Saskatchewan is one of the prairie provinces in Canada that is bordered by the province of Alberta to the west, the Northwest Territories to the north, Manitoba to the east and the U.S. states North Dakota and Montana to the south.
The population of Saskatchewan is estimated at 1.12 million. Most people live in the southern half of Saskatchewan, of which 258,000 live in the largest city, Saskatoon. Saskatchewan is the 7th largest province in terms of area and the 6th largest in terms of population with a population density of about 2 people per square kilometer or 5 people per square mile.
Saskatoon is the largest city in Saskatchewan with a population of 253,000. Saskatoon is located in central Saskatchewan and has an estimated metropolitan population of 300,000 in 2014 with a population density of around 1,060 people per square kilometer, or 2,746 per square mile.
The provincial capital of Saskatchewan is Regina, which is also the second-largest city with 232,000 people. Regina is the commercial and cultural center of southern Saskatchewan. The city proper has a population of 195,000, which ranks 24th in Canada, while the metropolitan area is the 18th largest in Canada. Regina has a population density of about 1,328 people per square kilometer, or 3,438 per square mile.
Prince Albert is the third-largest city in Saskatchewan and sits on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. Known as the "Gateway to the North," it's the last major center along the route to northern Saskatchewan. Prince Albert has a population estimated at 36,000 and a metro population of 43,000.
Moose Jaw is located in south-central Saskatchewan on the Trans-Canada Highway about 48 miles west of Regina. Moose Jaw is known as a tourist city and retirement community with a population of about 34,000 and a density of 711 people per square kilometer, or 1,841 per square mile.
Yorkton is a city in southeastern Saskatchewan near the border with Manitoba. Yorkton has a population of 16,000 and is home to the Yorkton Film Festival since 1947.
Swift Current is located in southwestern Saskatchewan about 110 miles west of Moose Jaw with a population of 16,000.
At the 2011 census, the racial composition of Saskatchewan was 81.6% white, 6.3% visible minority, and 14.9% Aboriginal (9.6% First Nations, 5% Metis). The visible minority groups include:
The largest ethnic origins in Saskatchewan are: German (28.6%), English (24.9%), Scottish (18.9%), Canadian (18.8%), Irish (15.5%), Ukrainian (13.5%), French (12.2%), First Nations (12.1%), Norwegian (6.9%) and Polish (5.8%), Metis (4.2%), Dutch (3.4%), Swedish (3.1%), Russian (2.9%), Hungarian (2.5%), Austrian (1.5%), Welsh (1.4%), American (1.2%), Romanian (1.1%).
Saskatchewan has the highest percentage of Canadians of Norwegian descent in the country. The province also has a high number of Aboriginals. Because of high birthrates among Aboriginals and emigration of non-indigenous peoples, it's estimated that the Aboriginal population of Saskatchewan will make up about 35% of the total population of Saskatchewan by 2045.
Saskatchewan has been populated by many indigenous peoples of North America, including the Lakota Sioux, Blackfeet, Sarcee, Cree and Atsina. The first European to explore Saskatchewan was Henry Kelsey in 1690, who traveled up the Saskatchewan River to establish a fur trade with natives. The first European settlement was a Hudson's Bay Company post at Cumberland House founded in 1774.
The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 transferred many areas of present-day Saskatchewan and Alberta to the United States from France. It was then ceded to the United Kingdom in 1818. Most of present-day Saskatchewan was part of Rupert's Land and controlled by the Hudson Bay Company until 1870, when Canada acquired the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company and formed the North-West Territories.
During the 20th century, many settlers moved to the prairies on the railway, with the population growing quickly. Saskatchewan became a province in 1905. Immigration reached its peak in 1910 and farming became the center of the economy. By the 1920's, the Ku Klux Klan came from the United States and Ontario and briefly became popular in the area.