Piqua has a population of 20,000+ residents. Originally it was home to the Adena and Hopewell cultures (1000 BC) who built burial mounds throughout the area. The Fort Ancient people (1600 BC) were also residents who built small, circular villages along the Great Miami River.
The Pickawillany settlement was established by a group of colonial British traders in 1747. This fort was destroyed in 1752. In 1870 another native American settlement began with two Shawnee villages – Upper Piqua (Bi-co-we-that/Pique) and Lower Piqua (Chillicothe) were established.
Around 1793, General Anthony Wayne built Fort Piqua at Upper Piqua. Settlers built their homes in the present site of the city in 1796. The village was originally called Washington, but was later restored to its Indian name of Piqua. The Miami Erie Canal ended at Piqua and brought produce and passengers to the area.
Railroads came in 1858. A large contingent of Germans moved to Piqua from the 1830s to the start of the Civil War. African-American residents established themselves in 1847 when the freed slaves of John Randolph of Virginia came to the area to live. The Underground Railroad went from Cincinnati, Dayton, Troy, Piqua, Sidney and northward.