The northern part of the region is a cold, barren tundra; the southern part is covered by coniferous forests. Geologically part of the Canadian Shield, the glaciated peninsula has many lakes and streams. There are vast and largely untapped mineral, hydroelectric, and timber resources on the peninsula. Since the mid-1950s the region's development has been aided by the construction of new ports and railheads at Sept-Îles and Port Cartier on the St. Lawrence River, which provide outlets for iron ore mines in the interior. Asbestos, titanium, copper, nickel, and cobalt are also mined.
Inuit communities have lived along the coastline for centuries. The region south of Ungava Bay, originally a possession of the Hudson's Bay Company, was made a part of the Northwest Territories in 1869, and later (1895) became a separate district. In 1912 it was added to Quebec, but in 1927 the eastern coast was awarded to Newfoundland, then a separate dominion not part of Canada, by the British Privy Council. Although Canada accepted the decision, Quebec has never officially recognized it. Many coastal communities remain relatively isolated, accessible only by water or air.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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