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Columbia is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and the largest city in Mid-Missouri.
With an estimated population of 94,428 in 2006, it is the principal municipality of the Columbia Metropolitan Area,
a region of 162,314 residents.
The city serves as the county seat of Boone County and as the location of the University of Missouri.
The college town is politically liberal and known by the nicknames "The Athens of Missouri," "College Town USA," and
Over half the population of Columbia possesses a bachelor's degree and over a quarter has graduate degrees,
making it one of the most highly educated municipalities in the United States.
Columbia was settled in Pre-Columbian times by the mound building Mississippian culture of Native Americans.
In 1818, a group of settlers incorporated under the Smithton Land Company purchased over 2,000 acres (8 km²)
and established the village of Smithton near present-day downtown Columbia.
In 1821, the settlers moved and re-named the settlement Columbiaa poetic name for the United States.
The founding of the University of Missouri in 1839 established the city as a center of education and research.
By 1851, two other institutions of higher education, Stephens College and Columbia College were established
within the city.
Located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Columbia is equidistant from St. Louis and Kansas City,
in a region known as "Mid-Missouri".
Today, Columbia has a highly diversified economy, and is often ranked high for its business atmosphere.
Never a strong center of industry and manufacturing, the city's economic base relies on the education, medical,
technology and insurance industries.
Studies consistently rank Columbia as a top city in which to live for educational facilities, health care,
technological savvy, economic growth, cultural opportunities and cost of living.
The city has been ranked as high as the second-best place to live in the United States by Money Magazine's
annual list and is regularly in the top 100.
People from Columbia are described as "Columbians."
read full wikipedia reference about Columbia, Missouri
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