Salem is the capital of the U.S. state of Oregon, and the county seat of Marion County. Salem had a population of 154,637 at the 2010 census, making it the third largest city in the state after Portlandand Eugene.
The Native Americans who inhabited the central Willamette Valley at first European contact, the Kalapuya, called the area Chim-i-ki-ti, which means "meeting or resting place" in the Central Kalapuya language (Santiam).The first people of European descent arrived in the area as early as 1812; they were animal trappers and food gatherers for the fur trading companies inAstoria, Oregon.The first permanent American settlement in the area was the Jason Lee Methodist mission (1840) located in the area north of Salem known as Wheatland.In 1842, the missionaries established the Oregon Institute (the forerunner of Willamette University) in the area that was to become the site of Salem. In 1844, the mission was dissolved and the town site established.In 1851, Salem became the territorial capital after it was moved from Oregon City. The capital was moved briefly to Corvallis in 1855, but was moved back to Salem permanently that same year. Salem incorporated as a city in 1857, and with the coming of statehood in 1859, it became the state capital.