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Saskatchewan, 1 of the 3 prairie provinces of Canada. The principal wheat-growing province, it produces about one-third of the nation's wheat. It is also a rich source of minerals such as potash and petroleum. Most of Saskatchewan's resources are processed within the province.

Land and climate

Saskatchewan can be divided into 2 major portions: the Canadian Shield, which covers the northern third of the province; and the plains and lowlands, which make up the southern two-thirds. The Canadian Shield is a rough, rocky, mineral-rich terrain that contains many lakes, swamps, and small streams. The plains and lowlands are mostly flat or gently rolling, with black, fertile soil. Most of the province's 20,000 lakes are found north of Prince Albert. The largest is Lake Athabasca, about two-thirds of which lie in the northwest corner of Saskatchewan, the rest in the province of Alberta. The principal river is the Saskatchewan. Divided into the South Saskatchewan and the North Saskachewan, the 2 branches join just east of Prince Albert and flow eastward into the province of Manitoba. Much of the province, especially the northern half, is covered by forests. Numerous commercial forests include valuable supplies of spruce, poplar, and pine. Saskatchewan's inland location gives it a continental climate. Winters are cold, with average January readings of 10°F (−12°C) in the southwest and −23°F (−31°C) in the northeast. Average July temperatures range from 57°–67°F (14°–19°C). Precipitation is light; most of it falls during the growing season, which in the south lasts about 100 days.


The population of Saskatchewan is concentrated in the southern half of the province, which has become markedly urban. Today over 75% of the people live in communities of more than 1,000 inhabitants. Over 25% live in the 2 largest cities, Saskatoon and Regina, the capital. Saskatchewan is the only province in which the people have a variety of ethnic inheritances, rather than a majority of French or British.


The economy of the province is heavily dependent on farming. Wheat is the main crop; barley, rye, and flax also are grown. Since the discovery of oil and the development of service-supply industries, agriculture has declined in relative importance. Service industries now account for 50% of the total gross domestic product. Food processing and distribution as well as the manufacture of farm machinery are increasing in importance. The province also produces a significant proportion of Canada's crude oil. Oil refining and steel manufacturing can be found in Regina and other northern cities. Lignite coal, mined since the 1880s, has been strip-mined since 1956.


It is believed that the first people to inhabit the land of Saskatchewan were the Paleo-Indians, who came from Asia 20,000–30,000 years ago. European-American traders from the Hudson's Bay Company first arrived in 1690. The region was explored some 40 years later by Sieur de la Verendrye. After the purchase of the Northwest Territories by the new Dominion of Canada in 1870, farming settlements spread; they grew rapidly after Saskatchewan joined the Confederation and became a province in 1905. The Great Depression and World War II brought hardship and discontent that led to the formation of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (1944–64). In the 1970s and 1980s, petroleum and petroleum-based industries brought new wealth and prosperity to the province.

See also: Canada.

Additional topics

21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Sade, Marquis de to Satire