Forteau, NL, incorporated as a town in 1997, population 429 (2011c), 448 (2006c). The Town of Forteau is a fishing and services centre on Forteau Bay in southern Labrador, 25 km across the Strait of Belle Isle from insular Newfoundland. Its name likely derives from the French fort ("strong"), referring to the bay's strong winds. A major site of Maritime Archaic culture, Montagnais and Inuit habitation from 7000 years ago, Forteau was used by BASQUE whalers, and later by French, English and Newfoundland fishermen, from the late 1500s.
A garrison fort was erected in Baie Forteau in 1710, and the bay was a base for the French migratory fishery. After the British were granted Labrador in 1763, Jersey and British merchant firms took over the fishery. In 1857 the Point Amour navigational light, the tallest (33 m) in Newfoundland and Labrador, was built, and remains today. A GRENFELL Mission nursing station opened in 1909 and a Grenfell boarding school by 1939. The first high school on the Labrador coast opened there in 1964. The modern town, still dependent upon the fishery, services much of the southern coast of Labrador.