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Province, western Canada, westernmost of the three Prairie Provinces. Area: 255,541 sq mi (661,848 sq km). Pop. (2009 est.): 3,632,483. Capital: Edmonton. Alberta is bordered by Saskatchewan, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and the U.S. Long inhabited by various Indian (First Nation) peoples, the area was explored by Europeans in the 1750s. It eventually came under the rule of the Hudson's Bay Co., which transferred it to the Dominion of Canada in 1870. It was made part of the North-West Territories in 1882. Its population grew with the coming of the railroads and the expansion of wheat farming. Alberta was made a province in 1905. Once dependent on agriculture, it underwent significant economic growth in the 20th century with the discovery of major oil and gas deposits.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Alberta, visit Britannica.com.