Canada occupies the whole territory of northern part of North America except Alaska. Its area is almost 10 million km2, which makes it the second largest country in the world after Russia. It borders on the USA in the south and on the Arctic Ocean in the north. Canada is divided into then provinces – Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec (the largest province), Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and two territories – Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory. Canada’s capital is Ottawa, but the largest city is Montreal. Montreal got its name according to words “mont Royal”, which means Royal mountain. It’s the second largest French speaking city in the world (after Paris) and it has about 3 millions inhabitants.
Canada was discovered twice, first by the Vikings more than a thousand years ago then by Europeans in the 15th century. The first Europeans came from France in the year 1605 and two years later from England. The enmity between French and English inhabitants culminated in the end of the seventeen century. They damaged their settlements and the trade roads. The situation was solved in the war from 1756 to 1763. The British army occupied Quebec and France had to give up its colonies in Canada. In spite of the British victory, the French language and culture were developed and in the year 1774 they published the law, which acknowledged the civil rights for the French. Throughout the nineteen century the territory was extended and also the population was doubled.
Now the population of Canada is more then 26 million people, but the density is one of the lowest. Major part of Canadians is concentrated near the border with USA in the large urban centres. 45% of the Canadians are of British origin, 29% of French origin (who are mainly concentrated in the provinces New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec which is almost all francophone) and 23% have their origins in the other European countries. There also live the original inhabitants – Indians and Eskimos. They probably gave the country its name, because Indians used the word “kanata” which means village. They don’t represent more than 1,3% from the whole population.
The majority of the population is Christian, but they are divided into Protestants 3O% and Roman Catholics 45%.
Canada is famous for its diverse and beautiful scenery particularly near the Great Lakes in the south - east (like Ontario, Lake Superior, Huron). Visitors are eager to see famous Niagara Falls. They are located between the Lake Ontario and the Lake Erie. The longest rivers are St. Lawrence, which flows through the lakes and empties into the Atlantic Ocean or Mackenzie flowing into the Arctic Ocean.
Canada has also high mountain ranges, such as the Rocky Mountains and the Mackenzie Mountains, which occupies the west seashore. The highest mountain is Mt. Logan (5961 m).
Thousand of tourists visit Canada’s national parks (Jasper National Park) to admire the scenery or to enjoy walking, climbing or skiing there. They also desired to see some wild animals like bears, elks and reindeers or wolfs, who live in the forests
The climate is mostly continental. The average summer temperature in the south of Canada exceeds 24 C, but in the winner the snow covers almost the whole country. The north is arctic: winter temperatures fall to minus 50 C.
Canada became a British dominion in 1867. Now it’s and independent federal state and a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, but the head of the state is still the British monarch, for the moment Queen Elizabeth II. The governor – general represents her in Canada and he is elected for five years. The leading figure the political life of the country is the Prime Minister.
Canada is the member of OSN, NATO and other organisations.
Canada’s economy is traditionally based on natural resources and agriculture. There are many industry centres – for example: Hamilton, Montreal or Toronto. They exploit coal, oil and gas, zinc, silver or uranium and also gold. Gold was discovered in 1896 and the great gold rush in history started.
Forests cover almost half of Canada. Canadians use them for getting wood and then they make furniture or other wood products. One of the most important economic branches is the fishing. Canada is the world’s second largest exporter of wheat, which is mainly grown on the prairies. You can plant there corn or vegetables too.
Two of the sports have got also their origin in Canada – the rodeo and the ice-hockey, which became popular all over the world (mainly in Europe and America).
7. září 2007