Seattle, a city in the state of Washington, on an arm of the Puget Sound and on Lake Washington, with 517,000 inhabitants. (agglom. Seattle-Tacoma approx. 2.5 million inhabitants).
Seattle is the most important city in the northwest of the United States and has a good port with important import and export trade (mainly aimed at East Asia), dock facilities and shipbuilding. Seattle is also home to a not inconsiderable fishing fleet (mainly halibut).
The main industry includes aircraft construction (Boeing), computer software (Microsoft) and missile construction. It also includes production of electronics, precision instruments, plastics, iron and steel, machinery, electrical equipment and foodstuffs (including coffee). Significant tourism.
Seattle is the starting point for several shipping lines, as well as a hub for airlines (two airports) and highways and railways. It has a Roman Catholic Archbishop and is home to the University of Washington (founded 1861), Catholic Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Bastyr University, and a music conservatory. The Seattle Art Museum, housed (since 1991) in a building designed by Robert Venturi, houses mainly local, African and Oriental art, the Henry Art Gallery specializes in 19th- and 20th-century (European) painting. Northwest of the city center (connected by monorail) is Seattle Center (built for the 1962 World’s Fair), which includes an indoor amphitheater, an opera house (home to the Seattle Opera,
The North Gate Shopping Center (1947-1950) by J. Graham served as a model for shopping centers throughout the United States; Graham’s is also the Space Needle, built for the World’s Fair, a slender, 185 m high tower with a revolving restaurant at the top. Also worth seeing are the restored Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square (with the so-called underground city), and the Museum of Flight (aviation museum). Several festivals (including film and art) take place in Seattle every year.
The town grew up around a settlement from 1852 engaged in forestry and timber export. Growth began after the completion of a transcontinental railroad to Tacoma, south of Seattle.
The city served as a gateway and supply center to Alaska and Canada during the gold rush that began in 1897. During the First World War, port activities increased in importance. Since World War II, the economy has been dominated by the aerospace industry.
Cultural life has also received an important boost in recent decades. In the early 1990s, the city came to the fore as the cradle of grunge, a movement in pop music.