ALBERTA, al-bileta, Canada, a north western province. A part of the present area of the province was in 1882 given territorial status and called Alberta in honor of H. R. H. Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria and wife of the Marquis of Lorne, 9th Duke of Argyle, at that time Gover nor-General of Canada. The country was sparsely settled, what white population there was being chiefly in the south and engaged in ranching. For upwards of 15 years little change took place, but subsequent to 1896 a vigorous immigration policy was instituted and settlers flowed in. By the autonomy acts of 1905 the old territories stretching from the western boundary of Manitoba to the Rockies were erected into the two provinces of Sas katchewan and Alberta. The boundaries given to the latter were the 49th parallel the "(kilt ed States frontier to the south, the 60th parallel to the north, the 4th meridian to the east and British Columbia to the west. This vast area of 253,540 square miles is 750 miles from north to south and at its broadest part 400 miles from east to west. Though some what smaller than Texas, Alberta is more than twice the size of Great Britain and Ire land and considerably more extensive than France or Germany.
Physical Features. Alberta is a vast plateau ranging from 1,000 to 3,500 feet above sea-level. The land lies higher in the south and falls away toward the north. The coun try is well watered, both the great Mackenzie and Saskatchewan river systems taking their rise within the province. The Saskatchewan system, with its north and south branches, drains Alberta approximately from the Ed monton district to the American boundary, while the northern half of the province is watered by the various rivers which ultimately combine to make up the Mackenzie. The chief streams flowing into the south branch of the Saskatchewan are the Belly, Old Man, Saint Mary's, Bow and Red Deer, while into the north branch debouch the Clearwater, the Bat tle, the Sturgeon, the Vermilion and other smaller streams. The northern section of the province is drained by three great waterways, the Athabasca, Peace and Hay, which, united on issuing from Great Slave Lake, become the Mackenzie. Lakes also abound, especially in the northerly part of the province. Among the more important of these may be men tioned Gull, Buffalo, Wabamun, Saint Anne, La Biche, Claire and Lesser Slave Lake. Some of these are considerable bodies of water. Claire and Lesser Slave cover respectively 405 and 480 square miles and Lake La Biche has an area of over 100 square miles. Most of these lakes teem with fish the whitefish of the northern lakes being much esteemed as an article of diet. Mention should be made of
two small lakes that enjoy a world-wide repu tation for beauty Lake Louise in the Bow Pass through the Rockies and Lake Malign in the Yellowhead Pass. While the southern part of the province is characterized by vast treeless prairies, the central section has been aptly described as a park-like country, prairie and wooded districts being intermingled_ As one goes farther north, prairie again becomes predominant.
Climate. Alberta has a continental climate, warm in summer and cold in winter. In the former season the thermometer frequently registers 90° during the daytime, but the nights are always cool. The distribution of heat varies little as regards latitude. At Fort Ver milion (lat. 58° 29) the mean summer tempera ture is 61°; at Dunvegan (lat. 55° 56') 60 at Edmonton (lat. 53° 33') at Calgary (lat. 51° 2') and Cardston (lat. 49° 12') 59°. This equality of heat seems the more extraordinary when it is remembered that Fort Vermilion and Cardston with two degrees difference in mean summer temperature are in a northerly and southerly direction roughly 700 miles apart It may be pointed out in this connection that owing to its northerly latitude the summer days are very long in Alberta. These are ac companied with a correspondingly large amount of sunshine, which facilitates the rapid growth of field crops and vegetation of all kinds. At midsummer there are 18 hours of sunshine. In winter the weather is cold, but as the at mosphere, owing to the altitude, is dry, low temperatures are easily supported. In southern Alberta the winters are much modified by the warm chinook winds which, crossing the moun tains from the Pacific., bring in their train periods of extremely mild and genial Alberta is a region of light rainfall. The sub joined table indicates the average precipitation in the various months; January, 1.03 May, 3.85 September, AO February, 1.03 June 3.06 October, 1.24 March, .92 July, 5.23 November, 1 74 April, 2.0.5 August, 1.73 December, Though the foregoing figures yield only 23.71 inches for the year, it will be noted that of this total 13.87 inches or 58 per cent comes during the growing season and the crops are thus amply supplied with necessary moisture when it is most needed. In the southern por tion of the province snow falls during the win ter but soon disappears; in the more northerly section the snowfall varies in depth from six to 18 inches and remains on the ground from the beginning of December till the end of March.