Austin is the capital of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas and the American Southwest, it is the 11th-largest city in the United States of America and the fourth-largest city in state of Texas. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. Austin is also the second largest state capital in the United States. Austin has a population of 842,592 (2012 estimate). The city is the cultural and economic center of the five-county Austin–Round Rock metropolitan area, which had an estimated population 1,834,303 (2012 U.S. Census).
In the 1830s, pioneers began to settle the area in central Austin along the Colorado River. After Republic of Texas Vice President Mirabeau B. Lamar visited the area during a buffalo-hunting expedition between 1837 and 1838, he proposed that the republic's capital then located in Houston, Texas, be relocated to the area situated on the north bank of the Colorado River near the present-day Congress Avenue Bridge. In 1839, the site was officially chosen as the republic's new capital (the republic's seventh and final location) and was incorporated under the name Waterloo. Shortly thereafter, the name was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas" and the republic's first secretary of state.