Geographically, the province consists of the island of Newfoundland and the mainland Labrador. Since 1964 the province has referred to itself at a provincial level as "Newfoundland and Labrador", but federally the name "Newfoundland" was used to assuage a dispute with Quebec over whether or not Labrador should be assigned to Newfoundland. In October 2001, a constitutional amendment was passed by the House of Commons changing the official name to "Newfoundland and Labrador". This amendment came into force on December 6, 2001.
Newfoundland did not become part of Canada until 1949 and until then was a separate dominion of the British Empire. See http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~melbaker/confederation1949.htm
Newfoundland received a colonial assembly in 1832 which was and still is referred to as the House of Assembly. In 1855 Newfoundland was granted responsible government. Philip Francois Little, a native of Prince Edward Island, formed the first administration from 1855 to 1858. Newfoundland rejected confederation in the 1869 general election. It remained as a colony until acquiring dominion status in 1907 along with New Zealand. It attempted to reach a trade agreement with the United States but failed. The Dominion of Newfoundland reached its golden age under the premiership of Sir Robert Bond.
Newfoundland produced its own regiment to fight in the first world war. On July 1 1916 most of that regiment was wiped out. The war debt sustained because of the regiment led to increase borrowing in the post-war era. Political scandal was a severe problem in the twenties. In 1923 the Prime Minister at the time was arrested on charges of corruption. He was released soon after on bail but the scandal was reviewed by the British-led Hollis Walker commission. Soon after, the Squires government fell. Squires returned to power in 1928 only to control the country that was drasticly hurt by the Great Depression. On April 5, 1932 a huge mob of 10,000 people marched on the Parliament building and forced Squires to run for his life. Soon after there was an election and Squires fell again. The next government, led by Frederick Alderdice, called upon the British government to take direct control until Newfoundland could be self-sustaining again.
In 1946 an election was held for a National Convention to decide the future of Newfoundland. It was finally decided after much debate to have a referendum to ethier return to dominion status or to join Canada. In July 1948 the final vote of 52 to 48 percent for confederation with Canada decided the future of Newfoundland. Newfoundland joined Canada on April 1, 1949. Politics would be dominated by the Liberal Party under Joseph R. Smallwood until 1972. In 1972 the Smallwood government was finally replaced by the Tory admintstation of Frank Moores. In 1979 Brian Peckford became Premier. During this time Newfoundland was involved in a serious battle with the federal government for control of offshore oil resources. In the end, the dispute was decided by compromise. In 1989 Clyde Wells and the Liberal Party came to power. During the 1990s Newfoundland faced a severe enviromental and economic crisis. The cod stocks that had provided Newfoundlanders with income for over 200 years had become depleted. The federal government helped with a billion dollar package to rescue Newfoundland. In 1996 former federal politican Brian Tobin came to power. His main goal was to get a good deal out of the recently discovered nickel deposits in Labrador. He resigned and want back to federal politics in 2000. The Liberal Party has found itself in a difficult situation. Internal battling and dispute has left the new Premier, Roger Grimes, in a weakened position. Newfoundland has been recently involved in a battle with Nova Scotia over the offshore boundary.