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Northwest Territories

Overall, the second-largest territory in Canada at 1, km 2yet it is also underpopulated with only 40 people.


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ing up enhances your TCE experience with the ability to save items to your personal reading list, and access the interactive map. The Northwest Territories lie northwest of central Canada, bordered to the east by Nunavut, to the west by the Yukon and to the south by the northeastern corner of British Columbia, as well as the entire northern borders of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In Great Britain also transferred to Canada the arctic islands, north of the Northwest Territories, thereby adding to the territories. MacDonald, to construct a British nation in North America and to guard against the potential incursion of American settlers. The Northwest Northwest Territories includes three main geographic regions: the Arctic Archipelago to the north, the arctic mainland and the Mackenzie Valley area.

The arctic mainland, sometimes referred to as the Barren Lands, lies northeast of the treeline, and the Mackenzie Valley area to the west.

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Ice never disappears from the northwestern-most islands and covers all the surrounding seas for much of the year, severely limiting. Severe climate and permafrost result in very poor soil development. Vegetation is tundra, varying from low bush to grass, but even this limited vegetation is lacking in certain areas. The Canadian Shield Northwest Territories up the arctic mainland. Overall it is a gently undulating rocky surface of low elevation, with a bewildering maze of rivers and irregular lakes. As in the Archipelago, true soil is generally absent. Vegetation is the tundra type, usually including considerable shrubs.

In sheltered places, as along inland water courses, stunted trees may extend out from the forested lands on the south and west. Geologically the Mackenzie Valley area ranges from the Canadian Shield on its eastern margin through younger Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary formations in sequence to the west. Much of the Mackenzie Valley area consists of the narrowing northward extent of the level continental Interior Plains. In the west it Northwest Territories abruptly into the mountainous terrain of the rugged Cordillera region with peaks of over 2, m.

The area is integrated by the Mackenzie River and its tributaries, whose total drainage area 1. Only the northernmost part of the area falls within the continuous permafrost zone, unlike the other two regions of the Northwest Territories. The upper Mackenzie Valley lies within the boreal forest transitional zone, where spruce and larch are common. The lower Mackenzie Valley is within the Northern boreal woodland area, which has a great of tree species including white birchNorthwest Territories pinebalsam fir and trembling aspen.

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Extensive areas of poor drainage occur, especially on the plains, as a result of permafrost and continental glaciation. These result in string bogs and muskeg. See also Geography of the Northwest Territories Territories. A northward extension of the fur trade led to the first non-Aboriginal presence in the NWT in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as posts were established down the Mackenzie Valley.

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Missions arrived in the latter part of the 19th century, and the RCMP and other representatives of the federal government in the 20th century. However, there had been Northwest Territories police presence in the Northwest Territories for much longer, including the founding of the North West Mounted Police in to combat the perceived lawlessness of the region.

Mineral and transportation developments in the s marked the beginning of a more ificant non-Aboriginal influx. In the arctic regions, the remoteness made access more difficult, and fur trade posts were not established there until the 20th century. The population of the territory in was 41, compared to Northwest Territories, in Growth has been erratic sincereflecting the administrative transfer from Ottawa to Yellowknife, the ceding of territory for the creation of Nunavut in and the fluctuating interest in mineral resource development. The birth rate remains one of the highest in Canada, however about 1.

The most populous of the small urban centres in the Northwest Territories are located in the Mackenzie Valley area, with Yellowknifethe capital, being the largest Northwest Territories. It began as a gold mining centre and became the territorial capital in While most of the settlements in the NWT are ificantly smaller than Yellowknife, they are important for various reasons.

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Fort Smithfor example, was the major administrative centre prior to Yellowknife becoming the capital, and remains central to the region. Hay River is a Northwest Territories and fishing centre. Fort Simpsononce the centre of the fur trade, is located at the confluence of the Liard and Mackenzie rivers. Inthe sectors employing the most people were public administration, health care and social assistance, and retail.

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At Aboriginal people represent approximately half of the population of the NWT. Before Europeans arrived and began to engage in trade with the Aboriginal population of what is now known as the NWT, the area was populated by small groups of Aboriginal peoples such as Inuit and Dene. These groups — the Inuit often Northwest Territories nomadic and located in far Northwest Territories areas — had lived for generations in the harsh climatic conditions of the region, supporting themselves through hunting and fishing.

These traditional lifestyles were altered with the arrival of European settlers and traders, but Aboriginal peoples never disappeared from the territory.

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In Martin Frobisher was the first of a series Northwest Territories European explorers seeking the Northwest Passagebut, by the early 16th century, the severe ice conditions and the limitations of the ships checked much farther advance. Though the company used the Hudson Bay route, its interests were farther inland on the continent. Later exploration in the Arctic Archipelago focused on a renewed search for a Northwest Passage in the first part of the 19th century, and on attempts to reach the geographic North Pole in the latter part, a journey finally completed by the American R.

Peary in The disappearance of Sir John Franklin 's expedition led to the addition of much map information by Northwest Territories search expeditions and Northwest Territories the traverse of the elusive passage in by Sir Robert McClure though the first traverse by ship was in —04 by Roald Amundsen. Later British and American expeditions proceeding up the eastern coast of Ellesmere Island explored the eastern Queen Elizabeth Islands. The Norwegian explorer Otto Sverdrup discovered most of the remaining islands to the northwest at the turn of the 20th century, with Vilhjalmur Stefansson completing discoveries between and When the NWT was acquired by the Canadian government inthere was already a population ofAboriginal people living there.

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The fur trade posts provided the only nuclei of non-Aboriginal settlement in the Northwest Territories until relatively recently. Missions were established near the posts along the Mackenzie River in the latter part of the 19th century. See also Northwest Territories and Confederation. The Northwest Territories presence was represented in these small settlements after the turn of the century by the RCMP, Royal Canadian Corps of als radio stations and by other agencies. Strategic water transportation sites, such as Fort Smith and Tuktoyaktukprovided other attractions for limited settlement.

Because of its easier accessibility and more varied resources, more incomers trickled into the Mackenzie Valley than the Arctic. In the federal government also ed its last ed treaty, Treaty 11, with the Aboriginal peoples north of Great Slave Lake.

Treaty 11 was spurred by the enthusiasm caused by the discovery of oil at Fort Norman in The government sent a treaty commission to the Lower Mackenzie River valley to open the territory Northwest Territories easier, further resource exploration. As with the other ed treaties, Treaty 11 guaranteed certain rights, such as Aboriginal hunting and trapping rights, yet the Northwest Territories government often ignored these rights and interpreted them as being subject to government regulation. Beginning in the s mineral exploration aided by bush pilots and their improved aircraft, along with more European hunters, resulted in a ificant influx of newcomers, even into the Arctic mainland.

The interwar years saw the rise of disease and the decline of traditional ways of life among the Aboriginal populations as the new mining industry brought settlers to the region. The availability of hunting game was disrupted, coinciding with a decline in federal funding to the NWT during the Great Depression. In recent decades major change and development in the NWT have resulted from international and national political events, widespread social change, large-scale resource demands and the availability of improved technology. As early as the Second World Warthe impact of international hostilities was felt in Mackenzie Valley settlements through the Canol Pipeline and in the southern part of the Eastern Arctic through the North East Staging Route airports.

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Inuit communities began living around military stations for security and access to resources. The conditions were miserable. This process ificantly disrupted kinship bonds and furthered the decline of traditional game hunting. In some cases, the Inuit who were chosen to be relocated were deceived by the government with regard to families being kept intact and where they were going to be resettled.

In recent years, the Inuit in this area Northwest Territories begun to demand recognition of their unique role in the protection of Canadian sovereignty. Inthe federal government assumed increased responsibility for the territory with the creation of the Department of Northern Northwest Territories and National Resources now the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

Major improvements were made in health services, housing, education facilities and communications to bring them more in line with those of southern Canada. More recently much of this responsibility has been delegated to the territorial government. Government services are now more numerous throughout northern settlements and occasionally provide the greatest source of local employment.

As a result, most northern residents now live in permanent settlements for most of the year. The demand for minerals and fuels, along with improvements in mining and transportation technology, has made northern resources economically attractive and resource development provides Northwest Territories.

Primary resource extraction is the foundation Northwest Territories the NWT economy. Furs, the original base, are now of much less importance. Commercial whaling disappeared early in the 20th century. From the s, minerals have become the most important economic base for the NWT, with all other economic activities except the service industry far behind.

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Agriculture is of negligible ificance in the NWT. In the years after the First World War, there were Northwest Territories attempts at agriculture such as mission and hospital gardens as well as teaching Aboriginal children farming techniques believed to be superior to their traditional way of life. These efforts, combined with the desire to provide land for returning soldiers, all encouraged the Canadian government to expand further north. Though brief these efforts did have long-term effects on the northern environment through the clearing of land and introduction of new grasses and plants.

Ultimately, however, small markets, summer drought and limited good soils create serious obstacles to agriculture in the NWT. Improved transportation often makes it cheaper to bring in agricultural products from the south. Today, only a few market Northwest Territories operate in the Hay River valley. Mining is an integral part of the NWT economy.

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Over the years, the focus of mining in the region has moved from base and precious metals such as uranium Northwest Territories, goldlead and zinc to primarily diamonds. For example, diamonds at Lac de Gras, km north of Yellowknife, attracted much attention in the s. The discovery of the first Kimberlite pipe — a type of cone-shaped rock often containing diamonds — in resulted in one of the world's largest rushes into the area the following year.

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There are four mines currently operating in the NWT, three of which produce diamonds and one that produces tungsten. Two of the diamond-producing mines opened during this year period, ing in large part for the increase in production value. Mining employs about 3, people, or about 14 per cent of the work force of the territories, and provides ificant employment in related service activities such as mining exploration.

Heating Northwest Territories a major cost for northerners, given the long, severe winters and the transportation costs.