Council Bluffs is a city in and the county seat of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, United States. The city is the most populous in Southwest Iowa, and is a primary city of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area. It is located on the east bank of the Missouri River, across from the city of Omaha. Council Bluffs was known, until at least 1853, as Kanesville. It was the historic starting point of the Mormon Trail. Kanesville is also the northernmost anchor town of the other emigrant trails, since there was a steam-powered boat to ferry their wagons, and cattle, across the Missouri River.
Council Bluffs' population was 62,230 at the 2010 census. The Omaha metropolitan region, of which Council Bluffs is a part, is the 59th largest in the United States, with an estimated population of 933,316 (2017).
While Council Bluffs is more than a decade older than Omaha, the latter has grown to be a significantly larger city and the anchor of the bi-state metropolitan region.
The first Council Bluff (singular) was on the Nebraska side of the river at Fort Atkinson (Nebraska), about 20 miles northwest of the current city of Council Bluffs. It was named by Lewis and Clark for a bluff where they met the Otoe tribe on August 2, 1804.
The Iowa side of the river became an Indian Reservation in the 1830s for members of the Council of Three Fires of Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi, who were forced to leave the Chicago area under the Treaty of Chicago, which cleared the way for the city of Chicago to incorporate.
The largest group of Native Americans who moved to the area were the Pottawatomi, who were led by their chief Sauganash ("one who speaks English"), the son of the British loyalist William Caldwell, who founded Canadian communities on the south side of the Detroit River, and a Pottawatomi woman.