Cupids, one of the most significant historic sites in North America, is preparing to celebrate its 400th anniversary in the summer of 2010. Cupids was settled in 1610 by John Guy. It is the oldest English colony in Canada and the second oldest English colony in North America.
In 1612, an additional group of colonists which included women arrived. Colonist Henry Crout recorded the birth of a child to Nicholas Guie and his wife on March 27, 1613. The birth is the first recorded birth of an English child in Canada.
John Guy built two ships to explore in order to establish relations with the native Beothuk population. He was successful in establishing contact with the Beothuk in 1612.
In 1995, archaeologist Bill Gilbert and his team began preliminary excavation of a site in Cupids, which is the location of John Guy's settlement. Since that time, dibbing has revealed a fireplace and building foundations plus about 100,000 artifacts dating back to the early 1600's. Discoveries have included an almost complete Weaterwald drinking cup and a sliver coin from the reign of Charles II.
The history of the settlement is well documented through letters and journals written by the colonists which have been preserved until today. The recorded history is being enhanced by the many artifacts that have been discovered.
In 2006, the Cupids dig was designated one "Top Ten Active Archaeological Sites in Canada" by The Beaver: Canada's History Magazine.
The Cupids Museum and Archaeology Lab display a number of artifacts found at the ongoing archaeological project and guided tours are available.
In addition, the Cupids Museum displays items from life in fishing and farming community. Exhibits include a postal history of Newfoundland and an exhibit of school-days in Cupids and Newfoundland called 'Present, Miss'.
To celebrate the 300th anniversary of Cupids in 1910, the second largest Union Jack in the British Empire flew for the first time. (At that time Newfoundland was not a province of Canada, but an independent country.) The original flag has been restored and is on display at the museum. On special occasions and weekends, a replacement flag flies.
A fascinating link between Cupids and the Pilgrim fathers is provided by the Squanto, a native person from New England, who had been taken to England, and who was brought to Cupids in 1618. By 1621, he had been returned to New England , and met the Pilgrim Fathers when they arrived at Plymouth. Imagine their amazement when Squanto spoke to them in clear English!
Cupids has spectacular walking and hiking trails. One trail leads to the abandoned communities of "Deep Gulch" and "Greenland". Another trail climbs to the abandoned community of "Rip Raps" and to the top of Spectacle Head.