The city of Indianapolis has a rich and varied history that spans three centuries. Founded in 1820, the area where the city is now located was originally home to the Lenape (Delaware nation). In 1821, Indianapolis was chosen as the seat of the newly formed Marion County and, four years later, when the state legislature convened for the first time, the city had one street and a population of 600 people. Religious congregations began to take root in Indianapolis in the 1820s, with Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists leading the way.
However, other groups such as Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Lutherans, Catholics, Congregationalists, Quakers, Universalists, Unitarians, and Jewish congregations were also established before the Civil War. In the 1980s, Indianapolis made a conscious effort to become an amateur sports capital and a major league city. This goal has been achieved today with the city hosting events such as the Indianapolis 500 and the Allstate 400 in the Brickyard (formerly known as the Brickyard 400). The city has also hosted the Pan American Games (198) and the NCAA Final Four (1991 and 1999).
The standards for education in Indianapolis are enforced through the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) system, which is the largest district in Indiana. In addition to this, a bill was passed by the Assembly that consolidated the budgetary functions of the city and county. This bill also allowed for the consolidation of the Indianapolis Police Department and Marion County Sheriff's Department. Furthermore, it allowed for the Indianapolis Fire Department to be consolidated with individual fire departments of municipalities with approval from affected parties.
Nearly eight million passengers use Indianapolis International Airport each year. This airport is located seven miles southwest of downtown Indianapolis. Other notable attractions include the Indianapolis Zoo Library and the Indianapolis Children's Museum Library. The Indianapolis Art Center is a non-profit community arts organization that strives to make art accessible to all residents of Indianapolis. Major League sports teams in this city include the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League and Indiana Pacers of the NBA.
The most famous sporting event held in this city is undoubtedly the Indianapolis 500 Mile motor race which takes place annually at the Indianapolis Speedway. This event has been closely linked to politics since it was elected as seat of Indiana government in 1820s.