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The story of Newfoundland has always been the story of the cod. The fisheries were the richest in the world and many countries established summer and year round fishing bases along the shores of Newfoundland. It was not until the English Civil War and the rise of Cromwell that England built  a fleet strong enough to protect it's interests in Newfoundland.

By 1775 the lines of communication and trade routes were firmly established with the Ne England colonies. Boston was the main destination when leaving Newfoundland and New England served as a middleman between Newfoundland and the West Indies. Fish went to the West Indies and sugar, rum and other suppliers came from Boston. The British government had discouraged settlement in Newfoundland in the believe that transitory fishing bases was the most efficient way to work the Grand Banks.

Once the American Revolution began trade with New England was cut off but  demand for fish by the British navy and army exploded. New travel routes opened up with Britain, Ireland, the Maritimes and Quebec. these areas also began to be the suppliers of foodstuffs and other supplies while the Newfoundland economy boomed during the war years. The population of Newfoundland had reached the point where it could maintain itself and grow at a fast or slow rated depending upon the economy and the number of people leaving for various reasons.

From 1783 to 1789 the demand for fish drove a boom in Newfoundland and the transitory fishery was substantially replaced by a permanent fishing population. This, along with the American Revolution sparked a demand for more efficient government and regulation of the colony from Britain. In 1809 the colony of Labrador was united with Newfoundland as one colony again.

During the era of the Napoleonic wars that lasted until 1815 Newfoundland grew strong and stable due to the exclusion of other countries fishing vessels and the expansion of ship building to carry their catch, the growth of the sealing industry. St Johns became he recognized economic and political centre of the colony and with the reopening of the European markets in 1813 the demand for cod soared. A middle class developed in the colony and this group began to take a lead in political affairs and the growth of responsible government began to solidify.

The first civil courts were established in 1791 and John Reeves was appointed the first chief justice. The British navy still had considerable influence on the affairs of Newfoundland but this power was slowly eroding and the indigenous power base slowly growing. Newfoundland had grown into its own distinct society and outgrown the role as just a resource supplier in a mercantilist system.