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There was a continuous human presence in the area that became Evansville from at least 8,000 BC by Paleo-Indians. The land encompassing Evansville was formally relinquished by the Delaware in 1805 to General William Henry Harrison, then governor of the Indiana Territory.Archaeologists have identified several archaic and ancient sites in and near Evansville, with the most complex at Angel Mounds from about 900 A. French hunters and trappers were among the first Europeans to come to the area, using Vincennes as a base of operations. purchased about 441 acres and named it "Mc Gary's Landing".Manufacturing also took off, particularly in the automobile and refrigeration industries.The city saw exponential growth in the early twentieth century with production of lumber and the manufacturing of furniture.By 1920, Evansville had more than two dozen furniture companies. A bridge was built across the Ohio River in 1932 and in that same decade steps were taken to develop an airport.In the decades of the 1920s and 1930s city leaders attempted to improve Evansville's transportation position and successfully lobbied to be on the Chicago-to-Miami "Dixie Bee Highway" (U. However, in 1937 a massive flood covering 500 city blocks proved to be a major crises.The city is home to public and private enterprise in many areas, as Evansville serves as the region's economic hub.
By the time the Wabash and Erie Canal was finished in 1853, Evansville's first railroad, Evansville & Crawfordsville Railroad, was opened to Terre Haute.
Other local educational institutions include nationally ranked Signature School and the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
In 2008, Evansville was voted the best city in the country in which "to live, work, and play" by the readers of Kiplinger, and in 2009 the 11th best. Following the abandonment of Angel Mounds between the years 14, tribes of Miami, Shawnee, Piankeshaw, Wyandot, Delaware and other Native American peoples were known to be in the area.
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Throughout this period Evansville's main ethnic groups consisted of Germans fleeing Europe, Protestant Scotch-Irish from the South, Catholic Irish coming for canal or railroad work, New England businessmen, and newly freed slaves from Western Kentucky.