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Seattle is the county
seat of King County, in the state of Washington. With 608,660 residents as of the 2010 Census, Seattle is the
largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America and the largest city on the West Coast north of San
Francisco. The Seattle metropolitan area of about 3.4 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in
the United States. The city is a major coastal seaport situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake
Washington, about 114 miles south of the Canada–United States border. In 2010, the container ports in Seattle Metro
(Seattle-Tacoma) were the third busiest in the United States, after Los Angeles-Long Beach and New York, serving as
a major gateway for trade with Asia.
The Seattle area had been inhabited by
Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent white settlers. Arthur A. Denny and his group
of travelers, subsequently known as the Denny Party, arrived at Alki Point on November 13, 1851. The settlement was
moved to its current site and renamed "Seattle" in 1853, after Chief Seattle of the local Duwamish and Suquamish
Logging was Seattle's first major
industry, but by the late 19th century the city had become a commercial and shipbuilding center as a gateway to
Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. By 1910, Seattle was one of the 25 largest cities in the country. However,
the Great Depression severely damaged the city's economy. Growth returned during and after World War II, due
partially to the local Boeing Company, which established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing. The city
developed as a technology center in the 1980s. The stream of new software, biotechnology, and internet companies
led to an economic revival, which increased the city's population by 50,000 between 1990 and 2000. More recently,
Seattle has become a hub for "green" industry and a model for sustainable development.
Seattle has a noteworthy musical history.
From 1918 to 1951, there were nearly two dozen jazz nightclubs along Jackson Street in the current
Chinatown/International District. The jazz scene developed the early careers of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones,
Ernestine Anderson and others. Seattle is also the birthplace of rock legend Jimi Hendrix and the rock music style
known as "grunge", which was made famous by local groups Melvins, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Pearl
Jam. In more recent years, Seattle has been known for indie rock and indie dance music.