Columbus is a home rule-class city in Hickman County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 170 at the 2010 census, a decline from 229 in 2000. The city lies at the western end of the state, less than a mile from the Mississippi River.
Columbus-Belmont State Park borders the city to the west.
Columbus is the oldest town in Kentucky's Jackson Purchase. It was first settled on the Mississippi floodplain in 1804 and known as "Iron Banks" after the site's French name les rivages de fer. The long-held local rumor that President Thomas Jefferson planned to remove the American capital to the site has absolutely no basis in fact.
The name of the town was changed to Columbus in 1820 (in honor of the Italian explorer), the year the town received its first post office and was formally established by the state assembly. It was the original Hickman County seat before the transfer of the court to the more central location of Clinton. It was formally incorporated in 1860.
In 1861, after the American Civil War broke out, the town was seized by Confederate forces (including the Louisiana "Shreveport Rebels". They fortified the site overlooking the Mississippi River, building Fort de Russey.) Confederate general Leonidas Polk tried to run and maintain a large anchor chain across the entire Mississippi at Columbus in order to block Union traffic downriver.