Asheville is a city in and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina. The U.S. Census Bureau determined that Asheville's population in 2010 was 83,318. Asheville is a part of the four-county Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area, the population of which was estimated by the Census Bureau in 2010 to be 417,012.
Before the arrival of Europeans, the land where Asheville now exists lay within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. In 1540, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto came to the area, bringing the first European visitors in addition to European diseases which seriously depleted the native population. The area was used as an open hunting ground until the middle of the 19th century.
The history of Asheville, as a town, begins in 1784. In that year, Colonel Samuel Davidson and his family settled in the Swannanoa Valley, redeeming a soldier's land grant from the state of North Carolina. Soon after building a log cabin at the bank of Christian Creek, Davidson was lured into the woods by a band of Cherokee hunters and killed. Davidson's wife, child and female slave fled on foot to Davidson's Fort (named after Davidson's father General John Davidson) 16 miles away.