A feminine form of the name Albert, which is from the Old High German words adal beraht, which literally means "bright through nobility."

Oh the prairie lights are burning bright, the Chinook wind is a-moving in,
tomorrow night I'll be Alberta bound.
Though I've done the best I could, my old luck ain't been so good and
tomorrow night I'll be Alberta bound.
No one-eyed man could ever forget the Rocky Mountain sunset,
it's a pleasure just to be Alberta bound.
I long to see my next of kin to know what kind of shape they're in,
tomorrow night I'll be Alberta bound.
Alberta bound, Alberta bound, it's good to be Alberta bound.
Alberta bound, Alberta bound, it's good to be Alberta bound.
Alberta Bound - Gordon Lightfoot

Alberta is the 2nd most westerly province in the Dominion of Canada, bordered by British Columbia on the west, Saskatchewan on the east, the Northwest Territories in the north, and Montana across the U.S.-Canada border in the south.

It is one of the richest provinces in the country, largely due to its abundance of fossil fuels, especially its crude oil and natural gas deposits.

The capital of Alberta is Edmonton, and the most important city is Calgary. There's a bunch of other smaller cities and towns, plus a fairly large rural population. In total there's nearly 3 million people living in the province. The current leader of the provincial government is premier Ed Stelmach.

Alberta is home to some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the world, such as the Rocky Mountains and the foothills surrounding them. Oooh baby. As for the rest of the province, we've got a lot of forests in the north, and grasslands in the south.


What's that, you want more detail? Here goes.

Archaeological evidence seems to point towards the first humans living within Alberta's borders to have camped on the shores of Lake Vermillion near Banff over 10,500 years ago. This was along the path leading southeast from Alaska when the glaciers first started receding after the ice age.

In time a number of First Nations tribes set up shop, mostly on the plains. Some of these tribes include the Blackfoot (or Siksika), the Peigan, the Chipewyan, the Kootenay Nation, the Blood Nation, the Cree, and the Sarcee Nation. If you wish to learn more about the culture of the First Nations, I suggest visiting Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, or the Provincial Museum in Edmonton.

They were quite happy there, with most of the Plains Indians living off the massive herds of buffalo that existed in the area. That is, until the white man came.

Update: I've been told by nomentatus that apparently my information is faulty, as the Cree supposedly swept into the plains area from the great lakes, armed with guns given to them by Europeans just after they arrived in North America. (The Europeans, not the Cree.) According to him, they displaced / killed the original occupants in and around Alberta. I'll look into it when I get a chance.

The first European reached Alberta in 1754, a fur trader by the name of Anthony Henday. In the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, he was sent to try and establish trading contacts with the First Nations in the area, a task which he initially failed at, but succeeded in on subsequent trips.

In time fur trading between the Europeans and the First Nations developed into a steady flow. As they drew closer economically, they also grew closer in other ways, sometimes getting married. The offspring of the marriages between Europeans and Natives became known as Metis, and developed a new culture unique to Canada.

A number of trading posts were established in the area, by both the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company. One fairly important post was Fort Edmonton, built in 1810 by the HBC on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. This fort remained an important source of furs and dried meat for quite a while.

Oh, and while we're at it, eventually the Dominion of Canada was founded with the passing of the British North America Act.

Beginning in 1871, the Federal Government began signing a number of treaties with the First Nations that would allow non-Natives to settle in their territory.

In 1874, the North-West Mounted Police was established to police these territories. Garrisons called Fort Macleod and Fort Calgary were established in 1874 and 1875 respectively, intended to protect the plains from whiskey traders coming up from the United States.

Banff became the first National Park, when the Federal Government set aside land there as public property in 1877.

By 1899, the entire province had been covered by the land treaties with the First Nations, and most of them had moved onto one of the countless reservations scattered throughout the province.

Meanwhile, settlers had begun moving to western Canada, after a strong campaign by Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior, that kicked off in 1895. Many of them moved westward on the Canadian Pacific Railway, which was completed in 1885, and which traveled through Alberta, passing through Calgary, and into British Columbia via the Kicking Horse Pass.

Most of the people moving to Alberta became either farmers or ranchers, because of the 160 acres of free land that was given to the head of any family who paid a $10 registration fee, and lived there at least 3 years, cultivated at least 30 acres, and built a house. All of this was under the provisions of the Dominion Lands Act, passed in 1873.

Most of the farming was down in the central regions of the province, and north. Down further south, in Palliser's Triangle, it was a lot drier, which made it more difficult to farm. However, this terrain proved ideal for the raising of cattle.

And then the Federal Government passed the 1905 Autonomy Act, officially making Saskatchewan and Alberta full fledged provinces. Edmonton was named the capital city.


In the beginning, Alberta was just another poor farming province, like Saskatchewan. It made some headway to becoming less hick like, such as the opening of its first institution of higher learning, in Edmonton, 1908. However, like much of the rest of the country, it was hit badly by the drought that accompanied the Great Depression.

Fortunately a lucky thing happened to the province. In 1947, a major oil deposit was found near Leduc, which is close to Edmonton. After that, people went looking for oil, and someone figured out that we've got a lot of this stuff!

Things were going well until OPEC decided to screw around with oil prices in 1974. This was when things started going REALLY well, as the price of oil skyrocketed.

So, all of a sudden Alberta is the richest province in the country. People started moving here in droves, to Calgary in particular, which doubled its population in a bit more than 5 years.

Now I'm sure that some people in Eastern Canada were happy that Alberta was doing well. However, they seemed a bit pissed off about the fact that they were a whole lot poorer, since they had to pay the higher cost of gas. Hmmmm, maybe economics is a zero-sum game.

So Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau passed a bill establishing the National Energy Program, which would force any province producing oil and natural gas to the rest of the country at a reduced rate, and increased taxes on oil exports, as well as establishing Petro Canada, allowing it to stake a claim in any new oil project.

And boy, did this piss off everyone in Alberta, since they were the ones who were impacted the most by this. There were some people who started clamouring to split from the country, and others who started to work towards gaining more representation from Western Canada in the Federal Political Parties, which didn't happen all that often, what with the majority of Canadians living in the East.

Eventually this all led to the founding of the Reform Party of Canada, which kind of fell apart and convalesced into the Canadian Alliance Party, which kind of fell apart and melted back into the Conservative Party.

But, eventually oil prices fell back down again, and the NEP wasn't needed anymore. It was finally dismantled in 1985.

In 1988, the world spotlight turned upon Alberta for a while, as the Winter Olympic Games were held in Calgary. That was cool. I (barely) remember going to see the Ski Jumping.

In the not so distant past, Alberta has seen the Provincial Government, headed by Ralph Klein, working primarily to reduce its debt while at the same time keeping taxes low. This could of course only happen with a combination of spending cuts, and oil revenue.

While some of the spending cuts in education and health care were fairly unpopular, it seems that Albertans thought that it's worth it, as Klein’s Progressive Conservatives continued to get elected with a wide majority in the Legislature.

And the debt reduction worked out quite well, with the amount owed being reduced from 22.7 billion dollars in 1995, to zero dollars in 2004. That's right folks, they're debt free now.

Since then, Klein has decided to retire from politics, probably because with the paying off of the debt being finished, he saw the job as being done. Anyways, he retired in 2006, turning over the province to the man elected as the progressive conservative party leader, Ed Stelmach, a former farmer from Vegreville.


What else is there to say about Alberta? Most Albertans are conservative, more so than any other province in the country. There are some who'll say that's what happens when you take a hick and make him rich. I can't quite say that's all that far off the mark.

Still, we're not all that bad. People here seem friendly, although I can't comment all that much as the only time I've lived outside the province were the two years right after my birth, in British Columbia.

The education system, while under funded, still manages to do alright. It's not like you can make high school less useless anyways. The health care system might make people wait a bit longer than they may like, but it'll still manage to get the job done.

The parties are fun. Especially the Calgary Stampede, and to a much lesser extent, Edmonton's Klondike Days.

The shield of arms is a red St. George's Cross on a white background on top of a landscape shot showing blue sky, a range of snow-topped mountains, green foothills, prairie, and a wheat field in front. The flag of Alberta is the shield of arms on a blue background.

Oh hell, let's just turn this into a Metanode.


Cities:

Premiers (chronological):

Official Stuff:

Noders: The Everything People Registry : Canada : Alberta

Anything else you want to know about? /msg me!


Sources:
www.albertaheritage.net/past_present/text_timeline.html
www.albertaheritage.net/past_present/phase_1/archaeology/index.html
www.foundlocally.com/calgary/Local/Info-CityHistoryIndians.htm
collections.ic.gc.ca/Alberta/fur_trade/site_profiles_fort_edmonton.html
www.gov.ab.ca
21 Years Of Living Here
Last Updated 11/05/2008

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