Origins of the Saskatchewan Province of Canada

view of grassy hills in Saskatchewan
The Gillespie region of Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan. Robert Postma / Design Pics / Getty Images

The province of Saskatchewan is one of the 10 provinces and three territories that make up Canada. Saskatchewan is one of three prairie provinces in Canada. The name for the province of Saskatchewan comes from the Saskatchewan River, so named by the indigenous Cree people, who called the river the Kisiskatchewani Sipi, meaning "the swiftly flowing river."

The Province Shares a Border to the South With the U.S.

Saskatchewan shares a border to the south with the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota. The province is entirely landlocked. Residents primarily live in the southern prairie half of the province, while the northern half is mostly forested and sparsely populated. Of the total population of 1 million, roughly half live in the province's largest city, Saskatoon, or in the capital city of Regina.

Origin of the Province

On September 1, 1905, Saskatchewan became a province, with inauguration day held September 4. The Dominion Lands Act permitted settlers to acquire one-quarter of a square mile of land to homestead and offered an additional quarter upon establishing a homestead.

Inhabited by Indigenous People

Prior to its establishment as a province, Saskatchewan had been inhabited by various indigenous peoples of North America, including the Cree, Lakota, and Sioux. The first known non-indigenous person to enter Saskatchewan was Henry Kelsey in 1690, who traveled up the Saskatchewan River to trade fur with the indigenous people. The first permanent European settlement was a Hudson's Bay Company post at Cumberland House, founded in 1774, as an important fur trading depot.

Ceded to the United Kingdom in 1818

In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase transferred from France to the United States part of what is now Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 1818 it was ceded to the United Kingdom. Most of what is now Saskatchewan was part of Rupert's Land and controlled by the Hudson's Bay Company, which claimed rights to all watersheds flowing into Hudson Bay, including the Saskatchewan River.

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Munroe, Susan. "Origins of the Saskatchewan Province of Canada." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Munroe, Susan. (2020, August 28). Origins of the Saskatchewan Province of Canada. Retrieved from Munroe, Susan. "Origins of the Saskatchewan Province of Canada." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).