() is a Home Rule City in and the borough seat of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States.
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska, and second largest in the state behind Anchorage. It is the principal city of the Fairbanks, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States.
According to 2007 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 34,540, and the Fairbanks metropolitan area's population was 97,484. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the oldest college in Alaska.
Fairbanks was founded in August 1901 by Captain E.T. Barnette, who was trying to set up a trading post at Tanacross (where the Tanana River crossed the Valdez-Eagle trail). But the Lavelle Young, the steam boat which Barnette was aboard, ran aground and he was deposited seven miles up the Chena River. Smoke from the steamer's engines attracted some prospectors, and they met Barnette where he disembarked. The prospectors convinced Barnette to set up his trading post there. The city is named after Charles Fairbanks, a Republican senator from Indiana and later the 26th vice president, serving in Theodore Roosevelt's second term.
A gold discovery north of town in 1902 provided a swarm of new residents to the newly founded town. Federal judge James Wickersham established government offices in Fairbanks the next year, helping to cement the quickly growing town as an important center of activity in Interior Alaska.
The Tanana Valley is an important agricultural center for Alaska, and during Fairbanks' early days the vicinity of the town was a major producer of agricultural goods. Despite early efforts by groups like the Alaska Loyal League and the Tanana Valley Agriculture Association, and the editor of the
, W.F. Thompson, to encourage food production, agriculture in the area was never able to fully support the population, although it came close in the 1920s.