Yukon, located in the northwestern corner of Canada, is one of the country’s three territories. Alaska is to the west, British Columbia to the south, and the Northwest Territories are to the east.
Early humans are thought to have arrived in Yukon at least 20,000 years ago. They eventually developed into Inuit and First Nations groups of the Na-Dene linguistic family.
Since Yukon is one of the most remote areas of Canada, Europeans in the fur trade did not arrive in the region until the early 19th century. Rumours of gold brought in miners and prospectors starting in 1874. Then, from 1896 to 1899, the discovery of gold in the Klondike region triggered a rush of migrants. To deal with the large increase in population, the Yukon Territory, formerly part of the Northwest Territories, became a separate entity within the Canadian confederation in 1898.
Yukon’s population declined dramatically in the 20th century, but the construction of highways and a brief revival of mining triggered steady population growth in the 1970s. The economy has diversified to compensate for decreasing profits from mining.
Did you know?
- The name “Yukon” is derived from the Gwich’in word “Yu-kun-ah,” which means “Great River” and refers to the Yukon River.
- Yukon is home to the highest mountain in Canada and the second-highest on the North American continent: Mount Logan, 5,959 metres (19,551 feet).
- Yukon has the smallest desert in the world, located near Carcross. This desert is approximately 2.58 square kilometres (1 square mile).