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It is the 28th-largest micropolitan area in the United States. The city was formally established as Fort Anderson, honoring Kentucky pioneer James Anderson, by General William Henry Harrison on November 1, 1812. It became a regional commercial center due to its position at the confluence of three rivers and developed an industrial and commercial economy in addition to its role as a river port. Paducah's early history includes occupation by Native Americans; economic competition among steamboats; two different designations of capital (as county seat); and Civil War–era fortifications which later gave way to parks that are now included in historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The population has declined since 1960 when it had 27,028 residents but grew slightly between 2000–2010 with 25,024 people then living within city limits after dropping again during 2010–2017 with 24,865 residents recorded for 2017 census estimates.