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Canadasecond largest country in the world in area after Russiaoccupying roughly the northern two-fifths of the continent of North America. In addition, Canada harbours and exports a wealth of natural resources and intellectual capital equaled by few other countries. The word Canada is derived from the Huron - Iroquois kanatameaning a village or settlement. In the 16th century, French explorer Jacques Cartier used the name Canada to refer to the area around the settlement that is now Quebec city. Later, Canada was used as a synonym for New Francewhich, from toincluded all the French possessions along the St.
Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.
The name Canada was fully restored afterwhen Britain divided old Quebec into the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada renamed in Canada West and Canada Eastrespectively, and collectively called Canada. The act also divided the old colony of Canada into the separate provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Dominion status allowed Canada a large measure of self-rule, but matters pertaining to international diplomacy and military alliances were reserved to the British crown.
Canada became entirely self-governing within the British Empire inthough full legislative independence was not achieved untilwhen Canada obtained the right to amend its own constitution. Canada shares a 5,mile- 8,km- long border with the United States including Alaska —the longest border in the world not patrolled by military forces—and the overwhelming majority of its population lives within miles km of the international boundary.
Although Canada shares many similarities with its southern neighbour—and, indeed, its popular culture and that of the United States are in many regards indistinguishable—the differences between the two countries, both temperamental and material, are profound.
More than that, Canadians live in a society that in most legal and official matters resembles Britain—at least in the English-speaking portion of the country. Quebec, in particular, exhibits French adaptations: more than three-fourths of its population speaks French as their primary language.
The French character in Quebec is also reflected in differences in religion, architecture, and schooling. Elsewhere in Canada, French influence is less apparent, confined largely to the dual use of French and English for place names, product labels, and road s. The latter prefer the term Inuit, which is commonly used in Canada, to the term Eskimo. In addition, the growing of immigrants from other European countries, Southeast Asiaand Latin America has made Canada even more broadly multicultural.
Canada has been an influential member of the Commonwealth and has played a leading role in the organization of French-speaking countries known as La Francophonie. It was a founding member of the United Nations and has been active in a of major UN agencies and other worldwide operations.
In Canada ed the Organization of American States and ed a free trade agreement with the United States, a pact that was superseded in by the North American Free Trade Agreement which also includes Mexico. Fast Facts. Videos Images Audio. Additional Info.
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External Websites. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. By Roger D. Audio File: Anthem of Canada see article. See all media. Capital: Ottawa Show more Population: est. Show more. Full Article. Britannica Quiz. This quiz will show you two countries. The statistics come from this list, so study it for an unfair advantage!
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