History of French Settlement in NL


Newfoundland and Labrador's cod fishery was the major pull factor attracting French settlers to the colony from the 16th through 19th centuries. Each year, thousands of workers from coastal France sailed across the Atlantic to participate in the migratory cod fishery.

The first documented fishing trip took place in 1504.

The largest and most prosperous French settlement was Plaisance on the Avalon Peninsula's southwest coast. France established a garrison and colony there in the early 1660s to provide shelter and protection for the country's fishers while at Newfoundland.

Warfare in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries dramatically altered the nature of French settlement at Newfoundland and Labrador.

The 1713 Treaty of Utrecht stipulated that French fishers at Newfoundland could only work on the stretch of coastline linking Cape Bonavista with Point Riche.

The 1783 Treaty of Versailles shifted the boundaries of the French Shore west, to Cape St. John and Cape Ray. France could maintain seasonal fishing stations on the Northern Peninsula and along the island's west coast, but was not allowed to establish permanent colonies on the island.


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