Alberta is the most westerly of Canada’s three Prairie provinces, sharing borders with British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east. Paleoamericans first settled in the area at least 10,000 years ago, differentiating over time to become First Nations groups. The Hudson’s Bay Company controlled the area from 1670 to 1870, when the territory was acquired by the newly formed Canadian government. In 1905, Alberta joined Canadian Confederation as the country’s ninth province.
Western Canada experienced major growth during the 20th century. Settlers travelled from other provinces and from Europe to farm the land of the Prairies and to populate its cities. Alberta welcomed settlers of many different backgrounds, and became the third most diverse province in the country. The population boom helped spur the economy, but the Great Depression and Dust Bowl slowed its progress… at least, until the discovery of oil in 1947.
Did you know?
- About 100 million years ago, not only was Alberta part of the Western Interior Seaway, it was also home to dinosaurs! Specimens from at least 38 different types of dinosaurs have been discovered in the province.
- A long-time rivalry has existed between Alberta’s two major cities, Edmonton (the capital) and Calgary (the larger of the two). There have been many areas of contention, but by far the most important these days is… you guessed it—sports!