Seattle was founded in 1851 and it's economy was mostly based on the lumber industry until the 1870s, when coal was discovered nearby leading to the development of another industry ("Brief History of Seattle"). In 1882, the first trans-Pacific steamship left Seattle, the first step to making Seattle into a modern gateway of trade (Kueter). From the 1890s to 1900, Seattle's population increased from 42,000 residents to 80,000 (Kueter) due to the Klondike gold rush ("History of Seattle"). By 1909, Seattle's population reached 240,000 ("Brief History of Seattle"). This massive influx of people led to a reshaping of the city of Seattle to accomodate the larger population ("History of Seattle").
During World War I, the city's maritime industry greatly expanded--Seattle produced 20% of the US ships by tonnage during that time ("Brief History of Seattle"). Although Seattle's economy slowed down in the 1920s and went back to relying on traditional lumber and maritime industries, artistic circles began expanding in the city, leading to it becoming a center for jazz and art ("History of Seattle"). World War II led to another economic boom, this time due to Boeing's new airplane company ("History of Seattle"). However, this was also a time of great despair for the city, as 12,000 residents of Japanese ancestry were forced into relocation camps (Kueter).
After World War II, Boeing fired 70,000 workers, leading to a period of economic decline that lastest until the 70s ("History of Seattle"). In 1971, Starbucks opened it's first cafe in Seattle (Kueter). In 1978, Bill Gates and Paul Allen moved Microsoft to Seattle, beginning Seattle's transformation into the high tech city it is today (Kueter).
If you would like to read more about Seattle's rich history, I've found a few websites that are excellent sources for people to learn about Seattle, how it was founded, and the major events that occurred there. Click on the buttons below to open a history-related website.