How Newfoundland and Labrador Got Its Name

A Comment by King Henry VII in 1497 and a Portuguese Translation

Woody Point, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Layinlow/Wikimedia Commons

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the ten provinces and three territories that make up Canada. Newfoundland is one of four Atlantic provinces in Canada.

Origin of the Names Newfoundland and Labrador

King Henry VII of England referred to the land discovered by John Cabot in 1497 as the “New Found Launde," thus helping to coin the name of Newfoundland. 

It is thought that the name Labrador came from João Fernandes, a Portuguese explorer. He was a "llavrador," or landowner, who explored the coast of Greenland. References to "the labrador's land" evolved into the area's new name: Labrador. The term was first applied to a section of the coast of Greenland, but the area of Labrador now includes all the northern islands in the region.

Previously called only Newfoundland, the province officially became Newfoundland and Labrador in December 2001, when an amendment was made to the Constitution of Canada.

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Munroe, Susan. "How Newfoundland and Labrador Got Its Name." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Munroe, Susan. (2021, February 16). How Newfoundland and Labrador Got Its Name. Retrieved from Munroe, Susan. "How Newfoundland and Labrador Got Its Name." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 20, 2023).