Online Encyclopedia

ALBERTA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 500 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALBERTA, a province of western Canada, established in 1905. Area 260,000 sq. m. It is bounded S. by the United States boundary line, 49° N.; E. by 11o° W., which divides it from the province of Saskatchewan; N. by 6o° N., which separates it from the North-West Territories; and W. by the line of peaks of the Rocky Mountains range, which runs north-westerly, and divides it from British Columbia. A fertile province, in the eastern and southern portions its surface consists chiefly of plains almost entirely treeless. As the slopes of the Rocky Mountains to the west are reached more trees are found, until in the foot-hills of the mountains bodies of forest timber occur. Trees become more numerous also northward in the province, until in the region north of the North Saskatchewan river forests are again met with. From the southern boundary line for two and a half degrees north the prairie is dry, but of good soil, which grows excellent crops when irrigated. North of this region the surface of the province is of most fertile soil, the ordinary rainfall sufficing for agriculture. The appearance of the prairie section of the province is that of undulating meadows, with rounded sloping ridges covered with shorter grasses, which serve for the support of great herds of cattle and horses. The wooded portions of the terrain are dotted with clumps and belts of trees of moderate size, giving them a park-like appearance. In winter the snowfall is very light, and even this is frequently removed by warm winds from the west. Within a hundred miles of the mountains there is constantly in view, in clear weather, the beautiful line of snowy peaks along the western horizon. This continues for hundreds of miles north-westward. The Rocky Mountains, which give its charm to Alberta, are ascended by a gradual approach from the east, but are exceedingly abrupt on their transalpine slope in British Columbia. The peaks of these mountains are majestic, many of them reaching a height of more than two miles above the sea. Among the more notable of these are Robson peak, 13,700 ft.; Athabasca, 13,700; Assiniboine, 11,83o; Lyell, 12,000; Mummery, 12,000; Temple, 11,658; and Geikie, 11,000. Mt. Brown reaches 9050. Through these Rocky Mountains the explorers and fur-traders, by ascending the streams running down the eastern declivities of the mountains, and crossing by short portages to the streams of the western slope, have succeeded in discovering passes by which the mountain chain can be crossed, the range rarely exceeding 6o m. in breadth. The most noted of the Alberta passes are (2) the Crow's Nest Pass, near the southern boundary line, through which a branch of the Canadian Pacific railway runs; (2) the Kicking Horse Pass, through which the main line of the Canadian Pacific railway is built; 40 M. from the eastern end of this pass is the Rocky Mountains Park, with the famous watering-place of Banff as its centre; (3) the Yellow Head Pass, running west from the northern branch of the Saskatchewan river; this pass was discovered by Capt. Palliser (1858), was crossed by Lord Milton and Dr W. B. Cheadle (1861), and by Sandford Fleming (1871—1872) in the Ocean to Ocean expedition; (4) Peace River Pass. By this pass Alexander Mackenzie made his celebrated voyage. There are other minor passes, and no doubt more to be discovered. With the exception of the southern section, the province of Alberta may be said to be well watered. Rising from numerous valleys on the Alberta declivity of the Rocky Mountains between the international boundary line and 52° N. are streams which unite to form the Belly river, and farther north the Bow river. Running eastward these two rivers unite about 112° W., and flow on under the name of the South Saskatchewan river. North of 52° N. many small streams unite to form the Red Deer river, which flowing south-eastward joins the South Saskatchewan near 1 to° W. Between 52° and 530 N. rises the great river, the North Saskatchewan. It receives a southern tributary, the Battle river, which joins it about Io8° W. Pursuing their courses eastward the North and South Saskatchewan rivers unite in the Saskatchewan (Cree, rapid-flowing river), which finds its way to Lake Winnipeg, and thence by way of Nelson river to Hudson Bay. It is one of the mightiest rivers of the continent. Between 530 and S40 N. begins the height of land running north-easterly, north of which all the waters of Alberta flow toward the Arctic Sea. In northern Alberta, on the northernslope, gathering its tributaries from rills in the Rocky Mountains, the river Athabasca runs north and empties into Lake Athabasca near 58° N. North of 56° N. flows through and from the Rocky Mountains the Peace river. After descending north-eastward to within a few miles of Lake Athabasca, it is met by a stream emerging from that lake. The united river carrying down the waters of the Athabasca slope is called the Slave river,' which, passing through Great Slave Lake, emerges as the great Mackenzie river, which falls into the Arctic Sea. Alberta thus gives rise to the two great rivers Saskatchewan and Mackenzie. While number of fresh-water, or in some cases brackish, lakes each less than too sq. m. in extent are situated in Alberta, two of more considerable size are found. These are Lake Athabasca, 3085 sq. M. in extent, of which a part is in the province of Saskatchewan, and the other Lesser Slave Lake some 600 sq. m. in area. Climate.— As Alberta extends for 750 M. from north to south—as great a distance as from Land's End in England to the north of the Shetland Isles—it is natural that the climate should vary considerably between parallels of 49° and 6o° N., and also between rro°° and 12o° W. It is also further influenced by the different altitudes above the sea of the several parts of the province. Dividing the province into three equal parts of 250 M. each from north to south, these may be called (A) the south, (B) the centre, (C) the north. The following data may be considered:
End of Article: ALBERTA
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MADAME ALBERT (c. 2805—2846)
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DOMENICO ALBERTI (c. 1710–1740)

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