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Asheville is a city and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the 12th-most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The city's population was 89,121 according to 2016 estimates. 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. In 1540, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto came to the area known as Guaxule, bringing the first European visitors along with European diseases, which seriously depleted the native population. The area was used as an open hunting ground until the middle of the 19th century.
The history of Asheville, as a 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 by a band of Cherokee hunters and killed. Davidson's wife, child and female slave fled on foot overnight to Davidson's Fort (named after Davidson's father General John Davidson) 16 miles away.
In response to the killing, Davidson's twin brother Major William Davidson and brother-in-law Colonel Daniel Smith formed an expedition to retrieve Samuel Davidson's body and avenge his murder.
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