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In , a population of , lives within the city limits  , making it the 63rd- largest city in the U. The metropolitan population of 2,, is the largest in both the Ohio Valley and Appalachia , the second-largest in Pennsylvania behind Philadelphia , and the 27th-largest in the U. Pittsburgh is located in the south west of the state, at the confluence of the Allegheny , Monongahela , and Ohio rivers. The city developed as a vital link of the Atlantic coast and Midwest , as the mineral-rich Allegheny Mountains made the area coveted by the French and British empires, Virginians , Whiskey Rebels , and Civil War raiders.
Aside from steel, Pittsburgh has led in manufacturing of aluminum , glass , shipbuilding , petroleum , foods , sports , transportation , computing , autos , and electronics. Today, Google , Apple Inc. The area has served as the long-time federal agency headquarters for cyber defense , software engineering , robotics , energy research and the nuclear navy. In , Pittsburgh was listed among the "eleven most livable cities in the world";  The Economist ' s Global Liveability Ranking placed Pittsburgh as the first- or second-most livable city in the United States in , , , and The area of the Ohio headwaters was long inhabited by the Shawnee and several other settled groups of Native Americans.
Michael Bezallion was the first to describe the forks of the Ohio in a manuscript, and later that year European fur traders established area posts and settlements. In , French soldiers from Quebec launched an expedition to the forks to unite Canada with French Louisiana via the rivers. General John Forbes finally took the forks in Forbes began construction on Fort Pitt , named after William Pitt the Elder while the settlement was named "Pittsborough".
Fort Pitt is notable as the site of an early use of smallpox for biological warfare. Lord Jeffery Amherst ordered blankets contaminated from smallpox victims to be distributed in to the tribes surrounding the fort. The disease spread into other areas, infected other tribes, and killed hundreds of thousands. During this period, the powerful nations of the Iroquois Confederacy , based in New York, had maintained control of much of the Ohio Valley as hunting grounds by right of conquest after defeating other tribes.
By the terms of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix , the Penns were allowed to purchase the modern region from the Iroquois. A survey referenced the future city as the "Manor of Pittsburgh". On March 8, Bedford County, Pennsylvania was created to govern the frontier. On April 16, , the city's first civilian local government was created as Pitt Township. Following the American Revolution , the village of Pittsburgh continued to grow.
One of its earliest industries was boat building for settlers of the Ohio Country. In , Thomas Viceroy completed a town plan which was approved by the Penn family attorney. Pittsburgh became a possession of Pennsylvania in The following year, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was started, and in , the Pittsburgh Academy was chartered. Unrest during the Whiskey Rebellion of resulted in federal troops being sent to the area.
By , glass manufacture began, while the population grew to around 1, Settlers came via routes over the Appalachian Mountains or through the Great Lakes. Fort Pitt now Pittsburgh at the source of the Ohio River became the main base for settlers moving into the Northwest Territory. The War of cut off the supply of British goods, stimulating American industry. By , Pittsburgh was producing significant quantities of iron, brass, tin, and glass.
On March 18, , the year-old local government became a city. It was served by numerous river steamboats, that increased trading traffic on the rivers. In the s, many Welsh people from the Merthyr steelworks immigrated to the city following the aftermath of the Merthyr Rising. By the s, Pittsburgh was one of the largest cities west of the Allegheny Mountains. The Great Fire of Pittsburgh destroyed over a thousand buildings in The city rebuilt with the aid of Irish immigrants who came to escape the Great Famine.
By , Pittsburgh's 1, factories were consuming 22 million coal bushels yearly. Coal mining and iron manufacturing attracted waves of European immigrants to the area, the most came from Germany. While Pennsylvania had been established as a free state after the Revolution, enslaved African Americans sought freedom here through escape as refugees from the South, or occasionally fleeing from travelers they were serving who stayed in the city. There were active stations of the Underground Railroad in the city, and numerous refugees were documented as getting help from station agents and African-American workers in city hotels.
Many slaves left the city and county for Canada after Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act , as it required cooperation from law enforcement even in free states and increased penalties. From to , the black population in Allegheny County dropped from 3, to 2, as people headed to more safety in Canada. The American Civil War boosted the city's economy with increased iron and armament demand by the Union.
He adopted the Bessemer process to increase production. Manufacturing was key to growth of Pittsburgh and the surrounding region. Railroad lines were built into the city along both rivers, increasing transportation access to important markets. In , J. Morgan and attorney Elbert H. Gary merged Carnegie Steel Company and several other companies into U. By , Pittsburgh was the nation's 8th-largest city , accounting for between one-third and one-half of national steel output.
The city's population swelled to more than a half million, attracting numerous European immigrants to its industrial jobs. By , non-Hispanic whites were During World War II , demand for steel increased and area mills operated 24 hours a day to produce 95 million tons of steel for the war effort. The city's reputation as the "arsenal of democracy"   was being overshadowed by James Parton 's observation of Pittsburgh being "hell with the lid off. Following the war, the city launched a clean air and civic revitalization project known as the "Renaissance," cleaning up the air and the rivers.
The "Renaissance II" project followed in , focused on cultural and neighborhood development. The industrial base continued to expand through the s, but beginning in the early s both the area's steel and electronics industries imploded during national industrial restructuring. There were massive layoffs from mill and plant closures. Although Pittsburgh successfully shifted its economy and remained viable, the city's population has never rebounded to its industrial-era highs.
While , people lived in the city proper in , a combination of suburbanization and economic turbulence resulted in a decrease in city population, even as the metropolitan area population increased again. During the late s recession , Pittsburgh was economically strong, adding jobs when most cities were losing them. It was one of the few cities in the United States to see housing property values rise.
Pittsburgh has an area of The 80th meridian west passes directly through the city's downtown. The city is on the Allegheny Plateau , within the ecoregion of the Western Allegheny Plateau ,  The Downtown area also known as the Golden Triangle sits where the Allegheny River flowing from the northeast and Monongahela River from the southeast form the Ohio River.
The convergence is at Point State Park and is referred to as "the Point. The southern, western, and northern areas of the city are primarily residential. Many Pittsburgh neighborhoods are steeply sloped with two-lane roads. More than a quarter of neighborhood names make reference to "hills," "heights," or similar features. The steps of Pittsburgh consist of sets of outdoor public stairways with 44, treads and 24, vertical feet.
They include hundreds of streets composed entirely of stairs, and many other steep streets with stairs for sidewalks. Bike and walking trails have been built to border many of the city's rivers and hollows. The city consists of the Downtown area, called the Golden Triangle,  and four main areas surrounding it.
These surrounding areas are subdivided into distinct neighborhoods Pittsburgh has 90 neighborhoods. This district contains many theaters and arts venues and is home to a growing residential segment. Most significantly, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is embarking on RiverParc, a four-block mixed-use "green" community, featuring residential units and multiple towers between 20 and 30 stories. New condo towers have been constructed and historic office towers are converted to residential use, increasing hour residents.
Downtown is served by the Port Authority 's light rail system and multiple bridges leading north and south. Oakland , heavily populated by undergraduate and graduate students, is home to most of the universities, Schenley Park and the Petersen Events Center. The Strip District to the west along the Allegheny River is an open-air marketplace by day and a clubbing destination by night. The North Side is home to various neighborhoods in transition. What is known today as Pittsburgh's North Side was once known as Allegheny City , and operated as a city independently of Pittsburgh.
Allegheny City merged with Pittsburgh under great protest from its citizens. The North Side is primarily composed of residential neighborhoods and is noteworthy for well-constructed and architecturally interesting homes. Many buildings date from the 19th century and are constructed of brick or stone and adorned with decorative woodwork, ceramic tile, slate roofs and stained glass. The South Side was once the site of the Pennsylvania Railroad railyards and associated dense, inexpensive housing for mill and railroad workers.
Since the late 20th century, the city undertook a Main Street program in cooperation with the National Trust for Historic Preservation , encouraging design and landscape improvements on East Carson Street, and supporting new retail. It collaborated with the community and various developers to create a master plan for a mixed-use development, to include a riverfront park, office space, housing, health-care facilities, and indoor practice fields for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers.
Construction began in The SouthSide Works has been open since , featuring many stores, restaurants, offices, and the world headquarters for American Eagle Outfitters. The neighborhoods of Shadyside and Squirrel Hill are large, wealthy neighborhoods with some apartments and condos. Bloomfield is Pittsburgh's Little Italy and is known for its Italian restaurants and grocers. Lawrenceville is a revitalizing rowhouse neighborhood popular with artists and designers; it is expected to benefit from the recent new construction of a new Children's Hospital.
The West End includes Mt. Washington , with its famous view of the Downtown skyline and numerous other residential neighborhoods such as Sheraden and Elliott. Many of Pittsburgh's patchwork of neighborhoods still retain ethnic characters reflecting the city's settlement history. These include:.
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In , a population of , lives within the city limits  , making it the 63rd- largest city in the U. The metropolitan population of 2,, is the largest in both the Ohio Valley and Appalachia , the second-largest in Pennsylvania behind Philadelphia , and the 27th-largest in the U. Pittsburgh is located in the south west of the state, at the confluence of the Allegheny , Monongahela , and Ohio rivers. The city developed as a vital link of the Atlantic coast and Midwest , as the mineral-rich Allegheny Mountains made the area coveted by the French and British empires, Virginians , Whiskey Rebels , and Civil War raiders. Aside from steel, Pittsburgh has led in manufacturing of aluminum , glass , shipbuilding , petroleum , foods , sports , transportation , computing , autos , and electronics.
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