Memphis is located in Shelby County and it is the county seat. It lies in the southwest corner of the state along Interstate 40, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Nearby are T.O. Fuller and Meeman Shelby Forest state parks. Memphis' annual average temperature is 62 degrees and its yearly average precipitation is 49 inches. The population estimate for July 1, 1998 was 603,507, a decrease of 15,145 since 1990.
Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto first discovered the Mississippi River near here in 1541. During its early days, Memphis was a stopping point for showboats. In 1878, the last of five yellow fever epidemics left the city nearly deserted.
A sampler of area attractions includes the Memphis in May International Festival; Mud Island, an exhibit of the geological profile of the Mississippi River; and the 32-story Pyramid Arena, third largest pyramid in the world. The city is the home of Memphis State University.
Memphis is part of the Memphis, Tennessee-Arkansas-Mississippi metro area.