Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
The Grand Banks is known for the rich fishing it has supplied over the years. So much has been talked about it but more has been focused on the severe depletion of fish that has occurred due to overfishing. Something that has been neglected is more of the discovery of it and the impact it had on Europe.
Officially, John Cabot is credited with the discovery of the Grand Banks during one of his voyages to the New World in search of the Northwest Passage. Though history gives him that honor, the truth is that there were others that had discovered the area but managed to keep it a secret. Only through John Cabot did this area become known throughout Europe.
Once Europe got wind of this discovery after Cabot returned to Europe, fishermen risked the unknown waters to see if it could be true. It was more than they had dreamed up. Word spread like wildfire and fishermen from every country made their way to the Grand Banks. There was more fish than any ocean could hold here.
What made this so special? Europe was an area with a huge population. It needed food and the sea seemed to have an unlimited supply. To find a place where fish seemed to multiply before your eyes was a miracle. The masses in Europe could be fed. The Grand Banks gave Europe a food source that was desperately needed. In turn this helped the economy. The number of ships looking for fish increased and the number of people employed to bring the fish home increased. Economically things looked up.
It also gave Europeans more reason to leave and see what the New World had to offer. This was just a sampling of what was in store for them. They discovered that there was a place to find room and not be constantly being shoved by the masses. This place where the Grand Banks became a gateway for immigrants was extremely large. It was almost a breath of fresh air for those who wanted to get away from the close quarters and unsanitary cities of Europe.
The Grand Banks was a lure (pardon the pun) to many Europeans. If the New World could offer such a wonderful supply of foods, what more was there to see? The Grand Banks helped to bring more settlers to the New World which led to further exploration and some population relief from Europe. It was a gift to mankind that unfortunately has not been well taken care of over the years.
In short, the Grand Banks helped to colonize America while giving Europe hope for the future.