Capital: St. John's
Motto: Quaetrite Prime Regnum Dei (Seek ye first the Kingdom of God)
Flower: Pitcher Plant
Population, 1998: 538,832
The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador consists of two major geographical areas; the island of Newfoundland, and Labrador on the Canadian mainland. They are divided by the Strait of Belle Isle, in the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. The province occupies a mid-latitude position between 46º 35' and 60º 23' north. The mainland, Labrador, is bordered by northeastern Quebec and is approximately two and a half times as large as the island. Most of the island of Newfoundland lies below the 50th parallel. Located at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River the island is a large triangular-shaped area of some 112 000 km2. The island of Newfoundland is separated from the Canadian mainland by the Strait of Belle Isle in the north and by the wider Cabot Strait in the south.
The province's present population of approximately 550 000 is largely descended from settlers from southwestern England and southern Ireland who immigrated to Newfoundland in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There is also a small but vibrant francophone population, perhaps reflecting France's early presence in the area. The pattern of settlement was mainly determined by the fishing industry, a population distribution that has persisted to this day. The Avalon Peninsula and northeastern Newfoundland, the traditional base for the fisheries, continue to be the most heavily populated areas.
Since its first settlement, Newfoundland and Labrador has been highly dependent on its resource sector. The province was initially settled because of its rich fishing grounds on the Grand Banks. The mainstay of the province's fishing industry has been groundfish (primarily cod); however, other important catches are flounder, redfish, capelin, shrimp and crab.
In addition to fish products and pulp and paper products, about half of the province's manufacturing gross domestic product comes from other resource- and non-resource-based manufacturing. Numerous companies are engaged in the manufacture of items such as boats, lumber, chemical and oil-based products, food and beverages, clothing and footwear. In total, the province shipped about $1.76 billion in manufactured products in 1998.
*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2003.