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Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest city in the United States. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of over 2.1 million people within a land area of 599.6 square miles (1,553 km2). Houston is the seat of Harris County, and its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the U.S., with over 6 million people.
Houston was founded in 1836 on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou 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-twentieth 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.