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Map - British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu ("Splendour without Diminishment"). Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858. In 1871, it became the sixth province of Canada.
The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, the fifteenth largest metropolitan region in Canada. The largest city is Vancouver, the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, the largest in Western Canada, and the second-largest in the Pacific Northwest. In 2009, British Columbia had an estimated population of 4,419,974 (about two million of whom were in Greater Vancouver). The province is currently governed by Premier Gordon Campbell, who announced his resignation on November 3, 2010, and will step down upon selection of his successor as party leader at a leadership convention in February 2011.
British Columbia's economy is largely resource-based. It is the endpoint of transcontinental highways and railways and the site of major Pacific ports, which enable international trade. Because of its mild weather, and despite the fact that less than 5% of its land is arable, the province is agriculturally rich, particularly in the Fraser and Okanagan Valleys. Its climate encourages outdoor recreation and tourism, though its economic mainstay has long been resource extraction, principally logging and mining.