Canada is a nation located in North America. Its 10 provinces and three territories stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, totaling 9.98 million square kilometers (3.85 million square miles), making it the world’s second-largest country in terms of total area. Its southern and western border with the United States is the world’s longest bi-national land border, reaching 8,891 kilometers (5,525 miles). The capital of Canada is Ottawa, while the three major metropolitan regions are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Indigenous peoples have lived in what is now Canada for thousands of years. British and French expeditions began exploring and settling along the Atlantic coast in the 16th century. In 1763, France relinquished practically all of its North American possessions as a result of several violent battles. Canada was created as a federal dominion of four provinces in 1867, after the amalgamation of three British North American colonies through Confederation. This triggered the accretion of provinces and territories, as well as a trend of growing independence from the United Kingdom. The Statute of Westminster 1931 emphasized this growing autonomy, which culminated in the Canada Act 1982.
Canada is a Westminster-style parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The country’s head of government is the prime minister, who is chosen by the elected House of Commons and is appointed by the governor general, who represents the monarch, who acts as head of state. The country is a Commonwealth realm, and the federal government is officially multilingual. In worldwide comparisons of government openness, civil freedoms, quality of life, economic freedom, and education, it rates among the highest.
Canada is a developed country with the seventeenth-highest nominal per-capita income in the world and the sixteenth-highest position in the Human Development Index. Its advanced economy is the world’s tenth-largest, owing mostly to its enormous natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is a member of several major international and intergovernmental organizations or groups, including the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Commonwealth of Nations, the Arctic Council, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).