Dallas is a city in the U.S. state of Texas and the largest city and seat of Dallas County, with portions extending into Collin, Denton, Kaufman and Rockwall counties. With an estimated 2018 population of 1,345,047, it is the ninth most-populous city in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio. Located in North Texas, the city of Dallas is the main core of the largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States and the largest inland metropolitan area in the U.S. that lacks any navigable link to the sea. It is the most populous city in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country at 7.5 million people as of 2018.
Dallas and nearby Fort Worth were initially developed due to the construction of major railroad lines through the area allowing access to cotton, cattle and later oil in North and East Texas. The construction of the Interstate Highway System reinforced Dallas’s prominence as a transportation hub, with four major interstate highways converging in the city and a fifth interstate loop around it. Dallas then developed as a strong industrial and financial center and a major inland port, due to the convergence of major railroad lines, interstate highways and the construction of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. In addition, Dallas has DART, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, with different colored train lines that transport throughout the metroplex.
Dominant sectors of its diverse economy include defense, financial services, information technology, telecommunications, and transportation. Dallas is home to 9 Fortune 500 companies within the city limits. The Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex hosts additional Fortune 500 companies, including American Airlines (Fort Worth) and Exxon Mobile (Irving). Over 41 colleges and universities are located within its metropolitan area, which is the most of any metropolitan area in Texas. The city has a population from a myriad of ethnic and religious backgrounds and one of the largest LGBT communities in the U.S. WalletHub named Dallas the fifth most-diverse city in the U.S. in 2018.
Preceded by thousands of years of varying cultures, the Caddo people inhabited the Dallas area before Spanish colonists claimed the territory of Texas in the 18th century as a part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Later, France also claimed the area but never established much settlement. In all, six flags have flown over Dallas: those of France, Spain, and Mexico, the flag of the Republic of Texas, the Confederate flag, and the flag of the United States of America.
In 1819, the Adams-Onís Treaty between the United States and Spain defined the Red River as the northern boundary of New Spain, officially placing the future location of Dallas well within Spanish territory. The area remained under Spanish rule until 1821, when Mexico declared independence from Spain, and the area was considered part of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas. In 1836, Texians, with a majority of Anglo-American settlers, gained independence from Mexico and formed the Republic of Texas.
Three years after Texas achieved independence, John Neely Bryan surveyed the area around present-day Dallas. In 1839, accompanied by his dog and a Cherokee he called Ned, he planted a stake in the ground on a bluff located near three forks of the Trinity River and left. Two years later, in 1841, he returned to establish a permanent settlement named Dallas. The origin of the name is uncertain. The official historical marker states it was named after Vice President George M. Dallas of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, this is disputed. Other potential theories for the origin include his brother, Commodore Alexander James Dallas, as well as brothers Walter R. Dallas or James R. Dallas. A further theory gives the origin as the village of Dallas, Moray, Scotland, similar to the way Houston, Texas was named after Sam Houston whose ancestors came from the Scottish village of Houston, Renfrewshire. The Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845 and Dallas County was established the following year. Dallas was formally incorporated as a city on February 2, 1856.