Clarksville is the county seat of Montgomery County, Tennessee, United States. It is the fifth-largest city in the state behind Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. The city had a population of 132,929 at the 2010 census, and an estimated population of 158,146 in 2019.
It is the principal central city of the Clarksville, TN–KY metropolitan statistical area, which consists of Montgomery and Stewart counties in Tennessee, and Christian and Trigg counties in Kentucky. The city was founded in 1785 and incorporated in 1807, and named for General George Rogers Clark, frontier fighter and Revolutionary War hero, and brother of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Clarksville is the home of Austin Peay State University; The Leaf-Chronicle, the oldest newspaper in Tennessee; and neighbor to the Fort Campbell, United States Army post. Site of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell is located about 10 miles (16 km) from downtown Clarksville, and spans the Tennessee-Kentucky state line. While the post office for the post is located on the Kentucky side, the majority of the post’s acreage is on the Tennessee side.
The area now known as Tennessee was first settled by Paleo-Indians nearly 11,000 years ago. The names of the cultural groups that inhabited the area between first settlement and the time of European contact are unknown, but several distinct cultural phases have been named by archaeologists, including Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian, whose chiefdoms were the cultural predecessors of the Muscogee people who inhabited the Tennessee River Valley prior to Cherokee migration into the river's headwaters.
When Spanish explorers first visited Tennessee, led by Hernando de Soto in 1539−43, it was inhabited by tribes of Muscogee and Yuchi people. Possibly because of European diseases devastating the native tribes, which would have left a population vacuum, and also from expanding European settlement in the north, the Cherokee moved south from the area now called Virginia. As European colonists spread into the area, the native populations were forcibly displaced to the south and west, including all Muscogee and Yuchi peoples, the Chickasaw, and Choctaw.