Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States. Houston’s land area of 599.6 square miles makes it the largest city in the Southern United States. In 2014 it was estimated Houston’s population was 2.239 million people.

In August 1836, two real estate entrepreneurs — Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen – purchased 6,642 acres of land along Buffalo Bayou to found a city, eventually naming the area after Sam Houston, the popular general at the Battle of San Jacinto. Houston was granted incorporation on June 5, 1837, with James S. Holman becoming its first mayor.

Houston has sports teams for every major professional league (excluding NHL). Teams include the Houston Astros (MLB), Houston Rockets (NBA), Houston Texans (NFL), Houston Dynamo (MLS), Houston Dash (NWSL), and the Scrap Yard Dawgs (NPF).

Houston’s freeway system comprises 739.3 miles of freeways and expressways in a ten-county metropolitan area. Houston’s highway system has a hub-and-spoke freeway structure serviced by multiple loops. The innermost loop is Interstate 610; the Beltway 8 and its freeway core, the Sam Houston Tollway, form the middle loop at a diameter of roughly 23 miles (37 km). The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) provides public transportation in the form of buses, light rail, and lift vans. Houston has the largest number of bike commuters in Texas with over 160 miles of dedicated bike ways.

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