possession. It is a common mistake to suppose that Newfoundland is a part of the Dominion of Canada, and Newfoundland businessmen are continually being referred by American firms to their Canadian distributors.

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