Winnipeg (i/ˈwɪnɪpɛɡ/) is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers (a point commonly known as The Forks).
The name "Winnipeg" comes from the Cree for "muddy waters". The Winnipeg area was a trading centre for Aboriginal peoples prior to the arrival of Europeans. The first fort was built there in 1738 by French traders. A settlement was later founded by the Selkirk settlers in 1812, the nucleus of which was incorporated as the City of Winnipeg in 1873. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, Winnipeg was one of the fastest growing cities in North America. The University of Manitoba, founded during this period, was the first university in Western Canada.
Winnipeg has a diversified economy, with sectors in finance, manufacturing, food and beverage production, culture, retail and tourism. Winnipeg is a major transportation hub, served by Richardson International Airport. The city has railway connections to the United States and Eastern and Western Canada through three Class I rail carriers.
Winnipeg is the seventh-largest municipality in Canada, with a population of 633,451 in the Canada 2006 Census. The city's census metropolitan area--consisting of the city of Winnipeg, ten nearby rural municipalities and the First Nations reserve of Broken head 4, Manitoba--is Canada's eighth-largest, with 694,668 inhabitants. Winnipeg's cultural organizations and festivals include the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Manitoba Opera, Le Cercle Moliere, Festival du Voyageur and Folklorama. Professional sports organizations based in the city include the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Winnipeg Jets, and the Winnipeg Gold eyes.