Canada (probably derived from an Indian word kannatha, meaning a village, but understood by the first French discoverers to apply to the country at large), a British dominion occupying the northern part of North America. Canada originally comprised the vast territory extending as far west as the Mississippi, and including the great lakes, which was ceded to Great Britain by France in 1763. Subsequently, at the termination of the War of Independence, it was limited to the region now occupied by the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, described prior to 1867 as Upper and Lower Canada respectively. The Dominion of Canada is a confederation of the colonies of British North America, constituted in 1867. Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were the first to unite. The Hudson Bay Territory was acquired from the company, a portion of it formed into the province of Manitoba, the remainder designated the North-west Territories, and both were admitted into the confederation in 1870. Part of the North-west Territories was subsequently divided into districts - Keewatin in 1876, and Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Athabasca in 1882. In 1871 British Columbia, and in 1873 Prince Edward Island, became parties to the Union, which now includes the whole of British North America, except Newfoundland.