Canada is a country in North America. Located in the northern part of the continent, Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, and its common border with the United States is the world's longest land border shared by the same two countries. Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The country is officially bilingual at the federal level, as it is the only North American country that has French language as one of its official languages.
The land that is now Canada has been inhabited for millennia by various Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French colonial expeditions explored, and later settled, the region's Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America to the United Kingdom in 1763 after the French and Indian War, which was essentially the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, the territory was explored and additional self-governing Crown colonies were established. On July 1, 1867, three colonies federated, forming a federal dominion that established Canada.