Bellingham ( /bɛlɪŋhæm/ US dict: bĕl′·ĭng·hăm) is the largest city in, and the county seat of, Whatcom County in the U.S. state of Washington, and the twelfth-largest city in the state. It is situated on Bellingham Bay, which is protected by Lummi Island, Portage Island, and the Lummi Peninsula, and opens onto the Strait of Georgia. It lies west of Mount Baker and Lake Whatcom (from which it gets its drinking water) and north of the Chuckanut Mountains and Skagit Valley. Whatcom Creek runs through the center of the city.
Bellingham's population was 80,885 at the 2010 Census. The boundaries of the city encompass the former towns of Fairhaven (now home to the southern ferry terminus of the Alaska Marine Highway System), Whatcom, Sehome, and Bellingham. Nearly half of all residents of Whatcom County live within Bellingham.
The name of Bellingham is derived from the bay on which the city is situated. George Vancouver, who visited the area in June 1792, named the bay for Sir William Bellingham, the controller of the storekeeper's account of the Royal Navy.