Ye Olde St. John's

"What hoary traditions entwine about the old town of St. John's caressed by the wild Atlantic surge."

Its history, as far as can be ascertained from written records, goes back to the time of John Cabot, who, according to English seamen's tradition entered the harbour on the evening of St. John's Day in the year of our Lord 1497 A.D. .

From the very first years after Cabot's discovery, ships from Western Europe came to Newfoundland to fish, and St. John's was a rendezvous for them all. Captain John Rut of the British Navy described his visit there in 1527, and aboard his ship, the "Mary of Guildford", he wrote the first letter from North America to Europe and sent it home to King Henry VIII by an English ship that was returning with a load of codfish.

It was at the suggestion of the same Captain Rut that the King commanded a West Country merchant named Bute to form a colony in Newfoundland. Bute came to St. John's in the following year and built the first permanent residence on the island. Thus the founding of the old town of St. John's can be said to date from the year 1528.

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