Territory (pop., 2001 est.: 30,000), northwestern Canada. Bounded by Alaska, U.S., to the west, and the Canadian Northwest Territories to the east and British Columbia to the south, its capital is Whitehorse. Drained by the Yukon River system, it has some of the highest mountains in North America, notably the Saint Elias Mountains and Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak. It was originally settled by American Indians and the Inuit (Eskimo). The first European visitor (1825) was British explorer John Franklin, who was seeking the Northwest Passage. Sporadic settlement occurred thereafter. The discovery of gold in the 1870s later resulted in the Klondike gold rush. In 1898 it was separated from the Northwest Territories and given territorial status. The economic boost from the gold rush soon abated, and the exploitation of other minerals expanded and continued throughout the 20th century. Its economic mainstays, though, are government services and tourism.
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Territory (pop., 2006: 192,898), northern Australia. It covers an area of some 520,902 sq mi (1,349,129 sq km). Its capital is Darwin; the only other sizable town is Alice Springs. Most of the people are of European descent; about one-fifth are Australian Aboriginals. It consists mainly of tableland, with the Simpson Desert in the southeast and the Arnhem Land plateau in the north. It was inhabited by Aboriginals for thousands of years; they held Ayers Rock (Uluru) as central to their culture. The coast was explored by the Dutch in the 17th century and surveyed in the early 19th century by Matthew Flinders. First included as part of New South Wales, it was annexed to South Australia in 1863. It reverted to being under direct control of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1911. The northern parts were bombed by the Japanese in World War II and occupied by Allied troops. It was granted self-government within the Commonwealth in 1978. It remains sparsely inhabited; its economy rests on cattle farming, mining, government services, and a growing tourism industry.
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Former territory, U.S. West, including most of modern Oklahoma. The Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, Cherokee, and Chickasaw tribes were forcibly moved to this area between 1830 and 1843, and an 1834 act set aside the land as Indian country. In 1866 its western half was ceded to the U.S.; this portion was opened to white settlers in 1889 and became the Territory of Oklahoma in 1890. The two territories were united and admitted to the Union as the state of Oklahoma in 1907.
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Political entity (pop., 2006: 324,034), southeastern Australia. A capital territory was mandated by the 1901 Australian constitution; the site was chosen in 1908. It lies within New South Wales and consists of Canberra and the area around Jervis Bay. Parliament moved there from Melbourne in 1927. In 1989 the Territory received responsibility for self-government similar to that held by Australian states.
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