Paola is a city in and the county seat of Miami County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,602. It is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Native Americans, then Spanish explorers such as Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1541, and French missionary explorers in 1673 lived and traveled throughout the area of what is now Paola. Despite these early European incursions at the start of the 19th century, the area was largely controlled by the Osage people.
Settlement of the area primarily occurred, however, when Kaskaskia, Peoria, Wea, and Piankeshaw tribes were forced to move to the area between 1827 and 1832. These formed the Confederated Allied Tribe, which was led by Baptiste Peoria, who was of both French and Indian ethnicity. They called their settlement Peoria Village.
By the 1840s, Euro-American settlers were moving into the area, and several missionaries lived in and near "Peoria Village". One of those missionaries was an Italian priest who moved to the area in 1852. The priest, Father Paul D. Ponziglione, was credited with renaming Peoria Village to Paola, after a small town on the coast of Calabria, Italy. The Peoria Indians of the area continued to call it Paola, because they had great respect for Father Ponziglione.
By 1854 there was a large number of settlers who moved to the settlement, and a town plat was laid out by 1855.