Vincennes (vĭnsĕnzˈ) [key], city (1990 pop. 19,859), seat of Knox co., SW Ind., on the Wabash River; inc. 1814. The city is the center of an extensive farm area. Its many industries include food processing and the manufacture of transportation equipment; glass, paper, steel, and wood products; chemicals; machinery; and asphalt.
Vincennes is the oldest town in Indiana. Although 1702 is a traditional date for its founding, French fur traders had almost certainly come long before that time. By 1732 it had been fortified by the younger sieur de Vincennes and was an important French settlement. Occupied by the British in 1763, the town, in the American Revolution, was a main object of the expedition of George Rogers Clark. Aided by Francis Vigo, François Bosseron, and Father Gibault, Clark triumphantly took the British Fort Sackville in Feb., 1779. Vincennes was the capital of Indiana Territory from 1800 to 1813, and a treaty with the Native Americans was signed there in 1805.
A magnificent memorial (dedicated 1936) to George Rogers Clark is included in George Rogers Clark Historical Park. "Grouseland," the home of William H. Harrison (built 1803–4), is a national historic landmark. Vincennes Univ. dates from 1801.