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History

Main Street, Red DeerThe 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, which 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.

 

In a hurry? Check out Alberta's rich history in brief by exploring the Alberta Timeline!

When you're ready to slow down, though, you can explore the early history of Alberta at the following websites: Alberta: How the West Was Young, and Alberta: Home, Home on the Plains. It's all part of www.AlbertaSource.ca, Alberta's Online Encyclopedia!

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