Newfoundland and Labrador, province of Canada composed of the island of Newfoundland and a larger mainland sector, Labrador, to the northwest. It is the newest of Canada’s 10 provinces, having joined the confederation only in 1949; its name was officially changed to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001. The island, which was named the “newfoundelande,” or New Found Land, by late 15th-century explorers, lies athwart the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is separated from Labrador by the narrow Strait of Belle Isle and from Nova Scotia, to the southwest, by Cabot Strait. The French territory of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon lies off the coast of the Burin Peninsula in southeastern Newfoundland. Labrador is bordered to the north and east by the Labrador Sea (northwestern arm of the Atlantic Ocean) and to the south and west by the province of Quebec.
Newfoundland and Labrador is the most easterly part of North America, and its position on the Atlantic has given it a strategic importance in defense, transportation, and communications. Its capital city, St. John’s (on Newfoundland), for instance, is closer to the coast of Ireland than it is to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Of perhaps greater significance have been the great fish stocks that inhabited the Grand Banks and other fishing grounds to the east and south of Newfoundland, spurring the development of numerous communities stretched along some 14,400 miles (23,200 km) of deeply indented wave-battered seacoast. These fisheries have been the single most important factor in shaping the history and character of the land and its people. Area 156,453 square miles (405,212 square km). Pop. (2016) 519,716; (2019 est.) 525,073.