Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2013 Census Estimate, it had a population of 50,821, while its metropolitan area had 224,743. It is a center of government, commerce, and industry. Early industries important to Charleston included salt and the first natural gas well. Later, coal became central to economic prosperity in the city and the surrounding area. Today, trade, utilities, government, medicine, and education play central roles in the city's economy.
The first permanent settlement, Ft. Lee, was built in 1788. In 1791, Daniel Boone was a member of the Kanawha County Assembly.
Charleston is the home of the West Virginia Power (formerly the Charleston Alley Cats and the Charleston Wheelers) minor league baseball team, the West Virginia Wild minor league basketball team, and the annual 15-mile (24 km) Charleston Distance Run. Yeager Airport and the University of Charleston are also located in the city. West Virginia University and the WVU Institute of Technology (aka West Virginia Tech), Marshall University, and West Virginia State University also have higher education campuses in the area.
Charleston is also home to McLaughlin Air National Guard Base of the West Virginia Air National Guard.
The city also contains public parks, such as Cato Park and Coonskin Park, and the Kanawha State Forest, a large public state park that sustains a pool, camping sites, several biking/walking trails, picnic areas, as well as several shelters provided for recreational use.