Newfoundland History and my welcome
by Rhys Toogood
Newfoundland history and my welcome to the community.
Newfoundland was one of the earliest parts of North America to be settled by Europeans.
The Vikings had a settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows a 1000 years ago. At that time Newfoundland was populated by Beothuk Indians. Beothuk Indians, covered themselves in ochre, during Cabots voyage of discovery in 1497, he called the Red Indians thinking himself to be in India. The Beothuk became extinct around 1820.
The first Colony was dated 1610 at Bristol Hope. After the Initial wave later emigrants passed Newfoundland by, leaving Newfoundland with an anthropologists dream a very small gene pool. Looking at old records you can find the same family name in the same area for centuries.
Today when you are talking to them, you discover that if they are not cousins, they went to school together. I would refer to them as a kinship society, they treat every one as if they where his brother.
An anecdote, when 9/11 occurred the USA closed its air space. This resulted in 1700 people being stranded in Gander for a week. Gander is a small town, but the Newfoundlanders did what was natural to them, invited the stranded passengers, complete strangers, to stay in their homes with them.
I had worried about how they would re-act to a foreigner settling amongst them. I explained my attitude that I did not want to change anything in their community, but may be add a little bit.
There attitude to me seemed to be, we don’t want our community to die out, you are here and we will make you one of us. I certainly was made to feel welcome, people even walked half a mile to introduce themselves and say hello when I arrived.
Of course being a small community news travels fast, when I visited the next village, I was recognized as the Englishman who had just bought so and so’s house immediately.