Alberta, Canada served as home to a number of aboriginal people until the 1700s, when Europeans and Americans moved to the area to ply the fur trade. Native Albertans included the Creek, Blackfoot, Kootenay and Slavey Indians, all of which lived nomadically, foraging and hunting in the wilderness.
After the arrival of the Hudson's Bay Company and its rival fur-trading firm the North West Company, the British began to colonize what would eventually be known as Alberta. This interest increased with the 1867 passage of the British North America Act and establishment of the Dominion of Canada. By the late 1800s, a number of farmers settled in the area. At the same time, the newly built railroad delivered immigrants from the United States.
Alberta became a Canadian province on Sept. 1, 1905. It was named for Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta. The province experienced a population growth spurt in the 1940s with the sudden growth of the oil and gas industry.
Oil prices skyrocketed in the 1970s, prompting another economic boom in Alberta and a major influx of entrepreneurs and prospective investors hoping to take advantage of the situation. However, when global oil prices plummeted in 1986, Alberta experienced a recession. By the 1990s, as prices for natural gas and oil began to climb again, Alberta's economy began to even out.