Wichita (/ˈwɪtʃɪtɔː/ WITCH-i-taw) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas and the county seat of Sedgwick County. As of 2017, the estimated population of the city was 390,591. Wichita is the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area which had an estimated population of 644,610 in 2015.
Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860s and was incorporated as a city in 1870. It became a destination for cattle drives traveling north from Texas to Kansas railroads, earning it the nickname "Cowtown."
In the 1920s and '30s, businessmen and aeronautical engineers established aircraft manufacturing companies in Wichita, including Beechcraft, Cessna, and Stearman Aircraft. The city became a U.S. aircraft production hub known as "The Air Capital of the World." Textron Aviation, Learjet, Airbus, and Spirit AeroSystems continue to operate design and manufacturing facilities in Wichita, and the city remains a major center of the American aircraft industry. Wichita is also home to McConnell Air Force Base, and Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, the largest airport in Kansas.
As an industrial hub, Wichita is a regional center of culture, media, and trade. It hosts several universities, large museums, theaters, parks, and entertainment venues, notably Intrust Bank Arena and Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center. The city's Old Cowtown Museum maintains historical artifacts and exhibits on the city's early history. Wichita State University is the third-largest post-secondary institution in the state.
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