The province, with an area of 649,950 square kilometers (250,900sq.mi), has a largelycontinental climateand flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other major industries are transportation, manufacturing, mining, forestry, energy, and tourism.
Manitoba's capital and largest city,Winnipeg, is Canada's eighth-largest Census Metropolitan Area, and home to 60 percent of the population of the province. Winnipeg is the seat of government, home to the Manitoba and the highest court in the jurisdiction, the Manitoba Court of Appeal. Four of the province's five universities, all four of its professional sports teams, and most of its cultural activities are located in Winnipeg. Winnipeg is the largest city between Calgary and Toronto. Fur traders first arrived during the late 17th century. Manitoba became a province of Canada in 1870 after the Red River Rebellion. A general striketook place in Winnipeg in 1919, and the province was hit hard by the Great Depression. This led to the creation of what would become the New Democratic Party of Manitoba, one of the province's major political parties and currently in power.