Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Contraband




Obtaining tax free booze and tobacco is prevalent in most socities, Newfoundland is no exception!  In the early days of settlement, most alcohol consumed in the province came from Europe.  Later on, run fo the Caribbean was imported.

Most of the contrabanding in Newfoundland has to do with the foreign country of France, which is right next door with its colonial islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon.  All kinds of scams have been pulled to get tax free liquor off those islands for years - for example if a police boat was bearing down on a vessel full of contraband, the smugglers would sometimes tie sacks of salt to the wooden cases and throw them overboard,  the heavy salt would take the liquor to the bottom.  The contrabanders knew how long it would take for the salt to dissolve and would return to retrieve it when the wooden cases of booze started popping up to surface.

During prohibition in the United States, a number of Newfoundland vessels, captains and crews were involved in the rum running trade, and Newfoundland was an imprtant base used by well-know smugglers including Al Capone, Savannah Unknown and Bill McCoy.


Contranding is also known as "Rum Running" or "Bootlegging"

33 comments:

  1. There could be a few stashes hidden here and there still. Let's go treasure hunting.

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    1. there may be some still hidden, but if they are - someone already owns them :)

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  2. Newfoundland and Cape Cod have sooooooo much in common! There was a nightclub in Hyannis for years back in the 80s called Rumrunners. Smuggling happened here too.

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    1. one of these days I'm going to Cape Cod!

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  3. I'd never heard of the salt idea before but it's pretty genius, then like you say they can go back and retrieve the goods again if disaster was to strike, interesting stuff for sure.

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    1. its better than getting caught with it in the boat :)

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  4. Quite an amazing story, you know so many details!

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    1. back in the day, it was a popular 'sport' in my community

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  5. This is great! Contraband has been such a defining activity for so many countries throughout the ages. The Caribbean, where I live, is on the forefront--on both sides of the coin, so to speak. I like the salt sack trick :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. the Caribbean def. played a part :)

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  6. We have a lot of problems here on the US/Mexico border. Your post is a hot button where I live. Interesting about the salt. When crossing land, they often make underground tunnels, especially in the desert.

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    1. I'd say there are a few problems on the US/Mexico border for sure! :)

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  7. The salt bag trick is a great story to keep handy for one's repetoire. Thanks.

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  8. Mmmmm...rum. Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog and I enjoyed it. Please visit us at http://citymusecountrymuse2012.blogspot.com/ and, if you like what you see, sign up to become a member.

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    1. thanks for the visit. I'm on my way over now

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  9. Salt? My word...
    I like your attention to detail...

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    1. I would like to know the very first person who tried it :)

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  10. Salt makes sense.

    I lived in a town in Arkansas that was dry and if you were caught carrying more than a case through the county, you were charged with contraband.

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  11. I had no idea Newfoundland was involved in Prohibition.

    Returning visit from A to Z.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist

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  12. Wow. That's fascinating!
    We do love our pirates no what what we call them!
    HMG

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  13. I watched a documentary about smuggling and was surprized about the salt but perfectly makes sense. Have to love Newfoundland-holds many surprizes

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    1. I would have liked to see that documentary :)

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  14. Shows you how much people love their rum!!!!

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  15. Bootlegging rum... I'm used to hearing of bootlegged music, but not rum. hehe. I certainly learned some new stuff here today!

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  16. Well what do you know about that. I had no clue about Newfoundlands connection with prohibition.

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