Alexandria is a city in and the parish seat of Rapides Parish, Louisiana, United States. It lies on the south bank of the Red River in almost the exact geographic center of the state. It is the principal city of the Alexandria metropolitan area (population 153,922) which encompasses all of Rapides and Grant parishes. Its neighboring city is Pineville. In 2010, the population was 47,723, according to an official estimate by the College of Business Population Estimates Program at Louisiana Tech University.
The city of Alexandria, located along the Red River, was originally home to a community supporting activities of the adjacent Spanish outpost of Post du Rapides. The area developed as an assemblage of traders and merchants in the agricultural lands bordering the mostly unsettled areas to the north, and providing a link from the south to the El Camino Real and then larger settlement of Natchitoches.
Alexander Fulton, a businessman from Washington County, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received a land grant from Spain in 1785, and the first organized settlement was made at some point in the 1790s. In 1805, Fulton and business partner Thomas Harris Maddox laid out the town plan and named the town in Fulton's honor. That same year Fulton was appointed coroner in Rapides Parish by territorial Governor William C.C. Claiborne. Alexandria was incorporated as a town in 1819 and received a city charter in 1832.