City (pop., 2000: 173,890), eastern Tennessee, U.S. In 1786, Gen. James White, a former officer in the American Revolutionary army, established a frontier outpost near the Tennessee River. In 1791 White's Fort was renamed Knoxville for Henry Knox. It served as the capital of the state of Tennessee from 1796 to 1812 and from 1817 to 1818. During the American Civil War, it was occupied by the Confederates until 1863. It is the seat of the University of Tennessee and Knoxville College as well as the headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority.