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Manitoba is a Canadian province bordered by Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west. Its landscape of lakes and rivers, mountains, forests and prairies stretches from northern Arctic tundra to Hudson Bay in the east and southern farmland. Much wilderness is protected in more than 80 provincial parks, where hiking, biking, canoeing, camping and fishing are all popular.
The name Manitoba is believed to be derived from the Cree, Ojibwe or Assiniboine languages. The name derives from Cree manitou-wapow or Ojibwe manidoobaa, both meaning “straits of Manitou, the Great Spirit”, a place referring to what are now called The Narrows in the centre of Lake Manitoba. It may also be from the Assiniboine for “Lake of the Prairie”, which is rendered in the language as minnetoba.
The lake was known to French explorers as Lac des Prairies. Thomas Spence chose the name to refer to a new republic he proposed for the area south of the lake. Métis leader Louis Riel also chose the name, and it was accepted in Ottawa under the Manitoba Act of 1870.
Indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Manitoba for thousands of years. In the early 17th century, fur traders began arriving in the area and establishing settlements along the Nelson, Assiniboine, and Red rivers, and on the Hudson Bay shoreline. The Kingdom of England secured control of the region in 1673, and subsequently created a territory named Rupert’s Land which was placed under the administration of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Rupert’s Land, which covered the entirety of present-day Manitoba, grew and evolved from 1673 until 1869 with significant settlements of Indigenous and Métis people in the Red River Colony. In 1869, negotiations with the Government of Canada for the creation of the province of Manitoba commenced. During the negotiations, several factors led to an armed uprising of the Métis people against the Government of Canada, a conflict known as the Red River Rebellion. The resolution of the rebellion and further negotiations led to Manitoba becoming the fifth province to join Canadian Confederation, when the Parliament of Canada passed the Manitoba Act on July 15, 1870.
Manitoba’s capital and largest city, Winnipeg, is the eighth-largest census metropolitan area in Canada. Other census agglomerations in the province are Brandon, Steinbach, Thompson, Portage la Prairie, and Winkler.