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city, seat (1836) of Racine county, southeastern Wisconsin, U.S. It lies along Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Root River, about 25 miles (40 km) south of Milwaukee. Miami and Potawatomi Indians were early inhabitants of the region. Founded in 1834 as Port Gilbert by Gilbert Knapp, a lake captain, it adopted its present name, which was derived from the French word for "root," in 1841. The improvement of its harbour in the 1840s and the arrival of the railroad in the 1850s spurred the city's growth as an industrial and shipping centre. Danish immigrants settled the area in the 19th century.