The area in and around Calgary has been inhabited for at least 11,000 years, with numerous native populations making their homes there. In 1787 David Thompson became the first known European in the region when he camped along the Bow River and surveyed the area for the Hudson's Bay Company. The area went largely undisturbed until 1873, when the first European settler arrived and set up his home in the region. This was soon followed by the arrival of the North-West Mounted Police, who set up a headquarters in the area from which to police the surrounding area. In 1876 the name Calgary was first applied to the region. In 1883 Calgary began to grow as the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area and established a station. It was officially incorporated as a town the following year. The Calgary Fire of 1886 destroyed a few blocks of the city and caused massive monetary damages. The town continued to spread, with large ranching operations growing up around the outskirts. In 1894 it was incorporated as the City of Calgary. The populations swelled as immigrants sought homesteads in and around Calgary. 1912 saw the beginnings of the Calgary Stampede, then a small agricultural show and rodeo. In 1947 the oil industry, which had existed in the province since 1902, boomed, bringing significant economic growth to Calgary. The population and the city itself similarly swelled massively. In 1981 the economy, tied so closely to the oil industry, collapsed with oil prices. It began to recover by the end of the 1980s, and, learning from past mistakes, the economy diversified. In 1988, the city played host to the Winter Olympics. The economy was fully recovered by the 1990s, and had entered another boom by the 2000s, continuing so until the worldwide crash in 2008, but remaining fairly strong regardless. In June of 2013 Calgary was one of the main sites of the Alberta floods. Thousands of people were forced from their homes, and the downtown core was without power for some time.
Calgary is the fifth-largest city in Canada, the greater metropolitan region currently has a population of just over 1,214,000 people, with just over 1,096,000 living in the city proper. A small majority of the population reports being Canadian in origin, about 27%. Other major origins reported include English, Scottish, German and Irish. A majority of the population reports adherence to a Christian denomination, about 67%. About 25% reports no religion. There are also small groups of other religions.
Calgary is located in the province of Alberta. It is located along the Bow River in the south of the province, fairly near the western border with British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains. The city is composed of 198 neighbourhoods, or communities, and 41 industrial districts.