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The Northwest Territories of Canada include the regions of Dehcho, North Slave, Sahtu, South Slave and Inuvik. Their remote landscape encompasses forest, mountains, Arctic tundra and islands in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Dehcho’s Nahanni National Park Reserve centers around the canyons of the South Nahanni River and 90m-high Virginia Falls. The regional capital, Yellowknife, is on the north shore of Great Slave Lake.
The Northwest Territories, a portion of the old North-Western Territory, entered the Canadian Confederation on July 15, 1870. Since then, the territory has been divided four times to create new provinces and territories or enlarge existing ones. Its current borders date from April 1, 1999, when the territory’s size was decreased again by the creation of a new territory of Nunavut to the east, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. While Nunavut is mostly Arctic tundra, the Northwest Territories has a slightly warmer climate and is both boreal forest (taiga) and tundra, and its most northern regions form part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
The Northwest Territories is bordered by Canada’s two other territories, Nunavut to the east and Yukon to the west, and by the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan to the south, and may touch Manitoba at a quadripoint to the southeast. The land area of the Northwest Territories is vast enough to be roughly equal to France, Portugal and Spain combined, although its overall area is even larger courtesy of its vast lakes that freeze over in winter.