Cincinnati is the third largest city in Ohio and the 65th largest city in the United States by population within the city limits. According to the 2010 census, the population of the metropolitan area was 2,214,954 - the 28th largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the United States and the largest centered in Ohio.It is also the county seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located on the border between Ohio and Kentucky at the confluence of the Ohio River and the Licking River. Residents of Cincinnati are called Cincinnatians.
In the early 19th century, Cincinnati was an American boomtown in the heart of the country to rival the larger coastal cities in size and wealth, at one point being the 6th largest city in the United States by population, surpassed only by the older, established settlements of the Eastern Seaboard and New Orleans. Because it is the first major American city founded after the American Revolution as well as the first major inland city in the country, Cincinnati is sometimes thought of as the first purely American city. It developed with less European immigration or influence than eastern cities in the same period; however, it received a significant number of German immigrants, who founded many of the city's cultural institutions. By the end of the 19th century, with the shift from steamboats to railroads, Cincinnati's growth had slowed considerably and the city became surpassed in population by other inland cities, Chicago and St. Louis.
Cincinnati is home to two major sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds, one of the oldest franchises in Major League Baseball, and the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. The University of Cincinnati, founded in 1819, is one of the 50 largest in the United States. Cincinnati is known for its historic architecture. In the late 1800s, Cincinnati was commonly referred to as "Paris of America," mainly due to significant architectural projects, like Music Hall, the Cincinnatian Hotel, and the Shillito Department Store.
Cincinnati was founded in 1788 when Mathias Denman, Colonel Robert Patterson and Israel Ludlow landed at the spot on the north bank of the Ohio River opposite the mouth of the Licking River. The original surveyor, John Filson, named it "Losantiville". In 1790, Arthur St. Clair, the governor of the Northwest Territory, changed the name of the settlement to "Cincinnati" in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati, of which he was a member.
Germans were among the first settlers. General David Ziegler succeeded General St. Clair in command at Fort Washington and became the mayor of Cincinnati in 1802. Cincinnati was incorporated as a city in 1819. The introduction of steam navigation on the Ohio River in 1811 and the completion of the Miami and Erie Canal helped the city grow to 115,000 residents by 1850.
Construction on the Miami and Erie Canal began on July 21, 1825, when it was called the Miami Canal, related to its origin at the Great Miami River. The canal became operational in 1827. In 1827, the canal connected Cincinnati to nearby Middletown; by 1840, it had reached Toledo. During this period of rapid expansion, residents of Cincinnati began referring to the city as the "Queen" city.
Cincinnati depended on trade with the slave states south of the Ohio River, at a time when growing numbers of African Americans were settling in the state. This led to tensions between anti-abolitionists and citizens in favor of lifting restrictions on blacks codified in the "Black Code" of 1804. There were riots in 1829, where many blacks lost their homes and property, further riots in 1836 in which an abolitionist press was twice destroyed, and more rioting in 1842.
Railroads were the first major form of commercial transportation to come to Cincinnati. In 1836, the Little Miami Railroad was chartered. Construction began soon after, to connect Cincinnati with the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, and provide access to the ports of the Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie.
In 1859, Cincinnati laid out six streetcar lines, using horse-drawn cars, making it easier for people to get around the city. By 1872, Cincinnatians could travel on the streetcars within the city and transfer to rail cars for travel to the hill communities. The Cincinnati Inclined Plane Company began transporting people to the top of Mount Auburn that year.
In 1884, outrage over a manslaughter verdict in a clear case of murder triggered the Courthouse riots, one of the most destructive riots in American history. Over the course of three days, 56 were killed and over 300 were injured. The riots ended the regime of political bosses John Roll McLean and Thomas C. Campbell in Cincinnati. In 1889, the Cincinnati streetcar system began converting its horsecar lines to electric streetcars.
Cincinnati weathered the Great Depression better than most American cities of its size, largely because of a resurgence in river trade, which was less expensive than rail. The rejuvenation of downtown began in the 1920s and continued into the next decade with the construction of Union Terminal, the post office, and the large Cincinnati and Suburban Telephone Company Building. The flood of 1937 was one of the worst in the nation's history. Afterward the city built protective flood walls.
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