Welcome to Baccalieu: Crossroads For Cultures


Arrival from Europe. (Prepared for Baccalieu: Crossroads for Cultures by Baccalieu Consulting, ©2005)
Arrival from Europe. (Prepared for Baccalieu: Crossroads for Cultures by Baccalieu Consulting, ©2005)

Baccalieu: Crossroads for Cultures is a completely bilingual website specifically designed and written for young people, although people of any age can enjoy the content. Educational activities have been included which are intended to be used by teachers or parents with students.

For thousands of years, people of many cultures have lived on the Baccalieu Trail enjoying the bounty from the sea and the land. The Portuguese fishermen were impressed by the reports of schools of fish, especially codfish, near Newfoundland. The name "Baccalieu” is derived either from the Spanish bacalao or the Basque baccalos, both terms meaning “codfish.”  In fact, Newfoundland bears the name of "Terra de Bacallaos" ("land of cod") on 16th century maps.

Baccalieu: Crossroads for Cultures begins when John Guy and a group of English colonists landed in Cupers Cove in August, 1610, to set up the first official English settlement in what is today the country of Canada. One of the colonists' goals was to set up a fur trade with the Beothuk, an aboriginal people who had been living in the region for hundreds of years. When Cupers Cove was first settled, the area was being visited by migratory fishermen and pirates from a number of European nations, including England, France, Spain, and Portugal. Baccalieu: Crossroads for Cultures weaves a tale about how people from different cultures interacted from the start of settlement for a period of about 100 years until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which gave England control of the Island of Newfoundland.

Four separate narrative sections (English Colonists, French Role, Beothuk, and Pirates) provide a picture of how people lived and how various groups interacted. Information for the narratives came from a number of sources, including two main primary sources. One primary source was the letters, journals, and books in English and French which were written between three or four hundred years ago. Several of these documents have been transcribed in modern text and appear on the website. The other primary source consisted of the archaeological sites and artifacts found and interpreted by the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation with Chief Archaeologist William Gilbert. A selection of artifacts is displayed on the website. It is exciting to think that these are actual items that people from various cultures touched and used in their daily lives during the 17th century.

The Educational Activities invite teachers or parents to guide students through learning experiences. From the activities students will discover how John Guy's colonists survived in a new and often hostile environment, how the Beothuk hunted and lived, how the English and French fought for the region, and how the pirates raided and preyed upon the people of many nations who fished the waters off Newfoundland.

A large partnership of regional groups and many talented people (including web designers, database developers, archaeologists, teachers, graphic artists, researchers, writers, translators. and visual artists) have cooperated with the Eastern School District, and Heritage Canada to make a portal to the past that can be enjoyed by people of all ages!

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