Cleveland is located on Lake Erie at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Laid out by Moses Cleaveland in 1796 it grew rapidly after the opening of the Ohio and Erie Canal in 1827.
The arrival of the railroad in 1851 also improved the city's economy and attracted a large number of immigrants from Ireland, Germany and Italy. With its position close to the coal and oil fields of Pennsylvania and the Minnesota iron mines, made it one of the centres of America's industrial revolution. Two of the countries leading industrialists, Mark Hanna and John D. Rockefeller, started their successful careers in Cleveland.
After the Second World War the city suffered from an economic downturn. Cleveland's population declined 44 per cent between 1950 and 1990 (505,616). The health care industry is the fastest growing segment of the economy and the Cleveland Clinic, a world-famous research and treatment facility is the city's largest employer.