A reference to the Virgio Islands on the South Coast of Newfoundland can be found on a Portugese map dated 1628. This 250 year old documentation of our town is an appropriate place to start with a history of Burgeo.
While it is not clear that there were any permanent settlers here at that time, it is clear that the Portugese had become accustomed to using the harbour frequently enough to have it named and printed on their maps.
Historians believe that this is an adoption of a Portugese name for a small, group of islands off their country. Indeed it may be an indirect name transferred from the Virgin Islands which the Portugese would have visited when travelling across the South Atlantic via the Cape Verde Islands. Whatever the origin, the name has subsequently been changed to Birgio and lately Burgeo.
The town as it
presently stands has grown as a result of smaller communities building towards
each other and finally becoming connected over time. The building of roads and
bridges to connect the various sections of the town has inevitably led to a
closer contact between what was earlier a collection of divergent settlements.
While the population has grown, naturally over time, it has also received considerable boosts as a result of resettlement from nearby islands and communities.
Much has been written about our town over the past 250 years. It is our hope that this publication will serve as the beginning of a process that will culminate in the collection of a vast reservoir of printed, oral and artifact history of our town to be placed on permanent display to remind all of us of our proud history and bright future.
To Mr. Aubrey Matthews for his efforts to preserve so much of the available history of our town and his dedication in compiling this publication I would like to express my deepest gratitude.
It is our hope
that this publication will act as a catalyst to initiate interest and discussion
about the 250 years of history our town has seen. If it helps to promote an
understanding of our past and a desire among our citizens to protect and
display, with pride, what is left we will have accomplished our task.