Buffalo is the second-largest city in the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Erie County. It is located at the eastern end of Lake Erie, adjacent to the Canadian border with Southern Ontario, and is at the head of the Niagara River. With a population of 278,348, according to the 2020 census, Buffalo is the 76th-largest city in the United States. The city and nearby Niagara Falls share the two-county Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area. The MSA had an estimated population of 1.1 million in 2020, making it the 49th largest MSA in the United States. The Western New York region containing Buffalo is the largest population and economic center between Boston, Massachusetts and Cleveland, Ohio.
Before French exploration, the region was inhabited by nomadic Paleo-Indians, and later, the Neutral, Erie, and Iroquois nations. In the 18th century, Iroquois land surrounding Buffalo Creek was ceded through the Holland Land Purchase, and a small village was established at its headwaters. Buffalo was selected as the terminus of the Erie Canal in 1825 after improving its harbor, which led to its incorporation in 1832.