|Motto: A Mari Usque Ad Mare(Latin)
"From Sea to Sea"
|Anthem: "O Canada"
Royal anthem: "God Save the Queen"
|Official language(s)||English and French|
|Recognised regional languages||Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, Cree, Dëne Sųłiné, Gwich’in, Inuvialuktun, Slavey and Tłįchǫ Yatiì|
|Government||Federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy|
|-||Governor General||David Lloyd Johnston|
|-||Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|-||Lower House||House of Commons|
|-||British North America Acts||July 1, 1867|
|-||Statute of Westminster||December 11, 1931|
|-||Canada Act||April 17, 1982|
|-||Total||9,984,670 km2 (2nd)
3,854,085 sq mi
|-||Water (%)||8.92 (891,163 km2/344,080 mi2)|
|-||2011 estimate|| (36th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2010 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate|
|Gini (2005)||32.1 (medium)|
|HDI (2010)||0.888 (very high) (8th)|
|Currency||Canadian Dollar ($) (
|Time zone||(UTC−3.5 to −8)|
|-||Summer (DST)||(UTC−2.5 to −7)|
|Date formats||dd-mm-yyyy, mm-dd-yyyy, and yyyy-mm-dd (CE)|
|Drives on the||Right|
Canada () is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It is the world's second largest country by total area. Canada's common border with the United States to the south and northwest is the longest in the world.
The land that is now Canada was inhabited for millennia by various groups of Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French expeditions explored, and later settled, along the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament.
Canada is a federation that is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. It is a bilingual nation with both English and French as official languages at the federal level. One of the world's highly developed countries, Canada has a diversified economy that is reliant upon its abundant natural resources and upon trade—particularly with the United States, with which Canada has had a long and complex relationship. It is a member of the G8, G-20, NATO, OECD, WTO, Commonwealth, Francophonie, OAS, APEC, and UN.
The name Canada comes from a St. Lawrence Iroquoian word, kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement". In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier towards the village of Stadacona. Cartier later used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village, but also the entire area subject to Donnacona (the chief at Stadacona); by 1545, European books and maps had begun referring to this region as Canada.
In the 17th and early 18th century, Canada referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River and the northern shores of the Great Lakes. The area was later split into two British colonies, Upper Canada and Lower Canada. They were re-unified as the Province of Canada in 1841. Upon Confederation in 1867, the name Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country, and Dominion (a term from Psalm 72:8) was conferred as the country's title. Combined, the term Dominion of Canada was in common usage until the 1950s. As Canada asserted its political autonomy from the United Kingdom, the federal government increasingly used simply Canada on state documents and treaties, a change that was reflected in the renaming of the national holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day in 1982.
Archaeological and Indigenous genetic studies support a human presence in the northern Yukon from 26,500 years ago, and in southern Ontario from 9,500 years ago. Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the earliest archaeological sites of human (Paleo-Indians) habitation in Canada. Among the First Nations peoples, there are eight unique stories of creation and their adaptations. The characteristics of Canadian Aboriginal societies included permanent settlements, agriculture, civic and ceremonial architecture, complex societal hierarchies and trading networks. Some of these cultures had long faded by the time of the first permanent European arrivals (c. late 15th–early 16th centuries), and have been discovered through archaeological investigations.
The aboriginal population is estimated to have been between 200,000 and two million in the late 15th century, with a figure of 500,000 currently accepted by Canada's Royal Commission on Aboriginal Health. Repeated outbreaks of European infectious diseases such as influenza, measles and smallpox (to which they had no natural immunity), combined with other effects of European contact, resulted in a forty to eighty percent aboriginal population decrease post-contact. Aboriginal peoples in Canada include the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. The Métis a culture of mixed blood originated in the mid-17th century when First Nation and Inuit married European settlers. The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during the colonization period.