Asheville is a city in, and the county seat of, Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. Located at the confluence of the French Broad and Swannoa rivers, it is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the 12th-most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. According to 2019 estimates, the city's population was 92,870. It is the principal city in the four-county Asheville metropolitan area, with a population of 424,858 in 2010.
Before the arrival of the Europeans, the land where Asheville now exists lay within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation, which had homelands in modern western North and South Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, and northeastern Georgia. A town at the site of the river confluence was recorded as Guaxule by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto during his 1540 expedition through this area. His expedition comprised the first European visitors, who carried endemic European diseases. These caused high mortality in the native population.
The people had traditionally used the area by the confluence for open hunting and meeting grounds. It was called Untokiasdiyi (in Cherokee), or "Where they race", until the middle of the 19th century.
The history of Asheville, as a European-American town, began in 1784. In that year, Colonel Samuel Davidson and his family settled in the Swannanoa Valley, redeeming a soldier's land grant from the state of North Carolina. Soon after building a log cabin at the bank of Christian Creek, Davidson was lured into the woods and killed by a band of Cherokee hunters.