Cincinnati (/sɪnsᵻˈnæti/sin-si-NAT-ee) is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio that serves as county seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located on the north side of the confluence of the Licking with the Ohio River. The latter forms the border between the states of Ohio and Kentucky. Cincinnati is the third-largest city in Ohio and the 65th-largest city in the United States with a population of 296,945 people at the 2010 census. The larger Cincinnati metropolitan area had a population of 2,214,954 in 2010, making it the 28th-largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the United States and the largest centered in Ohio. The city is also part of the larger Cincinnati–Middletown–Wilmington Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which had a population of 2,172,191 in the 2010 census.
In the early 19th century, Cincinnati was an American boomtown in the heart of the country; it rivaled the larger coastal cities in size and wealth. Throughout much of the 19th century, it was listed among the top 10 U.S. cities by population, surpassed only by New Orleans and the older, established settlements of the Eastern Seaboard; at one point holding the position of sixth-largest city for a period spanning consecutive census reports from 1840 until 1860. It was by far the largest city in the west. Because it is the first major American city founded after the American Revolution as well as the first major inland city in the country, Cincinnati is sometimes thought of as the first purely "American" city.
Cincinnati developed with less European immigration or influence than eastern cities attracted in the same period; however, it received a significant number of German immigrants, who founded many of the city's cultural institutions. By the end of the 19th century, with the shift from steamboats to railroads drawing off freight shipping, trade patterns had altered and Cincinnati's growth slowed considerably. The city was surpassed in population by other inland cities, particularly Chicago, which developed based on commodity exploitation and the railroads, and St. Louis, for decades after the Civil War the gateway to westward migration.
Cincinnati is home to two major sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds, the oldest franchise in Major League Baseball, and the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. The University of Cincinnati, founded in 1819, is one of the 50 largest in the United States. Cincinnati is known for its historic architecture. In the late 1800s, Cincinnati was commonly referred to as "Paris of America", due mainly to such ambitious architectural projects as the Music Hall, Cincinnatian Hotel, and Shillito Department Store.