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It is the center of the Columbia metropolitan statistical area, which had a population of 767,598 as of the 2010 United States Census, growing to 817,488 by July 1, 2016, according to 2015 U. The city is located approximately 13 miles (21 km) northwest of the geographic center of South Carolina, and is the primary city of the Midlands region of the state.

It lies at the confluence of the Saluda River and the Broad River, which merge at Columbia to form the Congaree River.

At the time, South Carolina sent more young men to England than did any other state.

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It was first chartered in 1786 and completed in 1800, making it one of the earliest canals in the United States.

With increased railroad traffic, it ceased operation around 1850.

The fall line is the spot where a river becomes unnavigable when sailing upstream and where falling water downstream can power a mill.

State Senator John Lewis Gervais of the town of Ninety Six introduced a bill that was approved by the legislature on March 22, 1786, to create a new state capital.

Columbia is also the location of the South Carolina State House, which is the center of government for the state.

In 1860, the city was the location of the South Carolina Secession Convention, which marked the departure of the first state from the Union in the events leading up to the Civil War.

A ferry was established by the colonial government in 1754 to connect the fort with the growing settlements on the higher ground on the east bank.

Like many other significant early settlements in colonial America, Columbia is on the fall line from the Piedmont region.

From the creation of Columbia by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1786, the site of Columbia was important to the overall development of the state.