Hopkinsville is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Christian County, Kentucky, United States. The population at the 2010 census was 31,577.
The area of present-day Hopkinsville was initially claimed in 1796 by Bartholomew Wood as part of a 1,200-acre (5 km2) grant for his service in the American Revolution. He and his wife Martha Ann moved from Jonesborough, Tennessee, first to a cabin near present-day W. Seventh and Bethel streets; then to a second cabin near present-day 9th and Virginia streets; and finally to a third home near 14th and Campbell.
Following the creation of Christian County the same year, the Woods donated 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land and a half interest in their Old Rock Spring to form its seat of government in 1797. By 1798, a log courthouse, jail, and "stray pen" had been built; the next year, John Campbell and Samuel Means laid out the streets for "Christian Court House". The community tried to rename itself "Elizabeth" after the Woods' eldest daughter, but another town in Hardin County preëmpted the name, and the Kentucky Assembly established the town in 1804 as "Hopkinsville" after veteran and state representative Samuel Hopkins of Henderson County (later the namesake of Hopkins County as well).
Along with the rest of Kentucky, the town was late in establishing free lower education, but natives organized private schools, and the town was the home of South Kentucky College (est. 1849) and Bethel Female College (est. 1854).
The Civil War generated major divisions in Christian County. Confederate support in Hopkinsville and Christian County was evident in the formation of the "Oak Grove Rangers" and the 28th Kentucky Cavalry. Christian County was then the birthplace of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, though his birthplace is now part of Todd County, Kentucky. Several local businessmen and plantation owners contributed money and war supplies to the South. After Confederate forces retreated to Tennessee, however, Camp Joe Anderson was established by the Union to the northwest of Hopkinsville in 1862.