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In 1771 King George III of England gave a land grant to the Moravian Church to establish missions for the local Inuit in northern Labrador. In the 18th century, Jens Haven and his followers built missions at Nain (1771), Okak (1776) and Hopedale (1782). These missions also served as trading posts. Later on, other Moravian settlements were established at Hebron (1830), Zoar (1865), Ramah (1871), Makkovik (1896) and Killinek (1904).
Money and personnel to run the infrastructure was provided by the Unity Mission Board in Saxony and the Niesky Mission Training School. However, this assistance was hampered by the effects of World War I and the devastation of the German economy. In 1918, an outbreak of Spanish influenza struck Okak, killing 161 out of a population of 220.
Shortly thereafter, the Moravians sold their trading post at Okak to the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1956 the settlement was abandoned when the remaining inhabitants were compelled by the Canadian government to relocate to other communities in Labrador. Today, all that remains of Okak are a graveyard and ruins of the former mission.
Okak was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1978, due to the former Moravian mission and the existence of sixty archaeological sites in the area, dating from 5550 BCE and representing of habitation from Maritime Archaic to Labrador Inuit.
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