Alberta is one of Canada's provinces. Alberta celebrates 100 years as a province in 2005 had a royal visit from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in May 2005.
Alberta's capital is the city of Edmonton. Its most populous city and metropolitan area, Calgary, is Alberta's economic hub and is located in the southern region of the province. Other major cities and towns include Banff, Camrose, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat, and Red Deer. See also: List of communities in Alberta.
The present province of Alberta as far north as about 53° north latitude was a part of Rupert's Land from the time of the incorporation of the Hudson's Bay Company (1670). After the arrival in the North-West of the French around 1731 they settled the prairies of the west, establishing communities such as Lac La Biche and Bonnyville. Fort La Jonquière was established near what is now Calgary in (1752). The North-West Company of Montreal occupied the northern part of Alberta territory before the Hudson's Bay Company arrived from Hudson Bay to take possession of it. The first explorer of the Athabasca region was Peter Pond, who, on behalf of the North-West Company of Montreal, built Fort Athabasca on Lac La Biche in 1778. Roderick Mackenzie built Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca ten years later in 1788. His cousin, Sir Alexander Mackenzie followed the North Saskatchewan River to its northernmost point near Edmonton, then setting northward on foot, trekked to the Athabasca River, which he followed to Lake Athabasca. It was there he discovered the mighty outflow river which bears his name -- the Mackenzie River -- which he followed to its outlet in the Arctic Ocean. Returning to Lake Athabasca, he followed the Peace River upstream, eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean, and so being the first white man to cross the North American continent north of Mexico.
The district of Alberta was created as part of the North-West Territories in 1882. As settlement increased, local representatives to the North-West Legislative Assembly were added. After a long campaign for autonomy, in 1905 the district of Alberta was enlarged and given provincial status.
The Premier of the province is Ralph Klein. See also List of Alberta Premiers.
Alberta is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848-1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Louise was also the wife of Sir John Campbell, who was the Governor General of Canada from 1878-1883. Lake Louise was also named in honour of Princess Louise.