Bridgeport is the most populous city in the state of Connecticut. Located in Fairfield County on the Pequonnock River and Long Island Sound, the city had a population of 144,229 in the 2010 United States Census and is the core of the Greater Bridgeport area.
The city is part of the Greater New York City Combined Statistical Area. It is the fifth-largest city in New England (behind Boston, Worcester, Providence and Springfield). Bridgeport is the center of the 48th-largest urban area in the United States, just behind Hartford (47th). Much of Bridgeport was originally a part of the township of Stratford.
English colonists began settling the city in the 1640s, obtaining land from the Paugussett Indian tribe. The settlement became a center of trade, shipbuilding, and whaling. In the 19th century, the city rapidly industrialized, attracting immigrants to the growing number of factory jobs. Manufacturing was the mainstay of the local economy until the 1970s. Industrial restructuring and suburbanization caused the loss of many jobs and affluent residents, leaving Bridgeport struggling with problems of poverty and crime. In the 21st century, conversion of office and factory buildings to residential use and other redevelopment is attracting new residents.
The circus-promoter and former mayor, P.T. Barnum, was a famous resident of the city. Barnum built three houses there, and housed his circus in town during winters. The first Subway restaurant opened in the North End section of the city in 1965. The Frisbie Pie Company was located here, and Bridgeport is credited as the birthplace of the Frisbee.