Canada is a country occupying most of the northern portion of North America, and is the world's second largest country in total area.
Originally inhabited exclusively by aboriginal peoples, Canada was founded as a union of British colonies, some of which had earlier been French colonies. Now a federal dominion of ten provinces with three territories, Canada peacefully obtained sovereignty from its last colonial possessor, Britain, in a process beginning in 1867 with its formation, and ending in 1982, when Canada gained the authority to amend its own constitution.
Canada is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. Canada's head of state is its monarch, who is represented in Canada by the Governor General. The head of government is the Prime Minister.
Canada defines itself as a bilingual and multicultural nation. Both English and French are official languages. In the early 1970s, Canada began to adopt policies based on the concepts of cultural diversity and multiculturalism. Many Canadians now view this as one of the country's key attributes, but there are critics of the multiculturalism policy as well.
A technologically advanced and industrialized nation, Canada is a net exporter of energy because of its large fossil fuel deposits, nuclear energy generation, and hydroelectric power capacity. Its diversified economy relies heavily on an abundance of natural resources and trade, particularly with the United States, with which Canada has had a long and complex relationship.