The name 'Canada' originates from 'kanata', an Iroquois word meaning 'settlement' or 'village'. Explorer Jacques Cartier misused this word to describe a considerably larger place than its initial designation. On confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country.
Canada is a federal state governed as a parliamentary democracy, though it still has Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The country is officially bilingual, being made up largely of English-speaking provinces plus the French-speaking province of Quebec. English and French are the first languages of 60% and 23% of the population respectively. Several aboriginal languages have official status in the Northwest Territories, while Inuktitut (Inuit) is the majority language in Nunavut.
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