The area was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado River by white pioneers who named the village Waterloo. In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly independent Republic of Texas. The city was renamed after Stephen F. Austin, known as the father of Texas. The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas. After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city and emerged as a center for technology and business. Today, Austin is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise, including two Fortune 500 corporations.
Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and the "Greenest City in America" by MSN. Also, according to CNN Headline News and Travel & Leisure magazine, Austin ranks No. 2 on the list of cities with the best people, referring to the personalities and attributes of the citizens. Austin was also voted America's #1 College Town by the Travel Channel. Austin was ranked the fifth-safest city in part because there are fewer than 3 murders per 100,000 people annually.