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Seattle is a coastal city and major seaport located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Located about 96 miles (154 km) south of the Canadian border, it is named after Chief Sealth, of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. 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 settlers arrived November 13, 1851.. In 1853 it was suggested that the main settlement be renamed "Seattle", an anglicized rendition of the name of Sealth, the chief of the two local tribes. Seattle's current official nickname is the "Emerald City", the result of a contest held in the early 1980s; the reference is to the abundant evergreen forests of the area. Seattle residents are known as Seattleites.
Seattle is the county seat of King County. As of April 1, 2009, the city had a municipal population of 602,000, making it the twenty-fifth most populous city in the U.S. and a metropolitan area population of 3,344,813. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan statistical area is the 15th largest in the United States, and the largest in the Pacific Northwest.
The first streetcars appeared in 1889 and were instrumental in the creation of a relatively well-defined downtown and strong neighborhoods at the end of their lines. Tacoma–Seattle railway service ended in 1929 and the Everett–Seattle service came to an end in 1939, replaced by inexpensive automobiles running on the recently developed highway system. Rails on city streets were paved over or removed, and the arrival of trolleybuses brought the end of streetcars in Seattle in 1941. This left an extensive network of privately owned buses (later public) as the only mass transit within the city and throughout the region. Now extensive bus routes have replaced the railways and street cars for those living near the city center, the city's outward growth caused automobiles to become the main mode of transportation for much of the population in the middle to late twentieth century. As a result, Seattle is ranked as one of the most congested cities in the United States.
Seattle has been known as the birthplace of grunge music. Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden all came out of Seattle, sparking a musical revolution in the early 1990’s and influence musicians to this day.
The city also has a reputation for heavy coffee consumption. Starbucks was born in Seattle and has spread rapidly throughout the United States.
Central Connecticut State University ranked Seattle the most literate city of America's sixty-nine largest cities in 2005 . Survey data by the United States Census Bureau indicated that Seattle was the most educated city in the U.S., with 52.5% of residents aged 25 and older having a bachelor's degree.
Seattle is a city rich with culture and entertainment. Among Seattle's prominent annual fairs and festivals are the 24-day Seattle International Film Festival, Northwest Folk life over the Memorial Day weekend, numerous Seafair events throughout July and August (ranging from a Bon Odori celebration to the Chevrolet Cup hydroplane races), the Bite of Seattle, and the art and music festival Bumbershoot, which programs music as well as other art and entertainment over the Labor Day weekend. All are typically attended by 100,000 people annually, as are the Seattle Hempfest and two separate Independence Day celebrations.
Seattle is also home to one of the largest Gay Pride festivals in the United States.
In the past, the Gay Pride parade and festival have been centered on Capitol Hill, but since 2006, festivities have been held city-wide, and the parade has followed a route in Downtown from the retail core to Seattle Center.
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