Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States of America and the largest city within the state of Texas. The city has a population of 2.2 million within an area of 600 miles².
Houston was founded on August 30, 1836 by brothers Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The city was incorporated on June 5, 1837 and named after then-President of the Republic of Texas—former General Sam Houston—who had commanded at the Battle of San Jacinto, which took place 25 miles East of where the city was established. The burgeoning port and railroad industry, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city’s population. In the mid-twentieth century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center—the world’s largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where Mission Control Center is located.
Houston’s economy has a broad industrial base in the energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, transportation, and health care sectors; only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters. Commercially, Houston is ranked as a gamma world city, and the area is a leading center for building oilfield equipment. The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. The city has a multicultural population with a large and growing international community. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits—attracting more than 7 million visitors a year to the Houston Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and is one of few U.S. cities that offer year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.