Milwaukee (, locally ) is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States behind Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Detroit, Michigan. The seat of Milwaukee County, it is on Lake Michigan's western shore. Ranked by its estimated 2019 population of 590,157, Milwaukee is the 31st largest city in the United States and the third-largest city situated along one of the Great Lakes, behind Toronto and Chicago. It is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee metropolitan area which had a population of 2,043,904 in the 2014 census estimate. It is the fourth-most densely populated metropolitan area in the Midwest, surpassed only by Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Detroit, respectively. Milwaukee is considered a "Gamma −" global city as categorized by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network with a regional GDP of over $105 billion.
The first recorded inhabitants of the Milwaukee area are the Algonquin and Siouan peoples. French Catholic Jesuits, who ministered to Native Americans and fur traders, were the first Europeans to pass through the area. In 1818, the French Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau established a permanent settlement, and in 1846, Juneau's town combined with two neighboring towns to incorporate as the city of Milwaukee.