The Port of Pittsburgh lies where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River in southwestern Pennsylvania in the Unites States. This inland port is the second busiest of its kind in the United States and the 19th busiest port of any kind in the country. It is located about 186 kilometers south of the Port of Erie and about 182 kilometers southeast of the Port of Cleveland, Ohio. In 2000, over 334 thousand people lived in the Port of Pittsburgh, and over 2.3 million lived in the metropolitan area.
In the past, the Port of Pittsburgh was famous for being the hub of the steel industry, but things have changed. The Port of Pittsburgh is a city of parks, valleys, and hills, but it is also the center of a large urban industrial region that includes 12 surrounding counties. Today, the Port of Pittsburgh economy is based on healthcare, technology, education, robotics, and finance. The city has successfully redeveloped old abandoned industrial sites with housing, shops, and offices. Although the Port of Pittsburgh suffered hard times in the 1970s when the steel industry weakened, it has rebounded.
Before Europeans came to the area, the Port of Pittsburgh region was inhabited by Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples. France and Britain competed for control of the area in the 18th Century. In 1758, General John Forbes and his British troops drove the French out of Fort Duquesne that they had build four years earlier.
The British constructed Fort Pitt, naming it for statesman William Pitt the Elder, in 1761 to make sure they dominated the source of the Ohio River. In 1763, the military defeated the indigenous peoples led by OttawaChief Pontiac who then agreed to allow white men to settle the area. Settlers began to enter the area, and after the American Revolution, the Port of Pittsburgh became an important last stop for pioneers heading west on the Ohio River.
During the 1800s, the Port of Pittsburgh's valuable location and the abundance of natural resources in the area drove significant growth and industry. In 1792, George Anschutz built a blast furnace there that foretold the coming of the iron and steel industry. In 1834, both the Portage Railroad and the Pennsylvania Canal began operating, opening huge new markets for shipping and trade. By 1850, the Port of Pittsburgh was called "Iron City."
After the American Civil War, immigrants from Europe flooded the city, and Golden Age industrialists like Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Mellon established their steel empires in the Port of Pittsburgh. The Port of Pittsburgh became the center for conflict between management and labor. In 1881, the American Federation of Labor was born in the Port of Pittsburgh.
By the beginning of the 20th Century, the Port of Pittsburgh was home to more than 320 thousand people. The city continued to grow through the end of World War II. The war brought a new flood of prosperity to the Port of Pittsburgh. By 1950, over 675 thousand people lived there, one quarter of them African Americans.
During the mid-20th Century, the Port of Pittsburgh gained its reputation as a dirty and polluted industrial collection of smoke stacks. By the 1950s, city leaders were addressing pollution problems. In 1957, the Port of Pittsburgh became the first city in the United States to have nuclear-generated electricity.
Due to the combination of decreased demand and foreign competition, the Port of Pittsburgh's steel industry had all but disappeared by the early 1980s. Unemployment was high, and the future looked dark. However, the Port of Pittsburgh was able to diversify its economy by emphasizing light industry and high technology. Factories began to produce chemicals and plastics, and research laboratories began to develop new environmental and biomedical technologies.
Today, much of the downtown Golden Triangle area has been rebuilt, and it contains many popular and well-attended sports and entertainment venues. The city is home to several major institutions of higher education. The Port of Pittsburgh is home to the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, a fine arts, natural history, and science center that enriches the city's cultural base. The Port of Pittsburgh is also home to some of the United States' major sports teams including the Pittsburgh Pirates (baseball) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (gridiron football).