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Cincinnati was founded in late December 1788 by Mathias Denman, Colonel Robert Patterson and Israel Ludlow. The original surveyor, John Filson, named it "Losantiville" from four terms, each of different language, before his death in October 1788. It means "The city opposite the mouth of the (Licking) River", "ville" is French for "city", "anti" is Greek for "opposite", "os" is Latin for "mouth", and "L" was all that was included of "Licking River".
Cincinnati began as three settlements between the Little Miami and Great Miami rivers on the north shore of the Ohio River. Columbia was on the Little Miami, North Bend on the Great Miami. Losantiville, the central settlement, was opposite the mouth of the Licking River.
In 1789 Fort Washington was built to protect the settlements in the Northwest Territory. The post was constructed under the direction of General Josiah Harmar and was named in honor of President George Washington. 
In 1790, Arthur St. Clair, the governor of the Northwest Territory, changed the name of the settlement to "Cincinnati" in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati, of which he was president. The society gets its name from Cincinnatus, the Roman general and dictator, who saved the city of Rome from destruction and then quietly retired to his farm. The society honored the ideal of return to civilian life by military officers following the Revolution rather than imposing military rule. To this day, Cincinnati in particular, and Ohio in general, is home to a disproportionately large number of descendants of Revolutionary War soldiers who were granted lands in the state. Cincinnati's connection with Rome still exists today through its nickname of "The City of Seven Hills"  (a phrase commonly associated with Rome) and the town twinning program of Sister Cities International.
During the Civil War, a series of six artillery batteries were built along the Ohio River to protect the city. Only one, Battery Hooper, now the James A. Ramage Civil War Museum in Fort Wright, Kentucky is open to the public.
During the American Civil War, Cincinnati played a key role as a major source of supplies and troops for the Union Army. It also served as the headquarters for much of the war for the Department of the Ohio, which was charged with the defense of the region, as well as directing the army's offensive into Kentucky and Tennessee. Due to Cincinnati's commerce with slave states and history of settlement by southerners from eastern states, many people in the area were "Southern sympathizers". Some participated in the Copperhead movement in Ohio. In July 1863, the Union Army instituted martial law in Cincinnati due to the imminent danger posed by the Confederate Morgan's Raiders. Bringing the war to the North, they attacked several outlying villages, such as Cheviot and Montgomery.
In 1802, Cincinnati was chartered as a village, and in 1819, it was incorporated as a city. The introduction of steam navigation on the Ohio River in 1811 and the completion of the Miami and Erie Canal helped the city grow to 115,000 citizens by 1850. The nickname Porkopolis was coined around 1835, when Cincinnati was the country's chief hog packing center, and herds of pigs traveled the streets. Called the "Queen of the West" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (although this nickname was first used by a local newspaper in 1819), Cincinnati was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves escape from the South.
Cincinnati also is known as the "City of Seven Hills". The seven hills are fully described in the June, 1853 edition of the West American Review, "Article III--Cincinnati: Its Relations to the West and South". The hills form a crescent from the east bank of the Ohio River to the west bank: Mount Adams, Walnut Hills, Mount Auburn, Vine Street Hill, College Hill, Fairmount, and Mount Harrison.
Cincinnati was the site of many historical beginnings. In 1850 it was the first city in the United States to establish a Jewish Hospital. It is where America's first municipal fire department, the Cincinnati Fire Department, was established in 1853. Established in 1867, the Cincinnati Red Stockings (a.k.a. the Cincinnati Reds) became the world's first professional (all paid, no amateurs) baseball team in 1869. In 1935, major league baseball's first night game was played at Crosley Field. Cincinnati was the first municipality to build and own a major railroad in 1880. In 1902, the world's first re-inforced concrete skyscraper was built, the Ingalls Building.
In 1888, Cincinnati German Protestants community started a "sick house" ("Krankenhaus") staffed by deaconesses. It evolved into the city's first general hospital, and included nurses' training school. It was renamed Deaconess Hospital in 1917.
"The Sons of Daniel Boone", a forerunner to the Boy Scouts of America, began in Cincinnati in 1905. Because of the city's rich German heritage, the pre-prohibition era allowed Cincinnati to become a national forerunner in the brewing industry. During experimentation for six years (until 1939), Cincinnati's AM radio station, WLW was the first to broadcast at 500,000 watts. In 1943, King Records (and its subsidiary, Queen Records) was founded, and went on to record early music by artists who became highly successful and influential in Country, R&B, and Rock. WCET-TV was the first licensed public television station, established in 1954.  Cincinnati is home to radio's WEBN 102.7 FM, the longest-running album-oriented rock station in the United States, first airing in 1967. In 1976, the Cincinnati Stock Exchange became the nation's first all-electronic trading market.
The first sheriff, John Brown, was appointed September 2, 1788. The Ohio Act in 1802 provided for Cincinnati to have a village marshall and James Smith was appointed; the following year the town started a "night watch". In 1819, when Cincinnati was incorporated as a city, the first city marshal, William Ruffin, was appointed. In May 1828, the police force consisted of one captain, one assistant, and five patrolmen. By 1850, the city authorized positions for a police chief and six lieutenants, but it was 1853 before the first police chief, Jacob Keifer, was appointed and he was dismissed after 3 weeks.
Cincinnati accompanied its growth by paying men to act as its fire department in 1853, making the first full-time paid fire department in the United States. It was the first in the world to use steam fire engines.
The Cincinnati Red Stockings, a baseball team whose name and heritage inspired today's Cincinnati Reds, began their career in the 19th century as well. In 1868, meetings were held at the law offices of Tilden, Sherman, and Moulton to make Cincinnati's baseball team a professional one; it became the first regular professional team in the country in 1869. In its first year, the team won 57 games and tied one, giving it the best winning record of any professional baseball team in history.
In 1970 and 1975, the city completed Riverfront Stadium and Riverfront Coliseum, respectively, as the Cincinnati Reds baseball team emerged as one of the dominant teams of the decade. In fact, the Big Red Machine of 1975 and 1976 is considered by many to be one of the best baseball teams to ever play the game. Three key players on the team (Johnny Bench, Tony Pérez, and Joe Morgan), as well as manager Sparky Anderson, were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, while a fourth, Pete Rose, still holds the title for the most hits (4,256), singles (3,215), games played (3,562), games played in which his team won (1,971), at-bats (14,053) and outs (10,328) in baseball history.
In 1879, Procter & Gamble, one of Cincinnati's major soap manufacturers, began marketing Ivory Soap. It was marketed as "light enough to float." After a fire at the first factory, Procter & Gamble moved to a new factory on the Mill Creek and renewed soap production. The area became known as Ivorydale.
Additionally, Cincinnati was the largest manufacturer of carriages in the world. Flint Michigan was Cincinnati's closest rival, but was far behind in the extent of the industry. Around the turn of the century, Cincinnati manufactured approximately 140,000 four wheeled vehicles annually. There were numerous ancillary businesses. In example the Thomas H. Corcoran Co. of Norwood Ohio produced 50,000 pair of carriage lamps annually before they transitioned into auto lamps in 1905.
After World War II, Cincinnati unveiled a master plan for urban renewal that resulted in modernization of the inner city. Like other older industrial cities, Cincinnati suffered from economic restructuring and loss of jobs following deindustrialization in the mid-century.
The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are currently developing the Banks - an urban neighborhood along the city's riverfront including restaurants, clubs, offices, and homes with skyline views.
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