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Dallas is the major city and economic center of the 12-county Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area . With an estimated population of almost 1.3 million people, is the third largest city in Texas behind Houston and only marginally smaller than San Antonio within city limits.
Founded in 1841 and formally incorporated as a city in February, 1856, the city's economy is primarily based on banking, commerce, telecommunications, computer technology, energy, and transportation. Located in North Texas and a major city in the American South & Southwest, Dallas is the core of the largest landlocked metropolitan area in the United States. The city's prominence despite this comes from its historical importance as a center for the oil and cotton industries, its position along numerous railroad lines, a strong industrial and financial sector, and its status as a major inland port.
Before Texas was claimed in the 18th century as a part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain by the Spanish Empire, the Dallas area was inhabited by the Caddo Native Americans. Later, France also claimed the area, but in 1819 the Adams-Onís Treaty made the Red River the northern boundary of New Spain, officially placing Dallas well within Spanish territory. The area remained under Spanish rule until 1821, when Mexico declared independence from Spain and the area became part of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas. In 1836, the Republic of Texas broke off from Mexico to become an independent nation. In 1839, four years into the Republic's existence, Warren Angus Ferris surveyed the area around present-day Dallas. Two years later, John Neely Bryan established a permanent settlement that later became the city of Dallas. The Republic of Texas was then annexed by the United States in 1845 and Dallas County was established the following year. It is uncertain whether the city was named after George Mifflin Dallas, the U.S. Vice President under James Knox Polk.
Dallas is the county seat of Dallas County. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 385 square miles (997.1 km2), 342.5 square miles (887.1 km2) of it being land and 42.5 square miles (110.1 km2) of it (11.03%) water. Dallas makes up one-fifth of the much larger urbanized area known as the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, in which one quarter of all Texans live.
Also according to the March 2009 U.S. Census Bureau release, had a population of 6,300,006 as of July 2008, making Dallas the fourth largest and number one fastest-growing (by population) metropolitan region in the United States in 2008.
The city's importance despite this comes from its historical significance as a center for the oil and cotton industries, its position along numerous railroad lines, a strong industrial and financial sector, and its status as a major inland port .This is due to the presence of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, one of the largest and busiest in the world.
Dallas' skyline contains several buildings over 700 feet in height. Although some of Dallas' architecture dates from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most of the notable architecture in the city is from the modernist and postmodernist eras. Iconic examples of modernist architecture include Reunion Tower, the JFK Memorial, I. M. Pei's Dallas City Hall and Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Good examples of postmodernist skyscrapers are Fountain Place, Bank of America Plaza, Renaissance Tower, JPMorgan Chase Tower, and Comerica Bank Tower. Several smaller structures are fashioned in the Gothic Revival style, such as the Kirby Building, and the neoclassical style, as seen in the Davis and Wilson Buildings. One architectural "hotbed" in the city is a stretch of historic houses along Swiss Avenue, which contains all shades and variants of architecture from Victorian to neoclassical. The Harwood Historic District protects a cross-section of Dallas commercial architecture from the 1880s to the 1950s.
The City of Dallas maintains and operates 406 parks on 21,000 acres of parkland. Its flagship park is the 260-acre Fair Park, which hosted the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936.
The city is also home to Texas' first and largest zoo, the 95 acres (0.38 km2) Dallas Zoo, which opened at its current location in 1888.
The city's parks contain 17 separate lakes, including White Rock and Bachman lakes, spanning a total of 4,400 acres.
As part of the ongoing Trinity River Project, the Great Trinity Forest, at 6,000 acres, is the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States and is part of the largest urban park in the United States. The Trinity River Audubon Center is a new addition to the park. Opened in 2008, serves as a gateway to many trails and other nature viewing activities in the area. The Trinity River Audubon Center is the first LEED-certified building constructed by the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department.
Dallas also hosts three of the 21 preserves of the extensive (3,200 acres) Dallas County Preserve System. Both the Joppa Preserve, the McCommas Bluff Preserve the Cedar Ridge Preserver are all within the Dallas city limits. The Cedar Ridge Preserve was formerly known as the Dallas Nature Center, but management was turned over to Audubon Dallas group, which now manages the 633 acre natural habitat park on behalf of the City of Dallas and Dallas County. the preserve sits at an elevation of 755 feet above sea level, and contains a variety of outdoor activities, including 10 miles of hiking trails and picnic areas.
Just southwest of Dallas is Cedar Hill State Park, maintained by the Texas Parks and Wildlife state agency. An 1,826-acre urban nature preserve, the park is located on the 7,500-acre Joe Pool Reservoir, and offers activities such as mountain biking, birding, camping and fishing; swimming is allowed at the swimming beach only.
To the west of Dallas in Arlington is Six Flags Over Texas, the original franchise in the Six Flags theme park chain. Hurricane Harbor, a large water park owned by Six Flags, is also in Arlington.
State Flower: Bluebonnet
State Bird: Mockingbird
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