St. John's is the capital of Newfoundland. It is the most easterly port and the oldest city in North America. Founded in 1497 by John Cabot, St. John's was not settled until the 1500's. Europeans came over during the latter part of the Italian Renaissance, at the beginning of the 16th century, at which time St. John's gained prominence because of its harbor and proximity to fishing locations. It became a fishing trading post for many European countries. Water Street, the oldest commercial street in North America, developed as a result of this trade.

During the latter part of the 17th century and the 18th century, St. John's became a battlefield for French and British armies. In the 1790s, salt fish came into high demand, and many immigrants came to St. John's to work in the fishing industry. The economic boom ended with the war, and the fishing industry declined.

In 1921, St. John's was incorporated as a city when the "City of St. John's Act" was passed by the Newfoundland government. Today, St. John's is still the financial and commercial center for the province of Newfoundland.