Set in the wide valley of the Yukon River, Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon and by far its largest community. Close to 70 percent of the total Yukon population lives in the community of Whitehorse; this includes the City of Whitehorse, Mount Lorne, Ibex Valley, Marsh Lake and surrounding areas. The city lies within the shared traditional territory of the Ta'an Kwach'an Council (TKC) and the Kwanlin Dun First Nation (KDFN).
Historically, First Nations used the area around Whitehorse for food gathering and as a meeting place. The settlement of Whitehorse developed during the Klondike Gold Rush as a transportation hub; Whitehorse was the head of navigable waters on the Yukon River and an important stop on the journey to the gold fields. Once the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway linked Whitehorse with the Alaskan port of Skagway, Whitehorse became the centre of transportation into and out of the Territory. Since the Klondike Gold Rush era, Whitehorse has experienced a series of population booms and busts, mainly linked to mining and highway construction. In 1953 the Yukon government moved the capital to Whitehorse from Dawson City.
Whitehorse is now a contemporary city and the government and business centre for the Yukon. The Yukon government headquarters and several federal government offices are located there. The Council of Yukon First Nations also has its headquarters in Whitehorse. Most major Yukon businesses, utility companies and services operate out of the city.
Government activity provides considerable economic stability to the Whitehorse area. Tourism has become a major source of economic growth for the city. Tourists often visit as they pass through, either along the Alaska Highway or by flying into the Whitehorse airport.