A small trading post was established at this location in 1634 by French-Canadian explorer Jean Nicolet. In 1671 a Jesuit Mission was set up here; at the time the settlement was known as La Baye. A fort was added in 1717. The town was incorporated in 1754. The town passed to British control in 1761. As British settlers in the area came to outnumber the French, the name "Green Bay" became the more common name for the town. In 1783 the town became part of the United States of America.
The United States Army built Fort Howard here in 1816. Wisconsin's first newspaper, The Green Bay Intelligencer, was first published here in 1833. In 1850 the town had a population of 1,923. The town was reincorporated as the city of Green Bay in 1854. The Railroad arrived in the 1860s.
In the 1950 census the city had a population of 52,735.