Welcome to Land of First Contact!

The story of the Land of First Contact begins as far back as 70,000 years ago when small waves of modern humans began moving out of Africa into the territory we know as the Middle East. Over many millenia, groups of people continuted to migrate to new lands, some moving northwest into Europe and others  moving east across Asia. Eons passed before Asian hunters, following the animals that sustained them, crossed into North America, primarily over a land bridge that connected the two continents. The hunters who traveled slowly across North America thousands of years ago arrived at the continent's northeastern edge as the last ice age was retreating, about 9000 years before today.

It would be another 8000 years before the descendents of the early migrations that traveled northwest from Africa would make their way across the Atlantic Ocean and eventually bump up on the shores of Labrador and northern Newfoundland. Those Middle Age Europeans who developed the boat building technology that would allow them to explore faraway lands   were Norse mariners, often called Vikings. When they arrived on the coast of North America around 1000 AD, they came face to face with the descendents of the early Asian migrants, now the aboriginal people of Canada. The monumental first contact between peoples of these very different cultures was finally made, closing the circle of the global human migration that had started in the dawn of human existence. In reality, the first contact was mostly symbolic as the Norse did not linger in the new world they found. It would be another 500 years before Europeans and aboriginal people would confront each other over resources, territory and control of the Land of First Contact.

We invite you now to click EXPLORE on the map and learn about the places and stories that make up the history of North America's northern gateway, this Land of First Contact. The many historic sites and stories - about famous explorers,  fishermen and hunters, aboriginal bands - make up a tapestry of cultures and events that still influence who we are and how we understand our world.


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