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Canada is a country occupying most of northern [North America] , extending from the [Atlantic Ocean] in the east to the [Pacific Ocean] in the west and northward into the [Arctic Ocean] . It is the world's second largest [country by total area] . Canada's [common border] with the [United States] to the south and northwest is the longest in the world.

The land occupied by Canada was inhabited for millennia by various groups of [Aboriginal people] . Beginning in the late 15th century, [British] and [French] expeditions explored, and later settled along, the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of [its colonies in North America] in 1763 after the [Seven Years' War] . In 1867, with the union of three [British North America] n colonies through [Confederation] , Canada was formed as a [federal] [dominion] of four provinces. This began an [accretion of provinces and territories] and a process of increasing autonomy from the [United Kingdom] . This widening autonomy was highlighted by the [Statute of Westminster] of 1931 and culminated in the [Canada Act] of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the [British parliament] .

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