Timeline of St. John's history

The timeline of St. John's history shows the significant events in the history of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

15th Century

  • 1497 – Tradition declares that St. John's earned its name when explorer John Cabot became the first European to sail into the harbour, on June 24, 1497 the feast day of Saint John the Baptist.[1]

16th Century

  • 1519 – The earliest record of the location appears as São João on a Portuguese map by Pedro Reinel.
  • 1527 – When John Rut visited St. John's in 1526 he found Norman, Breton and Portuguese ships in the harbour.
  • 1527 – On August 3, John Rut wrote a letter to King Henry on the findings of his voyage to North America; this was the first known letter sent from North America. St. Jehan is shown on Nicholas Desliens' world map of 1541 and San Joham is found in João Freire's Atlas of 1546. It was during this time that Water Street was first developed, making it the oldest street in North America.[2]
  • 1583 – On August 5, Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed the area as England's first overseas colony under Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I. At the time, he found 16 English ships with 20 French and Portuguese vessels using the harbour; at the time, settlement had developed on the north side of the harbour.[3] There was no permanent English settler population, however, and Gilbert was lost at sea during his return voyage, thereby ending any immediate plans for settlement. The Newfoundland National War Memorial is located on the waterfront in St. John's, at the purported site of Gilbert's landing and proclamation.

17th Century

  • 1620 – By 1620 the fishermen of England's West Country had excluded other nations from most of the east coast.
  • 1627 – St. John's was "the principal prime and chief lot in all the whole country".
  • 1665 – The town's first significant defenses were probably erected due to commercial interests, following the temporary seizure of St. John's by the Dutch admiral Michiel de Ruyter in June.
  • 1673 – The inhabitants were able to fend off a second Dutch attack.
  • 1675 – St. John's was by far the largest settlement in Newfoundland when English naval officers began to take censuses around 1675.
  • 1680 – Fishing ships (mostly from South Devon) set up fishing rooms at St. John's, bringing hundreds of Irish men into the port to operate inshore fishing boats.
  • 1689 – The British government began to plan fortifications around 1689, and these were constructed following the retaking of St. John's after the French admiral Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville captured and destroyed the town late in 1696. The French attacked St. John's again in 1705 and 1708, and devastated civilian structures with fire.
  • 1699 – Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador founded.

18th century

19th century

20th century

21st century

See also


  1. "John Cabot: Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage". Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  2. Daniel Woodley Prowse (1895) A History of Newfoundland (p. 40-41) ISBN 0-9730271-1-8
  3. Canadian Encyclopedia (Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers), Volume 3, p.1917.
  4. Congregational Church in Newfoundland, Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador
  5. Electrical Engineering Milestone
  6. "Alcock and Brown". Aviation History Online Museum. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
  7. "Historic flight lands in Ireland". BBC News. July 3, 2005. Retrieved 2009-04-17.