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Signal Hill


Atlantic Lookout


- Newfoundland

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John Cabot first entered the narrow entrance into the harbour on St John's day in 1497 and named the location St Johns, after the saint. In 1528 an English merchant named Bute arrived in the harbour to establish a settlement.

Jacques Cartier, the famous French explorer visited this safe, natural harbour many times during his explorations of America and in 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert landed on the shore in the harbour and claimed the island for England.

Signal Hill is located atop the high cliff on one side of the narrow entrance to the harbour at St Johns Newfoundland. It was originally know as the lookout because of its commanding view of the Atlantic in most directions. Signal Hill received it's name from the Lt. Colonel William Amherst, in 1762 at the end of the Seven Years War. On September 15, the British fought the French on the slopes of Signal Hill and forces them off the location and into Fort William where they surrendered 3 days later. Amherst renamed it because of it's use for ships coming in  and out of the St Johns harbour with the use of a flag systems.

In the 1700's the expansion of Signal Hill into a citadel took place and in the 1800;s the expansion of the facilities occurred as they added a barracks to the layout. In 1897 the Cabot Tower was started which marked the 400th anniversary of the visit of John Cabot and the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria's reign.

The other notable occurrence at Signal Hill was on December 12, 1901 when the scientist and inventor  Guglielmo Marconi made contact with another wireless station in Cornwall England which was the first successful transatlantic wireless transmission which change the world as they then knew it.

During the Second World War, along with Cape Spear, artillery emplacements were established by the U.S. at Signal Hill in order to deter and destroy Nazi U-boats from getting too close the shore and allied vessels. There is a museum and heritage centre on site which offers an excellent introduction to Signal Hill and it's facilities.


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