Pittsburgh is the second largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is the county seat of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Built on land surrounding the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, where they merge to form the Ohio river, Pittsburgh features a skyline of 151 skyscrapers, 446 bridges, two inclines and a pre-revolutionary fortification. Residents of the city are called Pittsburghers. The downtown area is located on the triangular parcel at the confluence of the rivers. Pittsburgh is noted for bridges of all types throughout the city and is commonly known as the "The City of Bridges" or "The Bridge Capital" of the U.S.
Pittsburgh's economy was fueled by manufacturing until the 1980s. The city's economy is now largely based on healthcare, education, technology and financial services. Robotics, in particular, is a major sector of the local economy. The Wall Street Journal dubbed the city "Roboburgh."
Pittsburgh remains the principal cultural and economic influence in the eastern Ohio River Valley, despite a declining population that has begun to rebound since 2006. Because of its low cost of living, economic opportunities, education, transportation and medical infrastructure, Pittsburgh is consistently ranked high in livability surveys. In 2007, Pittsburgh was named "America's Most Livable City" by Places Rated Almanac and was one of the ten cleanest cities in the world in 2007.
The first Europeans arrived in the 1710s as traders. Michael Bezallion was the first to describe the forks of the Ohio in a manuscript in 1717, and later that year European traders established posts and settlements in the area. In 1749, French soldiers from Quebec launched a serious expedition to the forks in hopes of uniting French Canada with French Louisiana via the rivers. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia sent Major George Washington to warn the French to withdraw. During 1753–1754, the English hastily built Fort Prince George, but a larger French expedition forced them to evacuate and constructed Fort Duquesne on the site. These events led to the French and Indian War. British General Braddock's campaign (with Washington as second-in-command) to take Fort Duquesne failed, but a year later General John Forbes's subsequent campaign succeeded. After forcing the French to surrender Fort Duquesne in 1758, he ordered the construction of Fort Pitt, named after British Secretary of State William Pitt the Elder. He also named the settlement between the rivers "Pittsborough."
During Pontiac's Rebellion, Ohio Valley and Great Lakes tribes besieged Fort Pitt for two months. Fort Pitt, unlike Detroit, Mackinac, and other major forts on the frontier, was the only one to withstand the Indian uprising and not surrender. In many ways, it was Fort Pitt that ensured westward expansion by defeating the last great Indian rebellion. Colonel Bouquet defeated Pontiac's forces in the Battle of Bushy Run just to the east of the forks.
In the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix, the descendants of William Penn purchased from the Six Nations western lands that included most of the present site of Pittsburgh. In 1769, a survey was made of the land situated between the two rivers, called the "Manor of Pittsburgh." Both Virginia and Pennsylvania claimed the Pittsburgh area during colonial times and would continue to do so until 1780 when both states agreed to extend the Mason-Dixon Line westward, placing Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.
Following the American Revolution, the village of Pittsburgh continued to grow. One of its earliest industries was building boats for settlers to enter the Ohio Country. In 1784, the laying out of the "Town of Pittsburgh" was completed by Thos. Viceroy of Bedford County and approved by the attorney of the Penns in Philadelphia. The year 1794 saw the short-lived Whiskey Rebellion. The Act of March 5, 1804, which modified the provision of the old charter of the Borough of Pittsburgh in 1794 (the original of which is not known to exist), refers throughout to the "Borough of Pittsburgh."[citations needed]
The War of 1812 cut off the supply of British goods, stimulating American manufacture. By 1815, Pittsburgh was producing significant quantities of iron, brass, tin and glass products. The Act of March 18, 1816 incorporated the City of Pittsburgh. The original charter was burned when the old Court House was destroyed by fire. In the 1830s, many Welsh people from the steelworks of Merthyr migrated to the city following the civil strife and aftermath of the Merthyr Riots of 1831. By the 1840s, Pittsburgh was one of the largest cities west of the Allegheny Mountains. A great fire burned over a thousand buildings in 1845, but the city rebuilt. By 1857, Pittsburgh's 1,000 factories were consuming 22,000,000 bushels of coal yearly.
The American Civil War boosted the city's economy with increased production of iron and armaments. Steel production began by 1875, when Andrew Carnegie founded the J. Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, which eventually evolved into the Carnegie Steel Company. The success and growth of Carnegie Steel was attributed to Henry Bessemer, inventor of the Bessemer Process.
In 1901, the U.S. Steel Corporation was formed, and by 1911 Pittsburgh was producing between a third and a half of the nation's steel. The city's population swelled to half a million, many of whom were immigrants from Europe who arrived via the great migration through Ellis Island. During World War II, Pittsburgh produced 95 million tons of steel. By this time, the pollution from burning coal and steel production created a black fog (or smog).
Following the war, the city launched a clean air and civic revitalization project known as the "Renaissance." This much-acclaimed effort was followed by the "Renaissance II" project, begun in 1977 and focusing more on cultural and neighborhood development than its predecessor. The industrial base continued to expand through the 1960s, but beginning in the 1970s and 1980s, the steel industry in the region imploded, with massive layoffs and mill closures.
Beginning in the 1980s, the city shifted its economic base to services, tourism, largely based on healthcare, medicine, and high technology such as robotics. During this transition, however, the city's population shrank from 680,000 in 1950 to 330,000 in 2000.
Note: Although medical research is often cited as a recent addition to Pittsburgh's economic portfolio, major advances go back several decades. Working at the University of Pittsburgh in the 1950s, Jonas Salk developed the first successful vaccine for large-scale immunization against poliomyelitis (a.k.a. polio or infantile paralysis). Also, several types of organ transplants were pioneered in Pittsburgh by Dr. Thomas Starzl beginning in 1983. Pittsburgh's hospitals and universities remain the hosts for some of the premier medical research facilities in the world.
Pittsburgh is home to the following institutions of higher learning:
The most visible institutions of higher education in Pittsburgh are Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon University is ranked in the top 25 of national universities in US News & World Report; the university's strengths include computer science, drama, business, public policy, engineering, design, art, and architecture. The University of Pittsburgh, ranked in the top 25 public universities in US News & World Report, has its strengths in philosophy of science, Asian studies, business, philosophy, law, engineering, and medical care.
Pittsburgh Public School teachers are paid well relative to their peers, ranking 17th in 2000–2001 among the 100 largest cities by population for the highest minimum salary offered to teachers with a BA ($34,300). Pittsburgh ranked fifth in the highest maximum salary offered to teachers with an MA ($66,380). Local public schools include many charter and magnet schools, including City Charter High School (computer and technology focused), Pittsburgh Montessori School (formerly Homewood Montessori), Pittsburgh Gifted Center, Frick International Studies Academy, Rogers Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, and several schools for blind, deaf, or otherwise challenged children.
Private schools in Pittsburgh include Seton-La Salle Catholic High School, a merger of the former South Catholic and Elizabeth Ann Seton High Schools. Located in the South Hills, Seton-La Salle is the highest enrolled co-educational high school in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Central Catholic High School is run by the Christian Brothers of St. John Baptiste de La Salle. Oakland Catholic High School, an all-girls high school, is located less than two blocks away from Central Catholic High School. Both high schools are located in Oakland. The Shadyside neighborhood includes Winchester Thurston School and The Ellis School. Shady Side Academy, whose main campuses are located in Fox Chapel, has a junior high school in the neighborhood of Point Breeze.
Bishop Canevin High School, located in Carnegie, is a Catholic, diocesan, co-educational, college-preparatory institution.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, wealthy businessmen and nonprofit organizations donated millions of dollars to create educational and cultural institutions. As a result, Pittsburgh is rich in art and culture.
Among the professional music venues, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performs in Heinz Hall, and the Pittsburgh Opera performs in the Benedum Center. Both The Benedum Center and Heinz Hall provide venues for other groups, such as the River City Brass Band and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. Pittsburgh has a long tradition of jazz, blues and bluegrass music. Pittsburgh also has a large indie and punk rock scene. Additionally the National Negro Opera Company was founded in Pittsburgh, and was the first all African-American opera company in the United States. This led to the prominence of African-American singers like Leontyne Price in the world of opera.
Pittsburgh Dance Council and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater host a variety of dance events. Polka, folk, square and round dancing have a long history in the city and are celebrated by the internationally famous Duquesne University Tamburitzans, a multicultural academy dedicated to the preservation and presentation of folk songs and dance.
Museums include the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Frick Art & Historical Center. Installation art is featured outdoors at ArtGardens of Pittsburgh. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has extensive dinosaur collections and an Ancient Egypt wing. The Carnegie Science Center is technology oriented. The Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum are located in the Strip District. The unusual and eclectic Bayernhof Music Museum is six miles (9 km) from downtown.
In theater, the Pittsburgh Playhouse of Point Park University has four resident companies of professional actors. Other companies include Attack Theatre, City Theatre, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, Pittsburgh Musical Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theater, and Quantum Theater. The city's longest-running theatre show, Friday Nite Improvs, is an improv jam that has been performed in the Cathedral of Learning and other locations for 17 years.
The city has an extensive library system, both public and university. Most notable are the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh's University Library System, which rank 9th largest (public) and 18th largest (academic) in the nation, respectively. 
Pittsburgh often places high in lists of the nation's most livable cities. After placing fourth and first in the first two editions of "Places Rated Almanac," Pittsburgh went on to finish third in 1989, fifth in 1993, 14th in 1997 and 12th in 2000, before reclaiming the number one spot in 2007. The survey's primary author, David Savageau, has noted that Pittsburgh is the only city to finish in the top 20 of every edition.
In 2005, The Economist ranked Pittsburgh and Cleveland the top most livable cities in the United States, and tied the cities for 26th world-wide. In the 2004, 820-page book by Bert Sperling and Peter Sander, "Cities Ranked and Rated," Pittsburgh came in at #28.
Livability rankings typically consider factors such as cost of living, crime, and cultural opportunities. Pittsburgh has a low cost of living compared to other cities in the northeastern U.S. The average price for a 3- to 4-bedroom, 2-bath family home in Pittsburgh is $162,000, which is well below the national average of $264,540, as of October 2004, according to the Federal Housing Finance Board. However, in 2007, the American Lung Association ranked the Pittsburgh area as the nation's second most polluted metropolitan area.
Pittsburgh houses the country's National Aviary. The Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens features a Victorian-style greenhouse. The Botanic Garden of Western Pennsylvania and Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden are also located in the area.
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