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The blocks were divided into lots of 0.5 acres (2,000 m) and sold to speculators and prospective residents.

Buyers had to build a house at least 30 feet (9.1 m) long and 18 feet (5.5 m) wide within three years or face an annual 5% penalty.

The city serves as the county seat of Richland County, and a portion of the city extends into neighboring Lexington County. The name Columbia is a poetic term used for the United States, originating from the name of Christopher Columbus.

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.

The site was chosen as the new state capital in 1786, due to its central location in the state. After remaining under the direct government of the legislature for the first two decades of its existence, Columbia was incorporated as a village in 1805 and then as a city in 1854.

Columbia received a large stimulus to development when it was connected in a direct water route to Charleston by the Santee Canal.

One legislator insisted on the name "Washington", but "Columbia" won by a vote of 11–7 in the state senate.

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.

There was considerable argument over the name for the new city.

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

Columbia is home to the University of South Carolina, the state's flagship university and the largest in the state, and is also the site of Fort Jackson, the largest United States Army installation for Basic Combat Training.

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