Waco ( WAY-koh) is the county seat of McLennan County, Texas, United States. It is situated along the Brazos River and I-35, halfway between Dallas and Austin. The city had a 2010 population of 124,805, making it the 22nd-most populous city in the state. The 2019 US Census population estimate is 139,236. The Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of McLennan and Falls Counties, which had a 2010 population of 234,906. Falls County was added to the Waco MSA in 2013. The 2019 US Census population estimate for the Waco MSA is 273,920.
Indigenous peoples occupied areas along the river for thousands of years. In historic times, the area of present-day Waco was occupied by the Wichita Indian tribe known as the "Waco" (Spanish: Hueco or Huaco).
In 1824, Thomas M. Duke was sent to explore the area after violence erupted between the Waco people and the European settlers. His report to Stephen F. Austin, described the Waco village:
This town is situated on the West Bank of the river.