Milwaukee (, locally ) is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. The seat of the eponymous county, it is on Lake Michigan's western shore. Ranked by its estimated 2014 population, Milwaukee was the 31st largest city in the United States. The city's estimated population in 2017 was 595,351. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee metropolitan area which had a population of 2,043,904 in the 2014 census estimate. It is the second-most densely populated metropolitan area in the Midwest, surpassed only by Chicago. Milwaukee is considered a Gamma global city as categorized by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network with a regional GDP of over $105 billion.
The first Europeans to pass through the area were French Catholic Jesuit missionaries, who were ministering to Native Americans, and fur traders. In 1818, the French Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau settled in the area, and in 1846, Juneau's town combined with two neighboring towns to incorporate as the city of Milwaukee. Large numbers of German immigrants arrived during the late 1840s, after the German revolutions, with Poles and other eastern European immigrants arriving in the following decades