Austin, Texas

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Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest,[5] it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the fifteenth most populous city in the United States.[6] It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006.[7] Austin has a population of 786,386 (2009 U.S. Census estimate).[2] The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area, with a population of over 1.7 million (2009 U.S. Census estimate),[8] making it the 35th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.

The area was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado River by pioneers who named the village Waterloo.[9] In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly independent Republic of Texas. The city was renamed after Stephen F. Austin, known as the father of Texas.[9] The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas.[10] After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city in the 1980s and emerged as a center for technology and business.[9] The Austin–Round Rock area is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise, including the headquarters of four Fortune 500 corporations: Whole Foods Market, Freescale Semiconductor, Forestar Group, and Dell.[11] On March 12, 2010, Facebook accepted a grant to build a downtown office that could bring as many as 200 jobs to the city.[12]

Residents of Austin are known as "Austinites" and include a diverse mix of university professors, students, politicians, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers, and white-collar workers.[13] The city is home to development centers for many technology corporations and in the high-tech 1990's adopted the nickname "Silicon Hills". However, the current official slogan promotes Austin as "The Live Music Capital of the World", a reference to the many musicians and live music venues within the area.[1][14] In recent years, many Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird"; this refers partly to the eclectic and liberal lifestyle of many Austin residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses.[15] Long ago, Austin also became known as the city of the "Violet Crown" for the wintertime violet glow of color across the hills just after sunset.[16] Even today, many Austin businesses use the term "violet crown" in their name.

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