The waters off Newfoundland, in the North Atlantic, held the world’s most abundant supply of codfish, which, when discovered, was in great demand. Unlike the fur trade—the other major early commercial activity in what is now mainland Canada—the production of codfish did not require year-round residence. It did, however, require numerous men, young and old, for the fishing season, which ran from spring to early fall. This successful English-Newfoundland migratory fishery evolved into an exclusively shore-based, but still migratory, fishery that led to the formation of a formal colony by 1818. Shannon Ryan offers this general history as an introduction to early Newfoundland. The economy and social, military, and political issues are dealt with in a straightforward narrative that will appeal to general readers as well as students of Newfoundland and Labrador history.
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