Knoxville is a city in and the county seat of Knox County in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2020 United States census, Knoxville's population was 190,740, making it the largest city in the East Tennessee Grand Division and the state's third largest city after Nashville and Memphis. Knoxville is the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had an estimated population of 869,046 in 2019.
First settled in 1786, Knoxville was the first capital of Tennessee. The city struggled with geographic isolation throughout the early 19th century. The arrival of the railroad in 1855 led to an economic boom. During the American Civil War, the city was bitterly divided over the secession issue and was occupied alternately by Confederate and Union armies. Following the war, Knoxville grew rapidly as a major wholesaling and manufacturing center. The city's economy stagnated after the 1920s as the manufacturing sector collapsed, the downtown area declined and city leaders became entrenched in highly partisan political fights.