Oklahoma City is the capital of the U.S. state of Oklahoma and its largest city. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 29th among United States cities in population. As of the 2012 census, the population was 599,199. In 2010 the Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,252,987, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,322,249 residents, making it Oklahoma's largest metropolitan area. Oklahoma City's city limits extend into Canadian, Cleveland, and Pottawatomie counties, though much of those areas outside of the core Oklahoma County area are suburban or rural (watershed). The city ranks as the eighth-largest city in the United States by land area (including consolidated city-counties; it is the second-largest city in the United States by land area whose government is not consolidated with that of a county).
Oklahoma City features one of the largest livestock markets in the world. Oil, natural gas, petroleum products and related industries are the largest sector of the local economy. The city is situated in the middle of an active oil field and oil derricks dot the capitol grounds. The federal government employs large numbers of workers at Tinker Air Force Base and the United States Department of Transportation's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (these two sites house several offices of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Department's Enterprise Service Center, respectively).
Oklahoma City lies along one of the primary travel corridors into Texas and Mexico. Located in the Frontier Country region of the state, the city's northeast section lies in an ecological region known as the Cross Timbers. The city lies centered in between three other large cities: Dallas, Texas, Wichita, Kansas and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The city was founded during the Land Run of 1889, and grew to a population of over 10,000 within hours of its founding. The city was the scene of the April 19, 1995 bombing attack of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, in which 168 people died. It was the worst terror attack in the history of the United States until the attacks of September 11, 2001, and remains the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.
Since the time weather records have been kept, Oklahoma City has been struck by nine strong tornadoes, eight F/EF4s and one F5. On May 3, 1999, parts of southern Oklahoma City and nearby communities suffered one of the most powerful tornadoes on record, registering as an F5. On May 20, 2013, southern Oklahoma City, Moore, and other surrounding areas and suburbs were struck by another devastating EF5 tornado.
Oklahoma City was settled on April 22, 1889, when the area known as the "Unassigned Lands" was opened for settlement in an event known as "The Land Run". Some 10,000 homesteaders settled the area that would become the capital of Oklahoma. The town grew quickly; the population doubled between 1890 and 1900. Early leaders of the development of the city included Anton Classen, John Shartel, Henry Overholser and James W. Maney.
In 1950, the Census Bureau reported city's population as 8.6% black and 90.7% white.
Patience Latting was elected Mayor of Oklahoma City in 1971, becoming the city's first female mayor. Latting was also the first woman to serve as mayor of a major U.S. city with more than 350,000 residents.
As with many other American cities, center city population declined in the 1970s and 1980s as families followed newly constructed highways to move to newer housing in nearby suburbs. Urban renewal projects in the 1970s, including the Pei Plan, removed many older historic structures but failed to spark much new development, leaving the city dotted with vacant lots used for parking. A notable exception was the city's construction of the Myriad Gardens and Crystal Bridge, a botanical garden and modernistic conservatory in the heart of downtown. Architecturally significant historic buildings lost to clearances were the Criterion Theater, the Baum Building, the Hales Building, and the Biltmore Hotel.
The "Core-to-Shore" project was created to relocate I-40 one mile (1.6 km) south and replace it with a boulevard to create a landscaped entrance to the city. This also allows the central portion of the city to expand south and connect with the shore of the Oklahoma River. Several elements of "Core to Shore" were included in the MAPS 3 proposal approved by voters in late 2009.