The original of the three territories of Canada, the Northwest Territories are bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the North, Nunavut to the East, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia to the South, and the Yukon to the West.
The capital of the Northwest Territories, the city of Yellowknife, is home to the majority of the population. The rest of the population is scattered across the territory, with more well-known populated towns being Hay River, Fort Smith, Inuvik, and Tuktoyaktuk.
The economy today is mainly driven by mining, especially diamonds, and to a lesser extent gold. The Northwest Territories are also home to the two largest lakes entirely within Canada: Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake.
Many different First Nations call the area known as the Northwest Territories home, most of them speaking some form of Athapaskan, believed to have evolved from Asiatic languages.
The flag for the Northwest Territories was chosen in a national competition in 1969. The blue bars on either end of the flag represent the lakes and waters of the territory. The white in the middle represents the snow and ice of the North. The territorial shield is in the middle of the flag. The white section represents the polar ice pack, and the blue wavy line represents the Northwest Passage (the path ships take through the Arctic Ocean). The red part of the shield represents the the tundra, with the white fox head symbolising the fur trade. The green part of the shield represents the forests South of the treeline, with the gold rectangles representing the minerals that helped give the Northwest Territories its wealth.
The Northwest Territories was originally called the North-Western Territory, named after the geographic location of the land. It was renamed in 1870, when the Hudson's Bay Company sold the land to the Government of Canada.