The place we know as Alberta today has always been a rich
and plentiful area, attracting tribes of the earliest hunters 11,000 years ago to
seek their bounty. The region was sought out by the fur traders in more recent
times. Settlers, missionaries, railroads, ranchers, and homesteaders flowed west
to find prosperity. Treaties were signed between the First Nations people and
the federal government of the
region and a Territorial government brought stability to the region.
By 1905, there was an established economy and social organization in the
region and the Province of Alberta came into being. Legislation to govern most
aspects of life came into being between 1905 and 1910.
The discovery of gas in Turner Valley in 1914 increased the province's
prosperity and foretold of oil and gas discoveries to come.
The First World War brought a great sacrifice of men from the province,
claimed the highest per capita rate of enlistment.
After the First World War, settlement
in Alberta continued to increase. In the
1930s there was a world
wide economic downturn, the Great Depression, and
Albertans elected a Social Credit government in hopes
of a new approach that would bring back the prosperity they once knew.
During the Second World War, Albertans enlisted as Canada became the central training ground for
the Allied air crew with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Alberta was
host to schools for just about every classification of aircrew. Roads, runways,
and entire air schools were rapidly built.
The prosperity of the war years in
Alberta continued as oil was discovered at Leduc in
1947, transforming the provincial economy.
With the 1970s' increases in oil prices internationally,
the federal government imposed price controls
and then the National
Energy Policy which reduced revenue from Alberta
oil. This brought an economic downturn in the province
until the mid-1980s. A large provincial deficit plagued
the province until severe government funding cutbacks
worked to eliminate the deficit by 1997.
Alberta continues to benefit from the
natural bounty of its natural resources and people as it
celebrates its 100th
year as a province in 2005.