Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers.
Memphis had a population of 646,889 at the 2010 census, making it the biggest city in the state of Tennessee, the third largest in the Southeastern United States, and the 20th largest in the United States. The greater Memphis metropolitan area, including adjacent counties in Mississippi and Arkansas, had a 2010 population of 1,316,100. This makes Memphis the second largest metropolitan area in Tennessee, surpassed only by metropolitan Nashville, which has overtaken Memphis in recent years. Memphis is the youngest of Tennessee's major cities. A resident of Memphis is referred to as a Memphian, and the Memphis region is known, particularly to media outlets, as the "Mid-South".
Because it occupies a substantial bluff rising from the Mississippi River, the site of Memphis is a natural location for settlement. The area was first settled by the Mississippian Culture and then by the Chickasaw Indian tribe. For 10,000 years they occupied the bluffs along the river, building a large mound on the bluff. European exploration came later, beginning in the 16th century with Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and French explorers led by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.