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CIA World Factbook

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Flag of Canada - CIA World Factbook

Canada

Population: 34,000,000

Area (sq km): 9,984,670

Capital City: Ottawa

National Holiday: 1867-07-01

Canada is a North American country, the second largest country in the world, occupying most of the Northern half of the continent. It is bordered on the South by the United States, the West by the Pacific Ocean, the Northwest by the United States, the North by the Arctic Ocean, and the East by the Atlantic Ocean.

The capital of Canada is Ottawa, located around the Eastern South-central part of the country. The majority of Canadians live in this area. The rest of the country's population is spread out across the country, mostly within 200km of the Southern border with the United States. The further North, the less populated the country becomes, with the Northern half of the country being sparsely populated.

Canada's economy is based mainly on forestry, farming (mostly cereals, dairy, and beef), fishing, manufacturing, oil and natural gas, radioactive material refining, and mining.

Canada was home to a large number of native populations in all regions of the country, even the Arctic regions. Starting around the year 1000, when the Vikings first discovered the country, European settlers have unfortunately severely reduced the populations and rights of the native peoples, some even going extinct (like the Beothuk).

Canada started out as a French colony in the East, and over time the West was owned by the Hudson Bay Company, a fur trading company (specializing in beaver pelts, which were popular in Europe). The country of Canada was founded on July 1 1867, its national holiday, consisting of four of its current 13 provinces and territories. The other provinces joined by choice, and the territories were purchased by the Canadian government from the Hudson Bay Company. The last province (Newfoundland and Labrador) joined Canada in 1949, and the last territory (Nunavut) was created in 1999.

Since 1867, the Canadian flag was called the Red Ensign, which was a red flag with the Union Jack in the top-left, and a Canadian coat of arms on the right. In the 1960s, a country-wide contest was held to design a new flag, and the existing flag (two vertical red stripes on either end of a large white middle section, with a red maple leaf bearing 11 points in the middle) was picked from the entries in 1965. Red and white are the national colours of Canada, and the maple leaf is a Canadian symbol, the eleven points representing the ten provinces, and the territories (which share one point).

The name "Canada" derives from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word "kanata". European settlers asked what the land was called, and the natives replied with kanata, meaning "the village", as they thought the Europeans were referring to the village. The settlers thought the word meant the name of the land, or country.

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