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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 (also the author of The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boon (siq) Daniel Boone), named it "Losantiville" from four terms, each of different language, before his death in October 1788 (He was replaced by Israel Ludlow). 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.
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.
Cincinnati has been a pioneer city in many respects, including:
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