Canada, officially known as the Canadian Republic (French: République canadienne) is a country located in the northern part of North America. The country's contiguous ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, while its two insular territories consist of the Turks and Caicos Islands, located southeast of the Bahamas and north of the West Indies near the Caribbean Sea, and Greenland, located northeast of the Canadian mainland between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north to hot summers in the southern regions near the US border, with four distinct seasons; the Turks and Caicos, with their tropical climate, are a popular winter destination for Canadians from the mainland escaping the cold.
Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century, the British and French established colonies, the first being the colony of Canada established by France in 1535. As a consequence of various armed conflicts, British North America gained and lost territory until, by the late 18th century, it controlled most of what comprises Canada today. On July 1, 1867, the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia were federated to form the semi-autonomous federal Dominion named Canada. This began an accretion of provinces and territories to the Dominion to the present ten provinces and four territories forming contemporary Canada. In 1931, Canada achieved near-total independence from the United Kingdom with the Statute of Westminster, except for the power to amend its constitution. Canada achieved independence gradually beginning with responsible government in the 1830s and culminating with the patriation of the Constitution in 1982.
Canada is a federal parliamentary republic and a constitutional democracy, with an executive head of government called the prime minister and a mostly ceremonial head of state called the president who is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces. 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 other countries. Its advanced economy is the fourth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international 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 which has the tenth-highest Human Development Index value. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. Canada is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie (French language league), and part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the G7 (formerly G8), the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Canada was also a founding member of the former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and its successor the Atlantic Union, which it formally exited in 2005.