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Milan (Italian: Milano, Italian pronunciation: [miˈlaːno]  ( listen); Western Lombard: Milan, About this sound listen ) is a city in Italy and the capital of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1,315,000, while the urban area is the largest in Italy and the fifth largest in the European Union with a population of 4,345,000 over an area of 2,370 km2 (915 sq mi).[2] The Milan metropolitan area, by far the largest in Italy, is estimated by the OECD to have a population of 7,400,000.[3]

The city was founded under the name of Medhlan,[4] by the Insubres, Celtic people. It was later captured by the Romans in 222 BC, and the city became very successful under the Roman Empire. Later Milan was ruled by the Visconti, the Sforza, the Spanish in the 16th century and the Austrians in the 18th century. In 1796, Milan was conquered by Napoleon I and he made it the capital of his Kingdom of Italy in 1805.[5][6] During the Romantic period, Milan was a major cultural centre in Europe, attracting several artists, composers and important literary figures. Later, during World War II, the city was badly affected by Allied bombings, and after German occupation in 1943, Milan became the main hub of the Italian resistance.[5] Despite this, Milan saw a post-war economic growth, attracting thousands of immigrants from Southern Italy and abroad.[5]

An international and cosmopolitan city, 15.2% of Milan's population is foreign born.[7] The city remains one of Europe's main transportation[8] and industrial hubs, and Milan is the EU's 10th most important centre for business and finance (2009)[9] with its economy (see economy of Milan) being the world's 26th richest by purchasing power,.[10] The Milan metropolitan area has Europe's 7th GDP in 2008.[11] The province of Milan (which increasingly is becoming a single administrative urban unit to supersede the limited commune) had a GDP pp per capita of around €40,000 in 2007 (161% of the EU 27 average) which was the highest of any Italian province [12] (Il Sole 24 Ore Quality of life survey 2008) and the city's workers have the highest average income rates in Italy,[12] and 26th in the world.[13] In addition, Milan is the world's 11th most expensive city for expatriate employees,[14] and according to a 2010 study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the city is the world's 12th most expensive to live in.[15] Its economic environment has made it, according to several studies, the world's 20th and Europe's 10th top business and financial centre,[16][17] having been highly successful in terms of city branding.[18]

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