Seattle (Template:Pron-en Template:Respell) is the northernmost major city in the contiguous United States, and the largest city in the Pacific Northwest and the state of Washington. It is a major seaport situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound (an arm of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about Template:Convert south of the Canada – United States border, and it is named after Chief Sealth "Seattle", of the Duwamish and Suquamish native tribes. Seattle is the center of the Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue metropolitan statistical area--the 15th largest metropolitan area in the United States, and the largest in the northwestern United States. Seattle is the county seat of King County and is the major economic, cultural and educational center in the region. The 2010 census found that Seattle is home to 608,660 residents within a metropolitan area of some 3.4 million inhabitants. The Port of Seattle, which also operates Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, is a major gateway for trade with Asia and cruises to Alaska, and is the 8th largest port in the United States in terms of container capacity.
Seattle is the western terminus of I-90 and resides on the I-5 corridor, about Template:Convert south of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Template:Convert north of Portland, Oregon. The city of Victoria, British Columbia's capital, is about Template:Convert to the northwest (about Template:Convert by passenger ferry) while the eastern Washington hub city of Spokane lies Template:Convert to the east.
The Seattle area has been inhabited for at least 4,000 years, but European settlement began only in the mid-19th century. The first permanent European-descended settlers were Arthur A. Denny and his group of travelers, subsequently known as the Denny Party, who arrived November 13, 1851. Early settlements in the area were called "New York-Alki" ("Alki" meaning "by and by" in Chinook Jargon) and "Duwamps". In 1853, Doc Maynard suggested that the main settlement be renamed "Seattle", an anglicized rendition of the name of Sealth, the chief of the two local tribes. From 1869 until 1982, Seattle was known as the "Queen City". Seattle's current official nickname is the "Emerald City", the result of a contest held in 1981; the reference is to the lush evergreen forests of the area. Seattle is also referred to informally as the "Gateway to Alaska", "Rain City", and "Jet City", the last from the local influence of Boeing. Seattle residents are known as Seattleites.
Seattle is the birthplace of rock legend Jimi Hendrix and the rock music style known as "grunge," which was made famous by local groups Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam. In more recent years, Seattle has been known for indie rock music. The city has a reputation for heavy coffee consumption; coffee companies founded or based in Seattle include Starbucks, Seattle's Best Coffee, and Tully's. There are also many successful independent artisanal espresso roasters and cafes.
Researchers at Central Connecticut State University consistently rank Seattle and Minneapolis as the two most literate cities among America's largest cities. Additionally, survey data from the United States Census Bureau indicate that Seattle has a higher percentage of college graduates than any other major American city, with approximately 53.8% of residents aged 25 and older holding a bachelor degree or higher.
In terms of per capita income, a study by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the Seattle metropolitan area 17th out of 363 metropolitan areas in 2006. Seattle has particularly strong information technology, aviation, architecture and recreational industries. It is particularly known as a hotbed of "green" technologies, stemming in part from the strong and relatively non-controversial stances its public leaders have taken on policies regarding urban design, building standards, clean energy and climate change (Seattle in February 2010 committed itself to becoming North America's first "climate neutral" city, with a goal of reaching zero net per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 2030).
Seattle is ranked as one of the most car-congested cities in the United States, and efforts to promote compact development and transportation choices are perennial policy issues. The railways and streetcars that once dominated its transportation system were largely replaced with an extensive network of bus routes for those living near the city center, and the city's outward growth caused automobiles to become the main mode of transportation for much of the population in the middle to late 20th century. However, efforts to reverse this trend at the municipal and state levels have resulted in new commuter rail service that connects Seattle to Everett and Tacoma, a regional Link Light Rail system that extends south from the city core to SeaTac Airport, and an inner-city South Lake Union Streetcar network which extends from downtown to the South Lake Union area.
- Main article: History of Seattle
Archaeological excavations confirm that the Seattle area has been inhabited by humans for at least 4,000 years. By the time the first European settlers arrived in the area, the people (now called the Duwamish Tribe) occupied at least 17 villages in the areas around Elliott Bay.
In 1851, a large party led by Luther Collins made a location on land at the mouth of the Duwamish River; they formally claimed it on September 14, 1851. Thirteen days later, members of the Collins Party on the way to their claim passed three scouts of the Denny Party, the group who would eventually found Seattle. Members of the Denny Party claimed land on Alki Point on September 28, 1851. The rest of the Denny Party set sail from Portland, Oregon and landed on Alki point during a rainstorm on November 13, 1851.
After a difficult winter, most of the Denny Party relocated across Elliott Bay and founded the village of "Dewamps" or "Duwamps" on the site of present day Pioneer Square. Charles Terry and John Low remained at the original landing location and established a village they initially called "New York", but renamed "New York Alki" in April 1853, from a Chinook word meaning, roughly, "by and by" or "someday". For the next few years, New York Alki and Duwamps competed for dominance, but in time Alki was abandoned and its residents moved across the bay to join the rest of the settlers.
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