Kingsport is a city in Sullivan and Hawkins counties in the U.S. state of Tennessee; most of the city is in Sullivan County and the city is the largest in both counties, but is the county seat of neither. As of the 2010 census the population was 48,205; as of 2019 the estimated population was 54,127.
Kingsport is the largest city in the Kingsport–Bristol–Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which had a population of 309,544 as of 2010. The Metropolitan Statistical Area is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region. Census data from 2006–2008 for the Tri-Cities Combined Statistical Area estimates a population of 496,454.
Kingsport is commonly included in what is known as the Mountain Empire, which spans a portion of southwest Virginia and the mountainous counties in northeastern Tennessee. The name "Kingsport" is a simplification of "King's Port", originally referring to the area on the Holston River known as King's Boat Yard, the head of navigation for the Tennessee Valley.
Kingsport was developed after the Revolutionary War, at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Holston River. In 1787 it was known as "Salt Lick", for an ancient mineral lick. It was first settled along the banks of the South Fork, about a mile from the confluence. The Long Island of the Holston River is near the confluence, which is mostly within the present-day corporate boundaries of Kingsport.