Bellingham ( BEL-ing-ham) is the county seat and most populous city of Whatcom County in the U. S. state of Washington. Located 52 miles (84 km) southeast of Vancouver, 90 miles (145 km) north of Seattle, and 21 miles (33 km) south of the Canada-US border, Bellingham is in between two major metropolitan areas, Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The city's population was 80,885 at the 2010 United States Census. With an April 1, 2019 population estimate of 91,800 per the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Bellingham is the twelfth-most populous city in the state of Washington. The city of Bellingham was incorporated in 1903 through the consolidation of Fairhaven, Whatcom, Sehome and Bellingham: four historic towns that settled beside Bellingham Bay. The bay, where the present-day city and the former town of the same name derive their names from, was named Bellingham Bay by George Vancouver upon arriving to it in June 1792. Its namesake, Sir William Bellingham, was the Controller of Storekeeper Accounts of the Royal Navy during the Vancouver Expedition. Today, Bellingham is the northernmost city with a population of more than 50,000 people in the contiguous United States. The city is a popular tourist destination known for its easy access to outdoor recreation in the San Juan Islands and North Cascades.