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Burien ( BEWR-ee-ən) is a suburban city in King County, Washington, United States, located south of Seattle on Puget Sound. As of the 2010 Census, Burien's population was 33,313, which is a 49.7% increase since incorporation in 1993. An annexation in 2010 increased the city's population significantly, and as of 2018 the population was an estimated 51,908.
Settlement in the Burien area dates to 1864, when George Ouellet (1831–1899), a French-Canadian born in Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, Quebec, purchased his first of several land patents for homestead sites directly from a federal land office. Ouellet had first arrived in the Washington Territory at Port Madison on Bainbridge Island, off the Kitsap Peninsula, in 1858. Three years after purchasing his homestead in the Burien area, he married 14-year-old Elizabeth Cushner, who was born in the Washington Territory, and started a family. Several years later, the Ouellet family moved to the White River Valley, near Auburn.
A popular local tale recounts that an early settler named Mike Kelly gave the community its first name after he emerged from the trees and said, "This is truly a sunny dale." Today, a few long-time residents still refer to the Burien area as Sunnydale.
In 1884, Gottlieb Burian (1837–1902) and his wife Emma (Wurm) Burian (1840–1905), German immigrants from Hussinetz, Lower Silesia, who owned two taverns in downtown Seattle, arrived in Sunnydale. The tiny community was without improved roads or commercial buildings and was reached primarily by trails. Burian built a cabin on the southeast corner of Lake Burien and reportedly formed the community into a town bearing his name (misspelled over the years).
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