Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for March 31st!
Newfoundland officially became Canada’s 10th province on March 31st, 1949. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada, looks at the great province of Newfoundland and its’ first premier, Joey Smallwood.
Newfoundland is the oldest settled region in what would become Canada. The name Newfoundland is derived from English words “New Found Land.” The origin of Labrador is credited to João Fernandes Lavrador, the Portuguese navigator who explored the region.
One fun Canadian History for Kids fact is how the oldest European contact was a thousand years ago. The Vikings landed on the coast of Newfoundland around the year 1001. Leif Ericson landed in three places to the west, the first two being the Baffin Island and Labrador. Leif’s third landing was at a place he called Vinland (which is Newfoundland).
In 1583 Newfoundland became England’s first possession in North America and one of the first permanent English colonies in the North America.
Newfoundland remained a colony until 1907, when it became a Dominion. The Dominion status allowed the province and people to be self governing.
On March 31, 1949 the Province of Newfoundland joined Confederation, becoming Canada’s 10th province. Through a Constitutional amendment on December 6th, 2001 the province was officially renamed Newfoundland and Labrador.
Joey Smallwood is the other half of this Canadian History for Kids article. Joey Smallwood was a well-known radio personality, writer and organizer. He was a nationalist who long had criticized British rule. In 1945, London announced that a National Convention would be elected in Newfoundland to advise on what constitutional choices should to be voted on by referendum. Smallwood supported joining Canada, arguing that union with Canada would bring prosperity.
Smallwood carried his cause in a hard-fought referendum and a runoff in June and July 1948.
The 1948 referendums resulted in Confederation being approved, and in 1949, as leader of the Liberal Party, Smallwood was elected Premier of the new province.
Smallwood ran Newfoundland virtually unchallenged for 23 years. He governed with large majorities for virtually his entire career.
And that’s this week Canadian History for Kids Sketches of Canada!