River, c.600 mi (970 km) long, issuing as the Ashuanipi River from Ashuanipi Lake, SW Labrador, N.L., Canada, and flowing in an arc north, then southeast through a series of lakes to Churchill Falls and McLean Canyon. It then runs NE past Goose Bay and through Melville Lake and Hamilton Inlet to the Atlantic Ocean near Rigolet. The river has probably the greatest hydroelectric power potential of any river in North America, and Churchill Falls is the site of one of the world's largest hydroelectric power plants. Formerly known as the Hamilton River, it was renamed (1965) in honor of Sir Winston Churchill.
2 River, c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) long, issuing from Methy Lake, NW Sask., Canada, and flowing southeast, east, and northeast across the lowlands of N Saskatchewan and N Manitoba to Hudson Bay at Churchill. It meets the Beaver River, its chief tributary, at Lac Île-à-la-Crosse. Once a fur-trade route, it was explored (1619) by Jens Munck, a Scandinavian sent by Christian IV, king of Denmark and Norway, to search for the Northwest Passage. In 1717 the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post at the river's mouth. Exploration of the upper reaches of the river was carried on by the Frobishers, Peter Pond, and Alexander Henry, all of the North West Company. A hydroelectric station on the upper river supplies power for Manitoba mining operations.
See S. F. Olson, The Lonely Land (1961).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Canadian Political Geography