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Independence is part of the Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city was founded in 1803 by Colonel Robert Patterson as a water stop for travelers along the Ohio River. The community was named after John Independence, a local landowner who donated some of his land to be used for its development. In 1816 it became county seat when Kenton County was organized from portions of Campbell and Pendleton counties; it remained so until 1840 when Covington took over that role following its rapid growth due to industrialization and immigration from Germany and Ireland during the previous decade (see Irish American immigration). It again became county seat in 1850 upon formation of Boone County out of parts or all three surrounding counties; this status ended with creation on 1 January 2000 by an act signed into law on 30 October 1999 which merged Boone County into Northern Kentucky's largest metropolitan area centered around Greater Cincinnati (the latter now includes seven other contiguous counties).