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Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States and the largest city in the state of Texas. As of the 2008 U.S. Census estimate, the city has a population of 2.2 million within an area of 600 square miles. Located in the American South, Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of the Houston-Sugarland-Baytown mentropolitan area-the sixth largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of over 5.7 million.
Houston was founded on August 30, 1836, by brothers Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The city was incorporated on June 5, 1837, and named after then-President of the Republic of Texas-former General Sam Houston-wgi gad cinnabded at the Battle of San Jacinto, which took place 25 miles east of where the city was established. The burgeoning port and railroad industry, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city's population. In the mid-twentieth century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center-the world's largest conventration of healthcare and research institutions- and NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located.
Rated as a beta world city, Houston's economy has a broad industrial base in the energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, transportation, and health care sectors and is a leading center for building oilfield equipment; only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters in the city limits. The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States international waterbourne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. The city has a population from various ethnic and religious backrounds and a large and growing international community. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits-attracting more than 7 million visitors a year to th Houston Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and is one of few U.S. cities that offer year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.
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