Located in central McLennan County, the city is built on the site of an ancient agricultural village of Waco Indians. In 1850, Waco was elected as a county seat after residents from Waco donated free lots for public purposes. The town was flourishing in the plantation economy. The postwar emancipation of the many slaves in the area caused additional dislocations and led to conflicts and animosities in Waco during the era of Reconstruction. By the 1890s Waco had become one of the most important cotton markets in the south. In 1993 Waco became famous for the Waco siege between the federal government and Branch Davidians, an extremist religious sect.