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Published by klmk

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Published by: klmk on May 12, 2008
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is a countryoccupying most of northern North America, extending from theAtlantic Oceanin the east to thePacific Ocean in the west and northward into theArctic Ocean. It is the world's second largest countryby total area,
and sharesland borderswith theUnited States to the south and northwest.The land occupied by Canada was inhabited for millennia by various aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 15th century,BritishandFrench expeditions explored and later settled the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after theSeven Years War .In 1867, with the union of three British North Americancolonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as afederal dominionof four provinces.
This began anaccretion of additional provinces and territoriesand a process of increasing autonomy from theUnited Kingdom, highlighted by theStatute of Westminster in 1931and culminating in the Canada Act in 1982which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament.Afederationnow comprisingten provinces and three territories, Canada is a parliamentary democracyand aconstitutional monarchy, withQueen Elizabeth IIas its head of state. It is a  bilingualandmulticulturalcountry, with both English and Frenchas official languages at the federal level.Technologically advanced and industrialized, Canada maintains a diversifiedeconomy that is heavily reliant upon its abundant natural resources and upon trade—particularlywith the United States, with which Canada has along and complex relationship.
most likely comes from a St. Lawrence Iroquoianword
, meaning"village" or "settlement". In 1535, inhabitants of the present-dayQuebec City region used the word to direct explorer Jacques Cartier toward the village of  Stadacona.
Cartier used the word'Canada' to refer to not only that village, but the entire area subject to Donnacona,Chief at Stadacona. By 1545, European books and maps began referring to this region as Canada.
The French colony of Canadareferred to the part of  New Francealong theSaint Lawrence River   and the northern shores of theGreat Lakes.Later, it was split into two British colonies, called Upper CanadaandLower Canadauntil their union as the BritishProvince of Canadain 1841. UponConfederation in 1867, the name
was adopted for the entire country, and
was conferred as the country'stitle.
It was frequently referred to as the
 Dominion of 
until the 1950s. As Canada asserted its political autonomy from Britain, the federal government increasingly used
on legal state documents and treaties. TheCanada Act1982refers only to "Canada" and, as such, it is currently the only legal (and bilingual) name.This was reflected in 1982 with the renaming of the national holiday fromDominion DaytoCanada Day.
Thefur tradewas Canada's most important industry until the 1800sVarious groups of Inuitand First Peoplesinhabited  North Americaprehistorically. While no written documents exist, various forms of rock art, petroforms,  petroglyphs,and ancient artifacts  provide thousands of years of information about the past. Archaeological studies support ahuman presence in northern Yukonfrom 26,500 years ago, and in southernOntariofrom 9,500 years ago.
 Europeans first arrivedwhen theVikingssettled briefly at L'Anse aux Meadows  circa AD 1000. The next Europeans to explore Canada's Atlantic coast includedJohn Cabotin1497 for England
 andJacques Cartier in 1534 for France;
seasonalBasquewhalers andfishermen would subsequently exploit the region between theGrand BanksandTadoussacfor  over a century.
French explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 and established the first permanent European settlements at Port Royal in 1605 andQuebec City in 1608. These would become respectively the capitals of Acadia and Canada. AmongFrench colonists of  New France,
extensively settled theSt. Lawrence River valley, Acadianssettled the present-day Maritimes,whileFrench fur tradersandCatholic missionariesexplored the Great Lakes,Hudson Bayand the Mississippi watershedtoLouisiana.TheFrench and Iroquois Warsbroke out over  control of thefur trade.
on the Plains of Abrahamat Quebecin 1759, part of theSeven Years' War .TheEnglish established fishing outposts in Newfoundlandaround 1610 andcolonizedthe Thirteen Colonies to the south. A series of four Intercolonial Warserupted between 1689 and 1763. Mainland Nova Scotiacame under British rule with theTreaty of Utrecht(1713); the
Treaty of Paris (1763)ceded Canada and most of   New FrancetoBritainfollowing theSeven Years' War .TheRoyal Proclamation (1763) carved theProvince of Quebec out of   New Franceand annexed Cape Breton Islandto Nova Scotia. It also restricted the language and religious rights of French Canadians. In 1769, St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island
) became a separate colony. Toavert conflict in Quebec, theQuebec Actof 1774 expanded Quebec's territory to theGreat Lakes  and Ohio Valley, and re-established the French language, Catholic faith, and French civil law in Quebec; it angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies, helping to fuel theAmericanRevolution.
The Treaty of Paris (1783) recognized American independence and ceded territories south of theGreat Lakesto the United States. Approximately 50,000United Empire Loyalistsfled theUnited Statesto Canada.
  New Brunswick was split from Nova Scotiaas part of a reorganization of Loyalist settlements in theMaritimes. To accommodate English-speakingLoyalists in Quebec, theConstitutional Act of 1791 divided the province into French-speaking Lower Canada and English-speakingUpper Canada, granting each their own elected Legislative Assembly.Canada was a major front in theWar of 1812between the United States and British Empire. Itsdefence contributed to a sense of unity among British North Americans. Large-scale immigrationto Canada began in 1815 from Britain and Ireland. Thetimber industrywould also surpass thefur tradein importance in the early 1800s.Fathers of ConfederationbyRobert Harris, an amalgamation of CharlottetownandQuebec conferencescenes.The desire for Responsible Governmentresulted in the abortedRebellions of 1837. The Durham Report (1839)would subsequently recommend responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into British culture.
TheAct of Union (1840)mergedThe Canadasinto a United Province of Canada.French and English Canadians worked together in the Assembly toreinstate French rights.Responsible government was established for all British North American  provinces by 1849.The signing of theOregon Treaty  by Britain and the United States in 1846 ended the Oregon  boundary dispute, extending the border westward along the 49th parallel, and paving the way for  British colonies onVancouver Island (1849) and inBritish Columbia (1858). Canada launched a series of western exploratory expeditions to claimRupert's Landand the Arcticregion. The Canadian population grew rapidly because of high birth rates; British immigration was offset byemigration to the United States, especially by French Canadians moving to  New England.

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