History of Seattle
The area of present-day Seattle was originally inhabited by the Suquamish tribe. The first people of European descent were Illinois farmers who settled in the area and named the town Seattle in honor of the Indian chief Sealth who befriended them upon their arrival. The primary industry in the town was lumber, which was shipped to San Francisco to accommodate the building boom resulting from the gold rush.
Seattle was incorporated as a city in 1869.When the Great Northern Railroad reached Seattle in the last decade of the 19th century, the city became a large maritime and rail commercial center and the point of entry for the trade with the Orient. With the Alaska Gold Rush, Seattle became the “Gateway to the Klondike” and experienced a great population boom.
The Boeing Company, now a leading manufacturer of airplanes and spacecraft, started in Seattle as a small local firm in 1916. This was the beginning of the aerospace industry that has played an enormous part in the economy of Seattle during both world wars and in the 1960s. With the Seattle World’s Fair of 1962, the city established itself as an entertainment and tourist center too. After 1975, the economy of Seattle was further diversified and the city became a financial, industrial, service and trade center in the American Northwest. In 1999, the city hosted the summit of the World Trade Organization and made headlines after forty thousand people gathered to protest globalization.
Geography and Climate
Seattle is located between Puget Sound and Lake Washington. The primary harbor in the city is Elliott Bay, located on the Sound, which makes the city an oceanic port. The Kitsap Peninsula and Olympic Mountains lie to the west while to the east lies the Cascade Range. The city is said to lie on seven hills, like Rome. Being located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Seattle is prone to earthquakes. The worst earthquakes occurred in 1700, 1872, 1949, 1965 and, more recently, in 2001.
The climate in Seattle is oceanic or temperate marine. Winters are mild and wet and summers are warm and dry. Even though it has a reputation of a reputation of a place where it always rains, Seattle is not one of the ten rainiest cities in the USA. Still, the city is frequently cloudy and only gets an average of 71 sunny days a year.
Landmarks in Seattle
The most recognizable landmark in Seattle is the Space Needle, featured in movies and TV shows such as “Sleepless in Seattle,” “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Killing.” The fairgrounds around the tower have been converted into Seattle Center which hosts many civic and cultural events.
Other landmarks include the Smith Tower, Columbia Center, Washington Mutual Tower, Pike Place Market, the Fremont Troll, the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum, the Seattle Central Library and the Seattle Great Wheel.
In 2010, Seattle had a population of 608,660 and the racial makeup was 66.3% non-Hispanic White, 13.8% Asian, 7.9% Black or African American, 6.6% Hispanic or Latino, 0.8% American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 5.1% two or more races and 2.1% some other race.
Seattle has one of the largest LGBT populations per capita, with 12.9% residents identifying as gay, bisexual or transgender.
The economy in Seattle is divided between older industrial companies and new, Internet and technology-based ones, and also services, design and clean technologies. In 2011, the gross metropolitan product was $231 billion, making it the 12th largest metropolitan economy in the country. The Port of Seattle, as a gateway for trade with Asia and cruises to Alaska, is the eighth largest USA port for container capacity.
Seattle is home of the three Fortune 500 companies: Amazon.com, Starbucks and Nordstrom. Other Fortune 500 companies based in the area but not in the city proper include Nintendo, Costco, T-Mobile USA, PACCAR and Providence Health & Services. Boeing used to be the largest company based in Seattle before its headquarters moved to Chicago.
Seattle is a city of coffee drinkers and in addition to Starbucks it is also home to Tully’s and Seattle’s Best Coffee, as well as a number of small, family-operated and artisanal roasters and cafes.
Culture and Arts in Seattle
The city is home to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Opera and pacific Northwest Ballet. Seattle has around 100 theatre companies and over 20 theatre venues. It also has a strong spoken word and slam poetry scene.
Still, what is Seattle probably most famous for culturally is its popular music scene. The city is considered to be the birthplace of grunge, with bands such as Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. It is also home to many prominent jazz musicians, most notably Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Kenny G, as well as celebrated metal bands like Queensryche, Himsa, Nevermore and Sunn O))). The legendary record label Sub Pop started in Seattle and its roster today, in addition to the bands of the grunge era, includes names such as Band of Horses, Sunny Day Real Estate, Death Cab For Cutie and Modest Mouse.
The largest institution of higher education in Seattle in the University of Washington. Other institutions include Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, City University, Antioch University, Cornish College of Arts, Pratt Fine Arts Center, The Art Institute of Seattle, as well as several community colleges.