By J Settembrino. The human history of Newfoundland and Labrador has been deeply marked by the natural environment, especially the abundance of marine resources.
Different cultures have succeeded on the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, turning its back on the limited resources of the Interior to operate rather abundant riches of the ocean. The realities of the environment have been of great importance in the history of the Province. Given the relative poverty of domestic resources (land, flora and fauna), patterns of settlement and economic activity have been deeply influenced by the richness of coastal and marine resources (mammals, fish and birds).
The ocean environment that bathes Newfoundland and Labrador is characterized by the presence of some of the largest continental shelves in the world, which have long served as habitat for the largest stocks on the planet. The Labrador Current, which flows southward along the east coast of Labrador and Newfoundland, but which affects the whole island, is another important element, with its action on the climate of coastal areas and on migration Seasonal marine animals, birds and fish.
In addition to the ocean, other crucial factors of the natural environment have combined to shape life in Newfoundland and Labrador, including the short growing season, the scarcity of arable land, the long winters and extreme weather in general (storms, fog, strong and fickle winds, heavy rains and cold deep). Poor drainage, cold currents, sea ice and icebergs also have significant impacts.
The history of Newfoundland and Labrador is essentially the story of adaptation to challenges and opportunities presented by a unique geographical characteristics.