Cincinnati ( SIN-sin-NAT-ee) is a major city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the government seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located at the northern side of the confluence of the Licking and Ohio rivers, the latter of which marks the state line with Kentucky. The city is the economic and cultural hub of the Cincinnati metropolitan area. With an estimated population of 2,190,209, it is Ohio's largest metropolitan area and the nation's 29th-largest, and with a city population estimated at 303,940, Cincinnati is the third-largest city in Ohio and 64th in the United States. Cincinnati is within a day's drive of 49.7% of the United States populace, ranking it as fourth in the list of metro areas with the largest population base within one day's drive time. 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 United States eastern seaboard, as well as being the sixth-biggest city for a period spanning 1840 until 1860.
Cincinnati developed with fewer immigrants and less influence from Europe than East Coast cities in the same period. However, it received a significant number of German-speaking 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 strong commodity exploitation, economics, and the railroads, and St.