Dallas is a major city in Texas and is the largest urban center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the United States. The city proper ranks ninth in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio. The city's prominence arose from its historical importance as a center for the oil and cotton industries, and its position along numerous railroad lines. The bulk of the city is in Dallas County, of which it is the county seat; however, sections of the city are located in Collin, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties. According to the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 1,197,816. The United States Census Bureau's estimate for the city's population increased to 1,257,676, as of 2013.
The city is the largest economic center of the 12-county Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area, which had a population of 6,810,913 as of July 1, 2013. The metropolitan economy is the sixth largest in the United States, with a 2012 real GDP of $420.34 billion. In 2013, the metropolitan area led the nation with the largest year-over-year increase in employment, and advanced to become the fourth-largest employment center in the nation (behind New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago) with more than three million non-farm jobs. The city's economy is primarily based on banking, commerce, telecommunications, computer technology, energy, healthcare and medical research, and transportation and logistics. The city is home to the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the nation. In the latest rankings released in 2013, Dallas was rated as a "beta plus" world city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network, and was 14th in world rankings of GDP by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Located in North Texas, Dallas is the main core of the largest inland metropolitan area in the United States that lacks any navigable link to the sea. Dallas and nearby Fort Worth were developed due to the construction of major railroad lines through the area allowing access to cotton, cattle, and later oil in North and East Texas. The construction of the Interstate Highway System reinforced Dallas' prominence as a transportation hub with four major interstate highways converging in the city, and a fifth interstate loop around it. Dallas developed as a strong industrial and financial center, and a major inland port, due to the convergence of major railroad lines, interstate highways, and the construction of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world.
Preceded by thousands of years of varying indigenous cultures, the Caddo people inhabited the Dallas area before Spanish colonists claimed the territory of Texas in the 18th century as a part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Later, France also claimed the area but never established much settlement.
In 1819, the Adams-Onís Treaty between the United States and Spain defined the Red River as the northern boundary of New Spain, officially placing the future location of Dallas well within Spanish territory. The area remained under Spanish rule until 1821, when Mexico declared independence from Spain, and the area was considered part of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas. In 1836, the Republic of Texas, with majority Anglo-American settlers, gained independence from Mexico to become a distinct nation.
In 1839, Warren Angus Ferris surveyed the area around present-day Dallas. John Neely Bryan established a permanent settlement near the Trinity River named Dallas in 1841. The Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845 and Dallas County was established the following year. Dallas was formally incorporated as a city on February 2, 1856.
With construction of railroads, Dallas became a business and trading center, and was booming by the end of the 19th century. It became an industrial city, attracting workers from Texas, the South and the Midwest. The Praetorian Building of 14 stories, built in 1909, was the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi and the tallest building in Texas for some time. It marked the prominence of Dallas as a city. A racetrack for Thoroughbreds was built and their owners established the Dallas Jockey Club. Trotters raced at a track in Fort Worth, where a similar Drivers Club was based. The rapid expansion of population increased competition for jobs and housing.
In 1921, the Mexican president Álvaro Obregón along with the former revolutionary general visited downtown Dallas' Mexican Park in Little Mexico, the small park was located on the corner of Akard and Caruth Street, site of the current Fairmount Hotel. The small neighborhood of Little Mexico was home to the Hispanic population that had come to Dallas due to factors like the American Dream, better living conditions or the Mexican Revolution.
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Elm Street while his motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. The upper two floors of the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy, the Texas School Book Depository, have been converted into a historical museum covering the former president's life and accomplishments.