Lafayette ( LAH-fee-ET, LAF-ee-ET) is a city in and the county seat of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, United States, located 63 miles (101 km) northwest of Indianapolis and 105 miles (169 km) southeast of Chicago. West Lafayette, on the other side of the Wabash River, is home to Purdue University, which contributes significantly to both communities. Together, Lafayette and West Lafayette form the core of the Lafayette, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area.
According to the 2010 United States Census, the population of Lafayette was 67,140, a 19% increase from 56,397 in 2000. Meanwhile, the 2010 Census pegged the year-round (excluding Purdue University students) population of West Lafayette at 29,596 and the Tippecanoe County population at 172,780.
Lafayette was founded in 1825 on the southeast bank of the Wabash River near where the river becomes impassable for riverboats upstream, though a French fort and trading post had existed since 1717 on the opposite bank and three miles downstream. It was named for the French general Marquis de Lafayette, a revolutionary war hero.
When European explorers arrived at this area, it was inhabited by a tribe of Miami Indians known as the Ouiatenon or Weas. In 1717, the French government established Fort Ouiatenon across the Wabash River and three miles (5 km) south of present-day Lafayette. The fort became the center of trade for fur trappers, merchants and Indians. An annual reenactment and festival known as Feast of the Hunters' Moon is held there each autumn.
The town of Lafayette was platted in May 1825 by William Digby, a trader.