Canada is a country in North America consisting of 10 provinces and 3 territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean. At 9.98 million square kilometres in total, Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, and its common border with the United States is the world's longest land border shared by the same two countries.
The land that is now Canada has been inhabited for millennia by various Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French colonial expeditions explored, and later settled, the region's Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America to the United Kingdom in 1763 after the French and Indian War: the Seven Years' War's theatre of war in North America. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, the territory was explored and additional self-governing Crown colonies were established. On July 1, 1867, three coloniesfederated, forming a federal dominion that established Canada under the British North America Act of 1867.
Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The country is officially bilingual at the federal level. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries, with a population of approximately 35 million as of December 2012. Its advanced economy is one of the largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed trade networks. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture.
Canada is a developed country and one of the wealthiest in the world, with the eighth highest per capita income globally, and the eleventh highestranking in the Human Development Index. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of education, government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, and economic freedom. Canada is a recognized middle power and a member of G7, G8, G20, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, NATO, North American Free Trade Agreement, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Commonwealth of Nations, Francophonie, Organization of American States, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the United Nations.