Knoxville, Tennessee, the seat of Knox County. It is on the Tennessee River, in the eastern part of the state. Knoxville is in the Great Valley of the Appalachians, with the Great Smoky Mountains lying to the east and the Cumberland Plateau to the west. Knoxville is the headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and is within a short distance of several of the TVA's dams and reservoirs.
Knoxville is a major commercial center for eastern Tennessee and is a large market center for tobacco and livestock. Key industries include food processing, textile and apparel manufacturing, and the making of machinery and transportation equipment. Knoxville College and a campus of the University of Tennessee are here. Nearby is Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Knoxville was first settled in 1786. It was named for General Henry Knox, secretary of war in President Washington's cabinet. The frame house built in 1792 by William Blount, territorial governor, is now a museum. Knoxville was Tennessee's first state capital, 1796-1812, and was again capital during 1817-19. During the Civil War, Union troops occupied Knoxville in September, 1863, and held it despite a Confederate siege later that year.
In 1860 Knoxville's population was less than 3,000, but it grew rapidly, due to industrial development and annexation of outlying areas. Knoxville was the site of the first world's fair held in the southeastern United States, the 1982 World's Fair.