The most Easterly of the three Prairie Provinces of Canada, Manitoba is bordered by Saskatchewan to the West, Ontario to the East, Nunavut to the North, and the United States to the South.
The capital of Manitoba is Winnipeg in the Southern part of the province, is the most populous area of the province. The rest of the population is spread out around the Southern half of the province. There are only a few settlements in the Northern half, most notably Flin Flon in the West bordering Saskatchewan, and Churchill in the Northwest along the Hudson Bay.
Manitoba was traditionally home to the Assiniboine and Cree people. During the settlement of Canada, a large number of French settlers came to the region around Winnipeg. Over time and integration, this combining of French and Native people created the Métis, now the dominant native population of the province.
The flag of Manitoba is based on the Red Ensign (the original flag of Canada), with Manitoba's provincial shield on the right side.
The name Manitoba probably comes from the Cree word "Man-into-wahpaow", meaning "the narrows of the Great Spirit". It probably refers to Lake Manitoba, which has a half-mile wide strait at its centre. When it's windy, the waves go over the loose surface rocks on the lake's Northern shore, making bell-like wailing noises. The First Nations believed this sound was the spirit Manitou beating a huge drum.