Green Bay is home to one of the oldest European Settlements in the United States. Jean Nicolet was commissioned to make peace with Indians and find a shorter trade route to China and the Pacific Ocean. He landed in Green Bay in 1634 and founded a small trading post. The area became a major fur trading hub through the 1800s. The British took control of the area after the French and Indian War, and became a part of the United States after the Revolutionary War. After the War of 1812, Fort Howard was built along the Fox River near the Bay of Green Bay to protect the area from possible invasions.
After the 1850s, lumber and paper took over as the primary industries. Several paper mills along the Fox River still remain today, as the Fox River Valley is one of the largest suppliers of paper in the world with 24 paper mills between Neenah and Green Bay.
The Green Bay Packers are what Green Bay is most famous for. Curly Lambeau founded the team in 1919 and was sponsored by the Acme Meat Packing Company, which the team received its nickname from. Despite existing in the smallest city with a professional sports team, the team was able to survive and thrive by offering fans to purchase stock as a way to invest in the team. The Packers also played some games in Milwaukee to attract more fans throughout the state. The team no longer plays there, but fans from Milwaukee still get tickets for two Packer games a year.
Today the Green Bay Metropolitan Area has a population of a little over 300,000 people. The immediate area cities of Green Bay and De Pere, and seven villages which include: Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Bellevue, Hobart, Howard, Pulaski, and Suamico.
Green Bay was left out of the original interstate system, but Wisconsin officials finally received their wish in the early 1970s as Interstate 57 was approved to be extended north to Green Bay. The original route was supposed to follow Wis 57 north of Milwaukee to avoid bias between the Fox Valley and Lakeshore by splitting down the middle. But soon after, Illinois rejected extending I-57 north so the proposal was named I-43. Farmers protested and there was strong opposition to the proposed interstate route along Wis 57, so a compromise was reached to route I-43 along the US 141 freeway to Sheboygan and extend the interstate north along existing US 141. In 1982, Green Bay had its interstate connection.
Also in the 1960s and 1970s, a beltway was proposed to accommodate the areas growth. A new freeway on the west side of Green Bay was built to reroute US 41, Wis 172 was built on the south end to provide a new Fox River crossing, and I-43 formed the north and east legs of the Green Bay Beltway. Green Bay was the first city to have a freeway beltway encircle the city, and Appleton is the only other Wisconsin city that currently has a complete beltway.
In 2005, Green Bay received another interstate designation as US 41 became an interstate from Green Bay south. The plan was approved in 2014 and signs were posted in 2015.