Situated in Canada’s Atlantic region, NL is made up of the island of Newfoundland and the mainland portion of Labrador (combined area of 405,212), which is located across the Strait of Belle Isle on the mainland of North America.
In 2013, the province’s population was estimated at 526,702. About 92 per cent of the province’s population lives on the island of Newfoundland. The province is Canada’s most linguistically homogeneous, with 97.6 per cent of residents reporting English (Newfoundland English) as their mother tongue in the 2006 census. Historically, Newfoundland was also home to unique varieties of French and Irish, as well as the extinct Beothuk language.
NL’s capital and largest city, St. John’s, is Canada’s 20th-largest census metropolitan area and is home to almost 40 per cent of the province’s population. St. John’s is the seat of government, home to the House of Assembly of NL and to the highest court in the jurisdiction, the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal.
A former colony and then dominion of the United Kingdom, Newfoundland gave up its independence in 1933, following significant economic distress caused by the Great Depression and the aftermath of Newfoundland’s participation in World War I. It became the tenth province to enter the Canadian Confederation on March 31, 1949, as “Newfoundland.” On December 6, 2001, an amendment was made to the Constitution of Canada to change the province’s official name to “Newfoundland and Labrador”.