Indianapolis is the capital of Indiana and the seat of Marion County; the Indianapolis metropolitan statistical area includes Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Morgan, and Shelby counties. Decreed by proclamation in the nineteenth century as the state capital and carved out of the wilderness where only a settlers' camp had previously stood, Indianapolis redefined itself by the end of the twentieth century. The city is undergoing a renaissance of far-ranging proportions through development and improvement projects that are transforming both the image and the character of the downtown area. Building on the fame of the annual Indianapolis 500 automobile race, the city has become a national center for amateur sports and athletics; it is also a major financial, industrial, commercial, and transportation center for the Midwest. Education and the arts flourish in Indianapolis, and Circle Centre, an entertainment and shopping complex, has sparked renewed commercial and economic development in the city center.
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