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Lexington was founded in 1775, when James Clark of the Virginia Colony established a post on a high bluff overlooking the Kentucky River. It was named after Lexington, Massachusetts. The original settlement (which included what is now present-day Georgetown) fell to British forces during the Revolution and later became part of Cynthiana. In 1780, Lexington was made the seat of Virginias newly organized Fayette County; it would become an independent city in 1836 and officially merge with surrounding Fayette County in 1974 to form one unified government known as "Fayette Urban County". The area that would become Lexington began its rise to prominence as a center for tobacco cultivation before that commodity crop's decline due to urbanization beginning in mid-century.