Early history and founding

Painting of the head and shoulders of an older, gray-haired, balding man in a colonial-era military uniform (blue jacket with white lapels and gold epaullettes)

Louisville’s founder, George Rogers Clark

The rapids at the Falls of the Ohio created a barrier to river travel and, as a result, settlements grew up at this stopping point. The first European settlement in the vicinity of modern-day Louisville was on Corn Island in 1778 by Col. George Rogers Clark, credited as the founder of Louisville. Several landmarks in the community are named after him.

Two years later, in 1780, the Virginia General Assembly approved the town charter of Louisville. The city was named in honor of King Louis XVI of France, whose soldiers were then aiding Americans in the Revolutionary War. Early residents lived in forts to protect themselves from Indian raids, but moved out by the late 1780s. In 1803, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark organized their expedition across America in the town of Clarksville, Indiana at the present-day Falls of the <a href=”http://jamescollinsford.net“>James Collins Ford</a>Ohio opposite Louisville, Kentucky

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