Charleston is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha rivers, the city had a population of 51,400 at the 2010 census and an estimated population of 46,536 in 2019. The Charleston metropolitan area as a whole had an estimated 208,089 residents in 2019. Charleston is the center of government, commerce, and industry for Kanawha County, of which it is the county seat.Early industries important to Charleston included salt and the first natural gas well. Later, coal became central to economic prosperity in the city and the surrounding area. Today, trade, utilities, government, medicine, and education play central roles in the city's economy.
The first permanent settlement, Fort Lee, was built in 1788. In 1791, Daniel Boone was a member of the Kanawha County Assembly.
Charleston is the home of the Charleston Dirty Birds of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, and the annual 15-mile (24 km) Charleston Distance Run. Yeager Airport and the University of Charleston are in the city. West Virginia State University is in the local area as well as West Virginia University and Marshall University satellite campuses.