Canada is a country located in northern North America. Bordering the United States to the south, it is the second largest country in the world and has a population of 33 million. Its capital is Ottawa, and its largest city is Toronto.
Before European colonization, Canada was inhabited by the First Nations. They arrived there during the last Ice Age over the Bering land bridge. Although Canada was explored in the 1500s, European colonization began in earnest in the 17th century. The French colonized the region of modern-day Quebec, and the English and later the British established settlements in southern Ontario and along the Hudson Bay. After the Seven Years' War, Quebec was transferred to Great Britain, although it remained primarily French in culture and language. Canada participated in the War of 1812 against the fledgling United States, although, contrary to popular belief, it was British regulars and not Canadian soldiers who burned Washington in 1814.
The 19th century saw the incorporation of large tracts of frontier into Canada. The Hudson Bay Company, founded in the 17th century, made a fortune off of beaver pelts. The Yukon gold rush of the 1890s brought civilization to the wild northwest. Canada sent troops to both World War I and World War II. Canadian troops participated in D-Day and the liberation of Europe. Canada entered into the NAFTA trade treaty with the United States and Mexico in the 1990s, integrating the three nation's economies more closely.
As the second largest nation on Earth, Canada has varied terrain. The Rocky Mountains cut off the east coast from the rest of the nation. The Great Lakes form part of the Canada-U.S. border, and are a major center of commerce and population. Most of the northern parts of the country are either tundra or coniferous forest, and invariably sparsely populated. The Canadian Archipelago in the far north is mountainous, frigid, and rarely visited.
Canada has a population of approximately 33 million, which is roughly a tenth that of its southern neighbor, the United States. In recent years there has been an increase in immigration from East Asia, making the most common surname in Canada the Chinese "Li".
The largest metropolitan areas in Canada are: