Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas and the fourth-most populous city in the United States, with a census-estimated 2016 population of 2.303 million within a land area of 599.59 square miles (1,552.9 km2). It is also the largest city in the Southern United States, and the seat of Harris County. Located in Southeast Texas near the Gulf of Mexico, it is the principal city of the Greater Houstonmetro area, which is the fifth-most populated MSA in the United States.
Houston was founded on August 30, 1836, near the banks of Buffalo Bayou (now known as Allen’s Landing)and incorporated as a city on June 5, 1837. The city was named after former General Sam Houston, who was president of the Republic of Texas and had commanded and won at the Battle of San Jacinto 25 miles (40 km) east of where the city was established. The burgeoning port and railroad industry, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city’s population. In the mid-20th century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center—the world’s largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA‘s Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located.