Trepassey , is a small fishing community located in Trepassey Bay on the south eastern corner of the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was in Trepassey Harbour where the flight of the Friendship took off, piloted by Amelia Earhart. Amelia became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
Trepassey originates from the French word trépassés, meaning 'dead men'. It is believed that it acquired this name due to the many shipwrecks that have occurred off its coast. Also on the Brittany coast of France there is a Baie des Trépassés. Trepassey is the name of the harbour, the bay and the community. Later the translation was used as 'Dead Man's Bay' due to the tragic shipwrecks along the coast.
Spanish, Portuguese and French fishermen visited the area in the early 1500s. Early English settlement attempts failed, and it was not until the latter part of the 1600s that the French settled the area. Later fishermen from the West Country of England arrived, to be followed by large numbers of Irish and by the 1770s the Irish formed the majority of the population.
Trepassey has a motel, a bed and breakfast, a bar, two restaurants and gas stations. There is a grocery store and automated banking machine as well as a large hardware store. The town also has a harbour and sailboats often dock at the pier. Lobster can be bought from local fishermen during the season.
Salmon and trout fishing in the bay, nearby lakes and rivers. Caribou and other wildlife are often sighted near town along the road. Trepassey features a museum with artifacts from Amelia Earhart's flight. Cape Race lighthouse is nearby. Capelin fish beach themselves yearly in mid-July, which is also a good time to spot whales feeding on the capelin. One can also collect capelin on the beach at this time.
- 1505, Trepassey first appears on European maps as a supply depot.
- 1600s, Trepassey marks the area where the French and English areas of influence in Newfoundland meet.
- 1617, First attempt to settle Trepassey by Sir William Vaughan
- 1675, the French occupy one part of the Trepassey harbour and the English the other side.
- 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht gives control of Trepassey to England. Shortly thereafter, Trepassey becomes a major centre of the English migratory and bank fisheries.
- 1720, on 21 June the pirate Bartholomew Roberts captures and burns 22 vessels in the harbour.
- 1821, the first lighthouse is built at Cape Pine, the southernmost point in Newfoundland.
- 1836, the population is listed as 247.
- 1863, the postmaster was John Devereaix
- 1886, the Way or Post, office closed.
- 1884, population reaches 668.
- 1914, the Newfoundland Railway Branch Line is completed, linking Trepassey with St. John’s.
- 1919, United States Navy Curtis Flying Boat (the NC-4) leaves Trepassey harbour on May 16 and flies to Portugal via the Azores, thus completing the first successful (although not non-stop) transatlantic flight.
- 1928, (June 28), after staying in Trepassey for three weeks, Amelia Earhart as a passenger aboard the Friendship, becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
- 1969, the community elects its first town council.
- 1991, the local fish plant closes putting over 600 people out of work.