Jens Haven and the Moravian Mission in Labrador
This essay attempts to trace the early establishment and development of the Moravian mission in Labrador. The driving force was Jens Haven, son of a farmer from Jutland, born in 1724, who first arrived in Labrador in 1764. Labrador had been placed under the jurisdiction of the Governor of Newfoundland in 1763, and one of Palliser's first efforts was to ensure an English monopoly of any trade out of Labrador and the appeasement of the region for the safe settlement by English fishermen. Palliser was convinced that through Haven, friendly relations could be established with the local aboriginal populations. The Moravian Church was satisfied that the establishment of a Labrador mission would offer great benefits to the locals and petitioned the Board of Trade for the grant of land in 1765. Haven's role in the selection of a site and the building of mission houses was paramount. The first Moravian house was built in Nain in 1771, followed in subsequent years by more houses along the coast. Despite his enthusiasm and contributions, Haven soon clashed with other missionaries and the London congregation. In 1784 he left Labrador, but the missions he so strongly encouraged and supported continued to grow and prosper.
01 Jan 1968
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