Newfoundland, Canada - the island of explorers

Brigus Bay

Perhaps it is because of their location that the island of Newfoundland, Canada can boast a number of explorers in its history. Not all of them come from the island, some discovered them themselves. But it is striking that we repeatedly come across enterprising and courageous adventurers on our journey through Newfoundland, Canada, who have left for unknown regions. We want to introduce three of them to you here: Leif Erickson and his Vikings, Sir John Guy and Captain Bob Bartlett.


This is how Leif Erickson and his Vikings lived in L'Anse aux Meadows
This is how Leif Erickson and his Vikings lived in L'Anse aux Meadows

 The European explorers in Newfoundland, Canada - Leif Erickson and his Vikings

Actually, a Newfoundland trip would have to start on the extreme north-eastern tip of the island, because there the daring Vikings first set their feet on Canadian soil. They had set out from Greenland in search of new land, where they could continue their habitual way of life and had chosen for it probably one of the most inhospitable places of the island. Even Helge Ingstad, who the Viking settlement of L'Anse aux Meadows discovered, still had trouble reaching the place. There was no road to this fishing village on the edge of the Arctic in the XNUMXs. It was only accessible by boat, and Ingstad had to carry its visitors ashore from their boat. I often ask myself, "How could it have been when the Vikings came here?" Certainly much more difficult. In any case, they built a small settlement of mud huts on the stormy north coast of Newfoundland and, if only for a few years, settled in so well that they could melt iron. The Vikings' iron nails are unbeatable proof that they must have been the ones who settled in this corner of Newfoundland, Canada.


The landing of Sir John Guy at Cuper's Bay
The landing of Sir John Guy at Cuper's Bay 


Sir John Guy - colonizer Newfoundland

Explorer may not be the right word, because John Guy did not actually discover the island. That was John Cabot. However, he had left no lasting mark on Newfoundland, Canada. Several years later - in the year 1608 - John Guy, a Bristol dealer, together with other members of the Society of Merchant Venturers, decided to settle the island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He chose Cuper's Cove, today's Cupids, located about an hour north of St. John's on a sheltered bay. Excavations have been going on here for some years, and in the museum next to the church of the place we can see the finds archaeologists have discovered so far. John Guy took over the post of governor of the small settlement from 1610 to 1611 for two years. He scouted the area, and the 39 colonists planted fields and started growing crops. Today we can watch the archaeologists at work and find out about the events in the oldest settlement in Canada in the museum.


Bartlett's ship
With this ship, Bob Bartlett sailed into the Arctic


 Captain Bob Bartlett - Arctic explorer

Robert "Bob" Abram Bartlett, on the other hand, was a real discoverer and researcher, who was fascinated by the Arctic throughout his life. He was the captain of the Roosevelt and brought Commander Robert Peary through the pack ice of the frozen Arctic Ocean to about 150 miles to the North Pole. Although he did not accompany Peary on the last miles to the North Pole, Bartlett was an Arctic hero. Several times he returned there. Once he rescued the men of the unfortunate Karluk Expedition, whose leader abandoned them, and went with an Inuit escort over the pack ice to Wrangel Island and on to Siberia. From Alaska he launched a rescue operation of the left behind men. And only a few years later he brought the survivors of the Crocker Land Expedition from the Arctic, who was stuck there for four years in the ice. At his home in Brigus, just a few miles from Cupids, we learn about his story and his life. The garden of his parents' house saw time and again exotic animals from the Arctic, which he brought with him to be researched by experts. What did the inhabitants of the village on the Newfoundland coast, Canada say, when suddenly a polar bear appeared in the neighboring garden?

In any case, it became clear to us on our trip through Newfoundland, Canada: the people who live here are resilient and ready to face the elements. And they have to be, because life on "the rock" is still not easy.

Source: own site research courtesy of Newfoundland, Canada Travel through Tourism Newfoundland

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

Newfoundland, Canada - the island of explorers
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