Olympia is the capital of the U.S. state of Washington and the county seat of Thurston County. It was incorporated on January 28, 1859. The population was 46,479 as of the 2010 census, making it the 24th largest city in the state. The city borders Lacey to the east and Tumwater to the south. Olympia is a cultural center of the southern Puget Sound region. Olympia is located 60 miles (100 km) southwest of Seattle, the largest city in the state of Washington.
The site of Olympia has been home to Lushootseed-speaking peoples for thousands of years, including Squaxin, Nisqually, Puyallup, Chehalis, Suquamish, and Duwamish.
The first recorded visit by Europeans was in 1792 when Peter Puget and a crew from the British Vancouver Expedition explored the site. In 1846, Edmund Sylvester and Levi Smith jointly claimed the land that now comprises downtown Olympia. In 1851, the U.S. Congress established the Customs District of Puget Sound for Washington Territory and Olympia became the home of the customs house. Its population steadily expanded from Oregon Trail immigrants. In 1850, the town settled on the name Olympia, at the suggestion of local resident Colonel Isaac N. Ebey, due to its view of the Olympic Mountains to the Northwest. The area began to be served by a small fleet of steamboats known as the Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet.
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