Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, occupying most of northern North America. Extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, Canada shares land borders with the United States to the south and to the northwest.
Inhabited first by Aboriginal peoples, Canada was founded as a union of British and former French colonies. Canada gained independence from the United Kingdom in an incremental process that began in 1867 and ended in 1982.
Canada is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. It is divided into ten provinces and three territories. A bilingual and multicultural nation, Canada uses both English and French as official languages. A technologically advanced and industrialized nation, Canada maintains a diversified economy heavily reliant on trade--particularly with the United States, with which Canada has had a long and complex relationship--and abundant natural resources.