1500 European explorers (John Cabot, João Fernandes Lavrador,Gaspar
Corte-Real, Jacques Cartierand others), fishermen from
England, Portugal, France and Spain and Basques began exploration. Fishing
expeditions started to come seasonally. John Cabot (1450–1499), commissioned by
King Henry VII of England, landed on the North East coast of North America in
1497. In 1578 Queen Elizabeth I provided Sir Humphrey Gilbert, (†1583) a son in law of her
favourite Sir Raleigh, with letters patent for “all far-away pagan and
barbarous territories not possessed now by a christian prince or
people”. He landed in St John's in
August 1583, and formally took possession of the island.
Arms: Argent, on a chevron gules three
roses of the field.
Crest: A squirrel sejant gules
Motto: QUID NON (Why Not)
to 1728, Proprietary Governors were appointed to establish colonial
settlements on the island. John Guy was governor of the first settlement at Cuper's Cove where he founded the
«Newfoundland Company» This company failed in 1631.
established by Henry Cary, 1st Viscount Falkland,
in 1623 on territory in the Avalon Peninsula including the former colony of
Renews. It was still in existence by 1626 but ultimately failed. The title
Viscount of Falkland was created on 10 November 1620.
was founded by
Calvert (†1632) who had acquired a piece of Newfoundland
which he termed The Colony of Avalon in honour of "old
Avalon...the first-fruits of Christianity in Britain." It
became a province in 1623. It was abandoned by George Calvert after a
particularly harsh Newfoundland winter in 1628-’29 and passed to Calvert’s
son, Cecilius (Cecil) Calvert.
Arms: Argent, a bend Sable,
roses of the field.
Arms: Paly Sable and Or of six pieces
David Kirke (1597-1654), the son of Gervase Kirke who was a co-founder of a
company to exploit the valley of St Lawrence, asked King Charles I for a land
grant. In November 1637 Kirke and his partners were granted a royal charter
for co-proprietorship of the entire island of Newfoundland. The portion of
Newfoundland, the Avalon Peninsula, of Cecil Calvert was transferred to
A coat of
arms for Newfoundland was granted by Borough, Garter 1st January 1637 (Old
style). The Royal warrant reads:
seventeenth-century representation of the armorial bearings of Newfoundland with
CA: Misc, Gts. 4.7
To all and singular, to whom these present Letters Patents shall
come Sir John Borough, Knt Garter principall King of Armes of English men
WHEREAS our dread
Soureraigne Lord King Charles by Letters Patents under the Great Seale of
England, dated at Westmr, the 13th day of November in the 13th yeare of his
happy Raigne did give grant and confirm to the right Hoble James, Marquess
Hamilton, Maister of his horse, Phillip, Earle of Pembroke & Montgomery,
Lord Chamberlaine of His Household, and Henry, Earle of Holland, Chief
Justice in Eyre of all his Forests, Chaces, and Parkes of the South side of
the River of Trent, and to Sr David Kirk, Knt one of the Gentlement of his
privy chamber, all that whole Continent Island or Region commonly called
Newfoundland in manner and forme as by thesaid Letters Patents more at large
.. doth and may appear,
AND WHEREAS for the
greater honour and splendor of the Contry and the people therein inhabiting
It is and will be necessary that there be proper and peculiar Armes thereunto
belonging to be used in all such cases as Armes are wont to be by other
nations and countries. Upon the request unto me made by the above mentioned
right Hoble James marquess Hamilton, Phillip, Earle of Pembroke &
Montgomery, & Henry, Earle of Holland and Sr David Kirk, Knt, that I
would devise and sett forth certaine Ensignes of Armes to be for ever used as
the proper Armes and peculiar Ensignes of that Contry, I have accordingly for
the purpose before recited devised sett forth and contrived the Armes &
Ensignes hereafter described,
»That is to say Gules a
cross Argent In the first Quarter of the Escocheon a Lyon Passant gardant
Crowned Or, In the Second an Unicorn Passant of the second armed maned and
unguled of the third gorged with a Crown wherunto is affixed a chaine passing
between his forelegs and reflexed over his back of the last. In the third as
in the second In the forth as in the first, And for the crest upon an healme
Mantled Gules Doobled Argent and a Wreath Or & Gules an Elke passant
proper the Eschcheon supported by two Savages of the Clyme pper armed and
apparaled according to their Guise when they goe to Warre, and under all in
an Escroll this Motto: QUAERITE PRIME REGNUM DEI as in the margent more plainly is depicted,
In WITNESS whereof I the
said Sr John Borough Knt Garter principall King of Armes of Englishmen have
unto these presents affixed the seale of Myne office and subscribed my name.
Dated the first day of Jan in the 13th yeare of the Raigne of our dread
Souveraigne Lord King Charles, by the Grace of God of England Scotland France
& Ireland King defender of the Faith etc., And in the yeare of Grace
í The silver cross on a red field
immediately brings to mind the Arms of the Knights of St John, on whose
patronal feast in 1497 Newfoundland was, by tradition, discovered by John
Cabot. One might conjecture, therefore, that this fact influenced the choice
of this basis design. Be that as it may, it is obvious that the crowned lions
and the unicorns were inspired by the supporters of the royal arms as borne
since 1603. Indeed these Newfoundland arms, along with those for Nova Scotia,
are the only ensigns of public authority of Stuart origin in Canada.
calls for an elk in its natural colours. Presumably this was a
seventeenth-century attempt to include what was thought to be an example of
the fauna of Newfoundland. In fact elk have never existed there. On can only
conclude, therefore, that this was a misnomer for caribou, which has long
been found on that island.
seventeenth century depiction of these armorial bearings, in the Records of
the College of Arms, the supporters a indigenous Indians – the Beothuks –
dressed and armed as for war. They are, in fact, particularly interesting
from the heraldic point of view as even their oldest representations reflect
a complete departure from the conventionalized Indians almost universal in
armory during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. On the other hand the
Newfoundland supporters reflect an effort to follow the patent of 1638, which
required that they be ‘of the Clyme proper armed and apparaled according to
their guise when tey goe to Warre’ that is to say, they should be a
representation of factual local Indians, clothed and armed as they would be
motto, taken from St Matthew’s Gospel 6.:33 might be rendered ‘ See ye first
the Kingdom of God.’
of arms has been generally attributed to the Newfoundland
Company. The grant, however, was made to “the Country.” It, however, took
almost three hundred years before they were actually borne for Newfoundland.
installed as the Proprietary Governor. He arrived in 1638 and seized the
governor's mansion, then occupied by William Hill, the governor of Cecil
Calvert. In 1639, Kirke renamed the colony the Pool Plantation.
the French, who controlled more than half of the island of Newfoundland, and
most of Atlantic Canada, made Plaisance (Placentia) their capital. and
appointed a governor.
This was the beginning of a formal French colonization period of
Newfoundland. The rest of the island was nearly conquered by New France
explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville in 1697 during the devastating Avalon
Peninsula Campaign but the French failed to defend their conquest of the
English portion of the island.
of Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville
three roses Or 2&1 and a chief Gules, a crescent between two mullets Or.
The French colonization period lasted until the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, which ended the War of the Spanish Succession. France ceded its claims to Newfoundland to the British (as well as its claims to the shores of Hudson Bay).
Crown Colony of Newfoundland
was given de status of an official Crown Colony in 1825, and Thomas
John Cochrane, an
officer of the Royal Navy, was appointed as its first governor. The colony was
granted a constitution in 1832, and Cochrane became its first civil governor.
early 19th century no great seal deputed for the British general government
of Newfoundland was used or, in fact even existed.
some initiatives in 1819 and 1820 a new seal was despatched to the governor
in 1827 along with a warrant signed by George IV and dated 1 September of
that year authorizing its use. The obverse contains an allegorical group
symbolizing the historic and vitaly important fishing industry of
Newfoundland. Mercury stands in the centre and is portrayed in the classical
manner with a winged cap but otherwise nude save for a cloak. In his left
hand an crook of his arm he hold a caduceus, symbol of commerce. His other
hand extends towards a fisherman whom he presents to Britannia standing on
the rght of the composition.
fisherman, who kneels on one knee and holds up his net, complete with floats,
is rendered in the romantic manner strongly reminiscent of Byron. The shirt,
the trousers, and the hair-style could well have belonged to that idol of the
romantic-liberal movement only recently dead when the matrices of this seal
interpretation of Britannia is strongly classicla, with loose-flowing dress,
cloak, and Grecian helmet. With her left hand she supports an oval shield
which displays the Union Badge (or Jack) surrounded by a border charged with
shamrocks, roses, and thisles placed alternately.
extreme left of the composition, near the fisherman, the prow of a vessel
protrudes, possibly a large rowing boat or fishing smack.
composition is the inscription: HAEC TIBI DONA FERO (I bring you these gifts).
legend reads: SIGILLUM TERRE NOVÆ INSULÆ
On the reverse of the seal was the royal
achievement. On later seals the composition on the obverse and the
achievement on the reverse were combined, the latter above the first. 
colony was granted self-governing status in 1854. Philip
Francis Little was the first Premier of Newfoundland Colony between 1855 and
1858. The colony rejected confederation with Canada in the period of 1864-69.
the Colony was granted a badge on its flags
The Bade of
Reproduced by permission of the
Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador
(PANL GN2/5), St. John's, Newfoundland.
composition of the seal was made the Newfoundland badge by King Edward
VII in 1904. This badge came in the
centre of the flag of the lieutenant governor and in the fly of the red
ensign flown by the republic
Dominion of Newfoundland
Newfoundland became the Dominion of Newfoundland, a Dominion of the British Empire.
Stamp with the
arms of Newfoundland, 1910
300th anniversary of the London &
Bristol Company for Colonists in Newfoundland a stamp was issued with the
arms of that company resembling the arms granted to Newfoundland in 1637. It
is not known on what documents these arms were based and they have the cross
Gules, instead of Argent.
after WWI however, Sir Edgar Bowring, High Commisioner for Newfoundland in
London from 1918-’22 was informed that there was a grant of these arms in the
College of Arms. After some research by the government of Newfoundland in
1927 it came to light that Charles I had given a concession to some of his
favourites for The Island and the Territory known as Terre-Neuve and a coat
of arms had been granted.
Government of Newfoundland decided by decree of 12 December 1927 that the
coat of arms of 1637 would be the offcial coat of arms of Newfoundland. On
the depiction the helmet and lambrequines as described in te warrant are
Æ See illustration in the head of
economic hardship in 1934 Newfoundland suspended its self-government and
accepted temporary rule by a royal commission of Government.
Province of Newfoundland
with Labrador, an area on the mainland, Newfoundland confederated with Canada
on 31 March 1949 as the province of Newfoundland.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland was renamed the province Newfoundland and Labrador
Arms as on the
flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador
dates back to 1729, with the appointment of the first police constables.
In the 19th century, the RNC was modelled after the Royal Irish
Constabulary (RIC) with the secondment in 1844 of Timothy Mitchell of
the Royal Irish Constabulary to be Inspector General, making it the oldest
civil police force in North America. Mitchell served as Inspector
General and Superintendent of Police until 1871, when the Newfoundland
Constabulary was reorganized with a new Police Act.
Queen Elizabeth II of Canada conferred the designation Royal on the
© Hubert de
 Joner, Léon A.: Les Armoiries de Terre-Neuve
(Newfoundland). In: Archives Heraldiques Suisses. 1953, p. 30. And: Schedule
A of the Newfoundland Coat of Arms Act, 1957. The original rendering of the
coat of arms: Coll. Arms, Miscellaneous Grants 4, fo. 7. The supporters are two
Beothuk indians. (Publ.: Woodcock, T. & J.M. Robinson: The Oxford Guide to
Heraldry p. 157.) The date is 1 January 1637 Old Style i.e 1 January 1638 New Style.
 Swan, Conrad:
Canad, symbols of Sovereignty. Toronto 1977. Pp.86-97