The territory in the modern sense was created in the summer of 1870, and originally included the vast majority of what is now Canada. The current size was reduced on 1 April 1999 when it was split giving the north-eastern part of the state to the new territory of Nunavut, taking three fifths of its land area. Its capital city (the seventh one it has had) was declared in 1967 as Yellowknife.
Most of the population lives in the capital and at the mouth of the Mackenzie River on the Beaufort Sea. The west and south of the territory is covered by forests, the north and east is above the tree line.