is a Canadian prairie province
with an area of 649,950 square kilometres (250,900 sq mi). The province has over 110,000 lakes, and has a largely continental climate due to its flat topography. Agriculture, found especially in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other major industries are transportation, manufacturing, mining, forestry, energy, and tourism.
The largest ethnic group in Manitoba are the English, but there is a significant Franco-Manitoban minority and a growing aboriginal population. Manitoba's capital and largest city, Winnipeg, is Canada's eighth-largest Census Metropolitan Area. Winnipeg is the seat of government, home to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba and the Provincial Court. Four of the province's five universities, all four of its professional sports teams, and most of its cultural activities (including Festival du Voyageur and Folklorama) are located in Winnipeg. The city has train and bus stations and a busy international airport; a Canadian Forces base operates from the airport, and is the regional headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
The name Manitoba (meaning "strait of the spirit" or "lake of the prairies") is believed to be derived from the Cree, Ojibwe or Assiniboine language. Fur traders first arrived during the late 17th century. Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation on July 15, 1870, after the Red River Rebellion, and was the first province to join Canada under the British North America Act (BNA Act) after the original four provinces. A general strike took place in Winnipeg in 1919, and the province was hit hard by the Great Depression. This led to the creation of what would become the New Democratic Party of Manitoba, one of the province's major political parties.