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Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwestm ut us the fourth largest city in Texas and the 15th largest in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. According to the 2009 U.S. Census estimate, Austin had a population of 757,688. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Area, with a population of approximately 1,652,602 as of the July 2008 U.S. Census estimate, making it the 36th largest metropolitan area in the nation.
The area was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado river by pioneers who named the village Waterloo. In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly independent Republic of Texas. The city was renamed after Stephen F. Austin, known as the father of Texas. The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the contruction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas. After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city and emerged as a center for technology and business. Today, Austin is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise, including the headquarters of three Fortune 500 corporations, Dell, Whole Foods MArket, and Freescale Semiconductor.
Austin was selected as the No.2 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and No.3 in 2009, also the "Greenest City in America by MSN. According to CNN Headline NEws and Travel & Leisure magazine, Austin ranks No.2 on the list of cities with the best people reffering to the personalities and attributes of the citizens. Austin was also voted America's #1 College Town by the Travel Channel. Austin was ranked the fifth-safest city in part because there are fewer than five murders per 100,000 people annually. Furthermore, in 2009, Austin was determined to be the least stressful large metro area by Forbes magazine.
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