Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Muscogee County, Georgia, United States, with which it is consolidated. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population is 189,885. It is the principal city of the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area, which, in 2009, had an estimated population of 292,795. It joins with the Auburn, Alabama metropolitan area to form the Columbus, Georgia-Auburn, Alabama Combined Statistical Area, which, in 2009, had an estimated population of 450,467. It is the third largest city and fourth largest metropolitan area in the state, and also the 123rd largest city in the United States.
Columbus lies 100 miles (160 km) south of Atlanta. Fort Benning, a major employer, is located south of the city in Chattahoochee County. The city is home to museums and other tourism sites. The area is served by the Columbus Airport. The current mayor is Teresa Tomlinson, who was elected in November 2010. The city was ranked number 4 on the 100 Best U.S. Cities to live by Best Life Magazine.
Founded in 1828 by an act of the Georgia Legislature, Columbus was situated at the beginning of the navigable portion of the Chattahoochee River and on the last stretch of the Federal Road before entering Alabama. The city was named for Christopher Columbus, its founders likely influenced by the writings of Washington Irving. The plan for the city was drawn up by Dr. Edwin L. DeGraffenried who placed the town on a bluff overlooking the river. Across the river, where Phenix City, Alabama is now located, Creek Indians lived until their removal in 1836.