Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. As of July 1, 2011, Madison had a population of 236,901. making it the second largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 81st largest in the United States. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Dane County and neighboring Iowa and Columbia counties. The Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area had a 2010 population of 568,593. Madison's origins begin in 1829, when former federal judge James Duane Doty purchased over a thousand acres (4 km) of swamp and forest land on the isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona, with the intention of building a city in the Four Lakes region. When the Wisconsin Territory was created in 1836 the territorial legislature convened in Belmont, Wisconsin. One of the legislature's tasks was to select a permanent location for the territory's capital.
Contributions by DavidDouthitt, Kyle Andrew Brown, and Slambo.