|State||New South Wales|
|Area (sq mi)||652 sq mi|
|Population density (/sq mi)||5,370|
|Current mayor||Clover Moore|
Sydney is a port city and the capital of the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is the nation's oldest and largest city, as well as its major business centre. Sydney lies on what has been described as "the finest natural harbour in the world". Other notable natural features include many beaches (most famously Bondi Beach and Manly), several national parks, including the Royal National Park and Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, and several waterways including the St George's and Hawkesbury Rivers. City landmarks include the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney was founded by Arthur Phillip, commander of Britain's First Fleet, on 26th January 1788 when he established the first European settlement on the continent at the site now known as Circular Quay. Prior to this, lieutenant James Cook had visited Botany Bay (a few kilometres south of Sydney Harbour) in 1770 and later claimed the whole of the east coast of the continent - then known as New Holland - for the British Crown, coining the name New South Wales. After the American War of Independence, Britain decided it needed to establish new colonies to which it could send its growing number of convicts. Thus the plan to dispatch a fleet to New South Wales was drawn up. Arriving at Botany Bay, Phillip soon recognised that the site was unsuitable for a colony due to the lack of fresh water. The fleet moved on to Sydney Harbour, which was more suitable. Phillip named the harbour Port Jackson, which remains the official name.
Sydney's metropolitan area has about 4.3 million inhabitants and ranks 67 in the world. Sydney is the 9th largest urban area on Earth in size (12,100 km2), spreading over 300 different suburbs. It is about the same size as Los Angeles in area, but has only about a third its population.
The inhabitants of Sydney call themselves "Sydneysiders". Many Sydney landmarks, such as the Opera House, the AMP Tower, the Queen Victoria Building, Darling Harbour and Hyde Park, are in or close to the Central Business District (CBD). Much of the rest of the metropolitan area falls into three parts: The "North Shore" is an affluent residential area north of the harbour; The "Eastern Suburbs", east of the CBD, contain famous beach suburbs such as Bondi and Coogee, affluent residential areas such as Paddington and Double Bay, and mostly urban areas such as Darlinghurst and Redfern; and the "Western Suburbs" are a mostly suburban residential area that stretches from the CBD to the Blue Mountains. The Western Suburbs are known for their communities of recent immigrants, especially from the Middle East.