Atlanta is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia. With a 2020 census population of 498,715, it is the 38th most populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to more than six million people and the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Atlanta is the seat of Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia. Situated among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Atlanta features unique topography that includes rolling hills and the most dense urban tree coverage in the United States.
Atlanta was originally founded as the terminus of a major state-sponsored railroad. With rapid expansion, however, it soon became the convergence point among multiple railroads, spurring its rapid growth. The city's name derives from that of the Western and Atlantic Railroad's local depot, signifying the town's growing reputation as a transportation hub. Toward the end of the American Civil War, in November 1864, the city was almost entirely burned to the ground in General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea.