The province is Canada's most linguistically homogeneous, with 97.6% of residents reporting English (Newfoundland English) as their mother tongue in the 2006 census. Historically, Newfoundland was also home to unique varieties of French and Irish, as well as the extinct Beothuk language. In Labrador, local dialects of Innu-aimun and Inuktitut are also spoken.
Newfoundland and Labrador's capital and largest city, St. John's, is Canada's 20th-largest census metropolitan area and is home to almost 40 percent of the province's population. St. John's is the seat of government, home to the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador and to the highest court in the jurisdiction, the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal.
A former colony and then dominion of the United Kingdom, Newfoundland gave up its independence in 1933, following significant economic distress caused by the Great Depression and the aftermath of Newfoundland's participation in World War I. It became the tenth province to enter the Canadian Confederation on March 31, 1949, as "Newfoundland." On December 6, 2001, an amendment was made to the Constitution of Canada to change the province's official name to Newfoundland and Labrador.
The name "Newfoundland" is a translation of the Portuguese Terra Nova, which literally means "new land" and is also reflected in the French name for the Province's island part (Terre-Neuve). The influence of early Portuguese exploration is also reflected in the name of Labrador, which derives from the surname of the Portuguese navigator João Fernandes Lavrador.
Labrador's name in the Inuttitut language (spoken in Nunatsiavut) is Nunatsuak, meaning "the big land" (a common English nickname for Labrador). Newfoundland's Inuttitut name is Ikkarumikluak meaning "place of many shoals".
Newfoundland and Labrador is the most easterly province in Canada, and is located at the north-eastern corner of North America. The Strait of Belle Isle separates the province into two geographical divisions: Labrador, which is a large area of mainland Canada, and Newfoundland, an island in the Atlantic Ocean. The province also includes over 7,000 tiny islands.
Newfoundland is roughly triangular. Each side is about 400 km (250 mi) long, and its area is 108,860 km2 (42,030 sq mi). Newfoundland and its neighboring small islands (excluding French possessions) have a total area of 111,390 km2 (43,010 sq mi). Newfoundland extends between latitudes 46°36′N and 51°38′N.