Portugal Cove is commonly thought to have gotten its name from the explorer, Gaspar Corte Real, who was commissioned by Ferdinand of Portugal to explore North America in the early 1500s. It is unknown whether Gaspar Corte Real actually set foot in Portugal Cove or merely named the area as he sailed by. According to oral history, two of Corte Real’s sailors are buried atop the “Geeze”, the land to the north of the ferry dock in Portugal Cove.
St. Philip’s was settled in the late 18th century. The first settlers were two men, John Squires and Robin Tucker who arrived in 1790. Squires settled the east side of Broad Cove and Tucker the west side. As Squires was more interested in farming than fishing and Tucker more interested in fishing than farming, the two men exchanged properties, the west side of the cove being more conducive to farming.
Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s was amalgamated in 1992, and has since rapidly grown to an estimated 7366 people in 2011. Many people come to the community to enjoy a rural flavoured environment, while still enjoying the amenities that larger centers have to offer. The Town is rich in history and is an excellent place to witness the spectacular views offered by Newfoundland’s unique landscape.