Alberta [ ælbɝtə ] is the westernmost of Canada's Prairie Provinces. The capital is Edmonton 's largest city, Calgary. Named is the province after Louise Caroline Alberta, Duchess of Argyll, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria.

Alberta's landscape is dominated by the prairie, which extends as far east as Manitoba. On the western border of the province, however, dominate the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Alberta has extensive oil reserves and is the richest province in Canada. Other economic factors are grain farming and cattle breeding.

  • 7.1 Natural Monuments
  • 8.1 oil deposits ( Athabasca oil sands)
  • 8.2 Agriculture
  • 8.3 Tourism
  • 8.4 Other important economic sectors


Alberta covers an area of ​​661,848 km ², of which 642,317 km ² of land and 19,531 km ² water surface.


In the south, Alberta is adjacent to the U.S. state of Montana, on the east by the province of Saskatchewan, on the north by the Northwest Territories and to the west by British Columbia.


With the exception of the southwestern part of Alberta is rich in water. There are numerous rivers and lakes. The three largest lakes are Lake Athabasca ( 000000000007898.00000000007.898 km ²), its eastern greater part lies in the province of Saskatchewan, Lake Claire ( 000000000001436.00000000001.436 km ²) immediately west of Lake Athabasca in Wood Buffalo National Park and the Lesser Slave Lake ( 000000000001168.00000000001.168 sq km ) northwest of Edmonton.


Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, is located almost in the geographical center of the province, and the majority of Alberta's oil is refined here. The southern Alberta, where Calgary is located, is known for its ranching. Much of the unforested Alberta is used for grain farming or the dairy industry, where ranching and southern grasslands dominate. The Badlands of Alberta is located in the Southeast, where the Red Deer River crosses the flat prairie and farmland, and deep gorges and impressive landscapes can be seen. The Dinosaur Provincial Park, near Brooks, is the venue for the terrain of the wasteland, the flora of the desert and remnants from Alberta's past when dinosaurs roamed the landscape.


Geographically Alberta is divided into seven regions:

There is the division into Municipal Districts ( see: List of Municipal Districts Alberta ) For administrative purposes, which are again combined for statistical purposes to Census Divisions.


Since Alberta 000000000001200.00000000001.200 km in north-south direction ( and about 600 km in the east-west direction) expands, the air between the 49th and 60th degree of latitude differs considerably. It is also by the height above sea level. NN affected: it ranges from about 000000000001000.00000000001.000 meters in the South ( Calgary is about 000000000001000.00000000001.000-000000000001200.00000000001.200 meters and Red Deer is about 850 m) up to 650 meters in the north. The presence of the Rocky Mountains to the west and open prairie in the east affects the weather as well. The Northern Alberta is mostly covered by taiga and has fewer frost-free days than the south, which has a semi-arid climate. The western Alberta is protected by the mountains and enjoys the mild winter temperatures due to the Chinook winds. The southeastern Alberta, however, generally consists of flat, dry plains with some hills and extreme temperatures. These range from very cold ( -35 ° C or lower in the winter) to very hot ( 38 ° C or more in summer). The central and parts of northwestern Alberta in the Peace River region are largely aspen parkland, a biome transitional between prairie to the south and the taiga to the north. After Southern Ontario, the central Alberta region of Canada is the one with the highest probability for tornadoes. Thunderstorms are common in summer, especially in central and southern Alberta. The region surrounding the Calgary -Edmonton Corridor is notorious for the highest frequency of hail in Canada.

Generally, Alberta has cold winters with average temperatures between -10 ° C in the south to -24 ° C in the north. In the south, along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the winter is sometimes interrupted by the Chinook, which can rise up to 20 ° C and higher temperatures in a short time. This usually happens in February or March. In summer, the average daytime temperature in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains and the far north reaches to around 21 ° C, in the dry prairie of the southwest up to 30 ° C. In the northern and western parts of the province more rain, and evaporation rates are lower because of the cooler summer temperatures. Southern and east - central areas are prone to drought- like conditions; this over the years, although there may be in these areas heavy rains in part. The northern parts of Alberta obtained because of the very dry climate, quite a lot of sunshine; the east - central part bordering on the province of Saskatchewan is the sunniest place in Canada with an average of over 000000000002500.00000000002.500 hours of sunshine annually.


The three climatic regions of Alberta ( alpine, forest and prairie ) are home to many different animal species. The southern and central prairie was the land of the bison. The grass provided food for millions of buffalo. Since the first settlement of the buffalo population was decimated, but the buffalo have greatly increased again and thrive in farms and in parks all over Alberta.

Alberta is home to many large carnivores. Among them are the grizzly and the black bear, which are found in the mountain and forest regions. Smaller representatives of the carnivores of the canine and feline families include the coyote, the wolf, the fox, the Canadian lynx, bobcat and mountain lion ( cougar ).

Herbivores are found throughout the province. Elk and deer ( both mule deer and white-tailed deer ) are found in wooded regions, and pronghorn in the prairies of southern Alberta. Bighorn sheep and mountain goats live in the Rocky Mountains. Rabbits, porcupines, skunks, gray squirrels, and many species of rodents and reptiles live in every region of the province. In Alberta, only a single Giftschlangenart, the prairie rattlesnake, native.


Alberta has 3,290,350 inhabitants ( 2006). The population is growing rapidly because of continuing immigration. The population density is about five inhabitants per square kilometer. Approx. 85 % of the population speak English as their mother tongue, about 5 % French.

Approximately 70,000 citizens of Alberta are Indians. The majority of these are Cree and Blackfoot ( Siksika ). In addition, a larger number Métis. They were awarded in 1990 by the Supreme Court of Canada a split in eight settlements reserve of 500,000 acres of land. The province is one of the centers of the Hutterites in Canada.

According to the 2006 census, the population was 27.2% of English -Russians, 20.9% of German ancestry, 20.5% " Canadian-born ", 20.3% Schottischstämmigen, 16.6% Irish -Russians, 11.9% French -Russians and 10.2 % Ukrainian -Russians together (multiple answers were possible).

Largest cities

The largest population centers are Calgary ( with Airdrie ) Edmonton ( with Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove and St. Albert), Red Deer, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.


Alberta is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta.

The southern part of the province of Alberta was since the founding of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC ) in 1670, a part of Rupert's land and thus was under the administration of the HBC. The northern part of the area was yet administered by the North West Company, but in 1821 went up in the HBC (see Pemmican War).

At around 1731 the French reached the area of the western Canadian prairies. She later founded communities such as Lac La Biche and Bonnyville. Fort La Jonquière was built in 1752 near the present-day Calgary. The first explorer of the Athabasca region was Peter Pond, the 1778 Fort Athabasca built on behalf of the North West Company at Lac La Biche. 1788 Roderick Mackenzie founded Fort Chipewyan, the oldest European settlement in Alberta, on the north western tip of the Athabascasees.

Alexander Mackenzie, the cousin Roderick Mackenzie, followed the North Saskatchewan River to its northernmost point near Edmonton, then continued walking north, then followed the Athabasca River to Lake Athabasca. There he discovered a discharge, the Mackenzie River, this he followed to its outlet in the Arctic Ocean. He came to Lake Athabasca back and followed the Peace River upstream, reaching the Pacific Ocean. Mackenzie is thus the first European who crossed the Americas north of Mexico.

1882 Alberta became a separate district of the Northwest Territories in 1905, its territory was enlarged after a long campaign for autonomy and a province. Alexander Cameron Rutherford was the first Prime Minister.


The political system in Alberta is based on the Westminster system with a unicameral parliament. The Legislative Assembly consists of 87 members who are elected in as many constituencies by majority voting system. The Lieutenant Governor, who represents the head of state, the British Parliament tradition can ( within five years ) dissolve parliament before and schedule new elections in consultation with the Prime Minister within a specified time frame accordingly. Prime Minister is always the chairman of the party, which has won the most seats. This office currently has Dave Hancock held, Lieutenant Governor Donald Ethell is.

Politically, Alberta as the most conservative of all the provinces. 27 of 28 representatives of Alberta in the Canadian House of Commons belong to the Conservative Party of Canada. At the provincial level, the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta since 1971 continuously the government. Alberta is sometimes referred to for this reason as " Texas North ". According to the Canadian Constitution Alberta are six seats in the Senate, currently held all of conservative senators.

Culture and sights

Alberta developed as a popular tourist destination in the early 20th century, with several attractions and sporting attractions such as skiing, hiking, camping, as well as a popular shopping destination by the largest mall in North America and the West Edmonton Mall. In addition to the shopping mall is also the Stephen Avenue in Calgary a popular shopping street with several shops, restaurants and cafes. Very popular range of outdoor festivals and events, such as, inter alia, the professional athletic event, the International Sporting Competitions, as well as the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games and other events. Alberta is also called the land of cowboys. Nowhere in Canada, there are so many working and guest ranches as here. Every year, the Calgary Stampede takes place, it is the largest rodeo in the world of its kind take about 1.2 million people annually.

Alberta's Rocky Mountains are very famous among tourists, among others, through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. The two parks are connected by one of the most beautiful highway of the Icefields Parkway. Banff is located about 128 km west of Calgary and is connected to the Highway 1. Jasper is located 366 km west of Edmonton on Yellowhead Highway.

Natural Monuments

Alberta has a number of national parks and provincial parks. To the west lies the Jasper National Park and Banff National Park, in the north of Wood Buffalo National Park in the east of Elk Iceland National Park, in the southeast of Dinosaur Provincial Park and south of Waterton Lakes National Park. The following parks have been awarded the UNESCO World Heritage price. The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Waterton - Glacier International Peace Park, Wood Buffalo National Park, Dinosaur Provincial Park and Head -Smashed - In Buffalo Jump. Thus are five of Canada's fourteen World Heritage Parks Parks in the province.

One of the largest boulders in the world, about 16,000 tons and 18 meter high Big Rock, located near Calgary. He was transported to its present location by a wandering ice glaciers about 18,000 years ago.

Economy and infrastructure

Oil deposits ( Athabasca oil sands)

With 1.7 trillion barrels ( ≈ 2.70 km ³) stored here in the so-called Athabasca oil sands near Fort McMurray about a third of the world's oil sands reserves. They make Canada to Saudi Arabia the country with the world's second largest oil reserve and justify the wealth of the province. The degradation is associated with major environmental problems and a high CO2 emissions. The extraction of oil from oil sand was economically by new technologies and a sustained high oil price only in recent times. At least 65 percent of crude oil gained here go to the United States under any provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement ( NAFTA ); this one of the world's largest oil pipelines was built, called the Keystone pipeline. It is predicted that the breakdown will quadruple over the next 25 years. Since he is very energy intensive, it poses the risk that Canada will not meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol (as of 2006) ..


To the oil industry, the agricultural industry is an important economic factor. This consists mainly of cereal crops and cattle for export to the United States. The cattle exports in 2003 was severely impaired, appeared as cases of BSE and the U.S. temporarily closed its border to import.


The competent Tourist Board, Alberta Economic Development, registered on average about 4 million tourists every year in Edmonton and Calgary. In Banff, Jasper and the Rocky Mountains hold additional three million tourists annually. Many tourists come from southern Ontario and other provinces of Canada, as well as from the U.S. and outside North America.

Other important economic sectors

Aerospace and defense industry: In the province have around 170 companies located and employ more than 6,000 workers. The sector contributes $ 1.3 billion annually in the province of economics. 40 % of the goods produced range will be exported to other countries.

Information and communication technology: The area is one of the larger and more stable industrial sectors in the province. In the province of approximately 4300 companies have settled and employ approximately 54,500 employees. Alberta 's IT sector has an outstanding international reputation mainly through research and development of new technologies. This sector contributes about $ 10.2 billion in the province of economics.

Education and Research

In the province there are 42 primary and secondary schools up to class 12, in which around 589,000 students were enrolled. There were also 6 public universities and 15 colleges and other private institutions. The University of Alberta in Edmonton is the largest and oldest state university in the province, in which around 37 588 students were enrolled in 2009. The second largest university, the University of Calgary with approximately 28,000 students. Another university is the Athabasca University, which operates as a distance learning university, with approximately 30,000 students. Other smaller universities are the University of Lethbridge in Lethbridge, Mount Royal University in Calgary, Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. The colleges primarily include the Nortern Alberta Institute of Technology and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. The Alberta Research Council is a research institute that focuses on the energy sector.



Alberta has a 180,000 km long motorway and road network. The major north - south route is operated by the Highway 2. The Highway 2 begins south of Cardston, leads past the Carway border and is part of the CANAMEX corridor connecting Canada with Mexico and through the United States. Highway 4, which connects to Interstate 15, is also the most important and busiest main link that connects the United States with the province.

Other important highways in the province are:

  • Highway 43; He connects with Athabasca Grande Prairie
  • The Trans Canada Highway connects all provinces from coast to coast.
  • Highway 2 connects Calgary to Edmonton
  • The Highway 11 connects Saskatchewan River Crossing and ends at Red Deer.
  • The Highway 12 connects Compeer and Bentley
  • The Highway 16


Alberta has two large international airports, of which a number of national as well as international connections are offered. These airports are served by any major international airline. The Calgary International Airport is the third largest and the Edmonton International Airport is the fifth busiest airport in Canada. The Calgary Airport is a hub for WestJet Airlines as well as Air Canada. From Calgary Airport, there are flight connections to several Canadian provinces as well as 15 major U.S. airports, nine European destinations, a route to Asia and four in Mexico and the Caribbean. From the airport in Edmonton connections to all major Canadian airports are offered as well as ten U.S. airports served three European airports and six Mexican and Caribbean airports.

Rail link

Through the province introduces a 9500 km long railway network, which is served by several railway companies. The company VIA Rail Canada, Rocky Mountaineer and the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway have multiple connections in the province and connect several major cities within and outside the province.