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Colonized History: Newfoundland's Rocky Relationship with the Crown

When I was doing research on the ideas for and construction of Cabot Tower [built in 1897 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland], I made considerable use of the Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John's. There I was given the papers of Bishop Michael Francis Howley who, with the judge-historian D.W. Prowse, was the promoter of this scheme. Interesting - and critical - in the Howley papers was the revelation that the whole Cabot celebration was an Anglo creation designed to displace Jacques Cartier as the European discoverer of Newfoundland and Canada, and so assert the primal right of Imperial Britain to this territory. It demonstrated that Newfoundland's history was being colonized by Anglo Canada as early as 1895 - and that Newfoundland was a willing participant in this colonization.
Shane O'Dea
Memorial University of Newfoundland


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