Atlanta is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the 37th 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 6 million people and the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Atlanta is the seat of Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia. Portions of the city extend eastward into neighboring DeKalb County. The city is situated among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and has the highest elevation among major cities east of the Mississippi River.
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. During the American Civil War, the city was almost entirely burned to the ground in General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea.