Seattle, chief city of the state of Washington, U.S., seat (1853) of King county, the largest metropolis of the Pacific Northwest, and one of the largest and most affluent urban centres in the United States. A major port of entry and an air and sea gateway to Asia and Alaska, Seattle lies alongside Puget Sound, a deep inland arm of the northern Pacific Ocean, and is at the centre of a conurbation that is defined roughly by Everett to the north, Bellevue to the east, and Tacoma to the south.
The city was settled on November 13, 1851, at what is now West Seattle. It was relocated the following year to a site across Elliott Bay near a Duwamish Indian village. It owes its name to the Native American leader Seattle, chief of the Duwamish, Suquamish, and other tribes of the Puget Sound area. Areas of great natural beauty, including the densely forested Olympic Peninsula and the Cascade Range, surround the city. Its urban centre, dominated by tall skyscrapers that overlook Elliott Bay and enhanced by the city’s abundant parks and neighbourhoods, also offers a handsome prospect.
Character of the city
Seattle is a city of distinct neighbourhoods and urban districts that, though close to one another, change from one street to the next. Some neighbourhoods, notably those near the Duwamish Waterway to southwest of the city centre, are industrial in character, marked by rail yards, wharves, cranes, and low-income housing projects. Others, largely outside the city centre, are showcases for the opulence wrought by Seattle’s booming high-technology sector.
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