The location that would eventually become the centre of Duckburg was originally known as "Fort Drake Borough," a fort built in the 16th century by British explorer Sir Francis Drake. By the 19th century, the fort had been handed over by its departing British occupants to Cornelius Coot, who renamed the fort "Duckburg". "Drake" means a male duck, while "borough" and "burg" are synonyms meaning a town or district that is an administrative unit.Cornelius Coot turned the old fort into a trading post for fellow traders and hunters, and their families. Eventually a small town grew around the fort on top of Killmule Hill. In Carl Barks' story The Day Duckburg Got Dyed (1957), it is revealed that Cornelius Coot at some point in Duckburg's history managed to pipe mountain water into the town.
The size and structure of Duckburg varied in the works by Barks: it was adjusted to better fit the story he wanted to tell; it could vary from a small town to a medium-sized city, to a bustling metropolis. Later writers and artists most of the time also continues this tradition. In one specific story by Barks, Monsterville (1961), Duckburg was even transformed into a futuristic city by Gyro Gearloose, however it proved that the citizens were not ready for the high level of technology that the new city provided. Thus the city was turned back to its old city structure.
Duckburg is a major center for Space exploration, mainly operated and overseen by Gyro Gearloose, and has had expeditions to the Moon, Mars, Venus, the Asteroids, and more remote parts of the Galaxy. The city also features a sea port and is in proximity of a large forest called the Black Forest and to several mountains, the most notable being "Old Demon Tooth", usually depicted as a towering pointed peak leaning slightly to the side. The main river of the city is the Tulebug River, first mentioned in The Money Well (1958) by Carl Barks, and it is located near Killmotor Hill.
Duckburg is home to Yarvard University (a play on the universities of Harvard and Yale), an institution more notable for its athletic teams than for its academic achievements.
Duckburg is also the home of the Billionaires Club of some of which Scrooge McDuck, John D. Rockerduck and, according to some stories, Flintheart Glomgold are influential members. Duckburg also has a Ritz Hotel