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Alberta

canada province prairie south

Alberta, westernmost of Canada's Prairie Provinces; bordered by Saskatchewan (in the east), the Northwest Territories (in the north), British Columbia (in the west), and the U.S. state of Montana (in the south). Land and Climate. Alberta is a plateau sloping gradually upward and westward to the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide. The south is treeless prairie, the central region is partly wooded, and the north is densely forested. The prairie is drained by the Athabasca, Saskatchewan, and Slave rivers, among others. Temperatures range from an average of 59°F (−15°C) in summer to 5°F (–15°C) in winter. People. About half of Alberta's inhabitants live in the metropolitan areas of Edmonton and Calgary. There are also some 300,000 Native Americans, three-quarters of whom live on reservations. The largest religious denomination is the United Church of Canada.

Economy

Alberta's principal crops are wheat and sugar beets; livestock raising, dairying, logging, fishing, and fur trapping also contribute to the province's wealth. Petroleum, natural gas, and coal have made Alberta one of Canada's richest provinces. The Leduc oil field was discovered in 1947, and the province contains about half of Canada's reserves of coal. Since the 1960s the leading industries have been in mineral exploitation.

History

In 1670 unexplored Alberta was granted to the Hudson's Bay Company. Few European settlers arrived until after 1869, when the Canadian government bought the land. The arrival of the Mounties (1874) and the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1885) encouraged immigration. Alberta became a province in 1905.

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