Spokane (pronounced [spoʊˈkæn] ( ) spoh-KAN) is a city located in the Northwestern United States in the state of Washington. It is the largest city of Spokane County of which it is also the county seat, and the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest region. It is also the fourth largest city in the Pacific Northwest region, after Seattle, Washington, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Portland, Oregon and is the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis. The city is located on the Spokane River in Eastern Washington, 92 miles (148 km) south of the Canadian border, approximately 20 miles (32 km) from the Washington–Idaho border, 232 miles (373 km) east of Seattle, and 1,378 miles (2,218 km) west of Minneapolis.
David Thompson explored the Spokane area and began European settlement with the westward expansion and establishment of the North West Company's Spokane House in 1810. This trading post was the first long-term European settlement in Washington and the center of the fur trade between the Rockies and the Cascades for 16 years. In the late 19th century, gold and silver were discovered in the Inland Northwest. The Spokane area is considered to be one of the most productive mining districts in North America. Spokane's economy has traditionally been based on natural resources, being a center for mining, timber, and agriculture; however, the city's economy has diversified to include other industries, including the high-tech and biotech sectors. Spokane is known as the birthplace of Father's Day, hosted the first environmentally themed World's Fair, Expo '74, and is home to Gonzaga University and Whitworth University.