Spokane (pronunciation: /spoʊˈkæn/spoh-KAN) is a city in the state of Washington, in the northwestern United States. It is the seat of Spokane County, as well as the center of the Spokane Metropolitan Area. It is located on the Spokane River west of the Rocky Mountain foothills in eastern Washington, 92 miles (148 km) south of the Canada–US border, approximately 20 miles (30 km) from the Washington–Idaho border, and 280 miles (450 km) east of Seattle along Interstate 90. The city and wider Inland Northwest region is served by Spokane International Airport, 5 miles (8 km) west of downtown Spokane. According to the 2010 Census, Spokane had a population of 208,916, making it the second largest city in Washington and the 102nd largest city in the United States.
The first humans to live in the area, the Spokane people (their name meaning "children of the sun" in Salishan), arrived between 13,000 and 8,000 years ago, living off plentiful game. Known as the birthplace of Father's Day, Spokane is officially nicknamed the "Lilac City". David Thompson explored the area with the westward expansion and establishment of the North West Company's Spokane House in 1810. This trading post was the first long-term European settlement in Washington. Completion of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1881 brought settlers to the Spokane area, and that same year it was officially incorporated as a city with the name of "Spokan Falls". In the late 19th century, gold and silver were discovered in the Inland Northwest. The local economy depended on mining, timber, and agriculture until the 1980s. Spokane hosted the first environmentally themed World's Fair at Expo '74.
Many of the older Romanesque Revival-style buildings in the downtown area were designed by architect Kirtland Kelsey Cutter after the Great Fire of 1889. The city also features Riverfront and Manito parks, the Smithsonian-affiliated Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, the Davenport Hotel, and the Fox and Bing Crosby theaters. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and the city is also the center of the Mormon Spokane Washington Temple District. The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist represents the Anglican community. Gonzaga University was established in 1887 by the Society of Jesus, and the private Presbyterian Whitworth University opened three years later in north Spokane. In sports, the Gonzaga Bulldogs collegiate basketball team competes at the Division I level. Professional and semi-professional sports teams include the Spokane Indians in Minor League Baseball, Spokane Empire in arena football, and Spokane Chiefs in junior ice hockey. As of 2010, Spokane's only major daily newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, had a daily circulation of over 75,000.