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Bretons, Basques and Inuit in Southern Labrador and Northern Newfoundland: the Struggle over Maritime Resources in the 16th and 17th Centuries

Author(s): Peter Pope

Year: 2014

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Summary

Europeans developed a seasonal salt-cod fishery in northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador, in the early 16th century. In the same period, the Inuit arrived in Labrador and began to move southwards along the coast. While we have plenty of 16th-century evidence for Breton, Norman and Basque exploitation of Labrador, by fishers and later by whalers, Europeans then withdrew from the area until the end of the 17th century, when Quebec merchants began to exploit the Labrador Straits for salmon and seals. The absence of Europeans from Labrador coincides with a long guerrilla war between the Labrador Inuit and migratory Breton and Norman fishers, who exploited Newfoundland’s Petit Nord, the Atlantic coast of the Northern Peninsula. A range of factors, including diplomacy, market developments, climate variation and catch rates have affected the geography of the transatlantic migratory fishery but 17th-century conflict on the Petit Nord suggests that the movement of Inuit into southern Labrador and northern Newfoundland in the later 16th century may well have motivated Europeans to avoid the Labrador coast until the 1690s.


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Cite this Record

Bretons, Basques and Inuit in Southern Labrador and Northern Newfoundland: the Struggle over Maritime Resources in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Peter Pope. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437207)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-66,02

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America