Fayetteville is the county seat of Washington County, and the third largest city in Arkansas. The city is centrally located within the county and is home to the University of Arkansas. Fayetteville is also deep in the Boston Mountains, a subset of The Ozarks. Known as Washington until 1829, the city was named after General Lafayette, a French general who helped the states gain freedom in the American Revolutionary War. It was first incorporated on November 3, 1836 and was rechartered in 1867. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 109th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city itself had a population of 73,580 at the 2010 Census.
Fayetteville is deeply tied to the University of Arkansas, which is the flagship university in the state. Fall and spring bring thousands of students to campus which dramatically change the complexion of Fayetteville. As a Southeastern Conference institution, thousands of Arkansas Razorbacks fans descend upon Fayetteville for home football, and basketball, and baseball games. The city also contains the University of Arkansas' track and field program which has won 42 national championships to date. Fayetteville was ranked as the 7th best college sports town and 8th for Business and Careers by Forbes. Kiplinger's 2008 "Best Cities to Work, Live and Play" list featured Fayetteville as #7. U.S. News ranked Fayetteville one of the best places to retire. Although based in nearby Bentonville, Walmart's impact on Fayetteville cannot be understated. The city hosts the Wal-Mart Shareholders Meetings each year at Bud Walton Arena and is home to several of Walmart's corporate partners.
Forbes Magazine also named the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers area as the second-best area in the United States for recovery from the current United States recession. Reasons cited were the presence of #1 Fortune 500 corporation Walmart being based in the area in addition to low unemployment (5.0%) compared to national averages.