The Great Smokey Mountains by Aviator31
Before the Europeans arrived in Tennessee, the land was settled by the Cherokee and Chickasaw Native American tribes. The Cherokee lived in the eastern part of Tennessee and built permanent homes. The Chickasaw lived to the west and were more of a nomadic tribe, moving often.
The first European to arrive in Tennessee was Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541. He claimed the land for Spain, but it would be over 100 years later until Europeans began to settle the area.
In 1714, Charles Charleville built a small fort in Tennessee called Fort Lick. He traded furs with the local Indian tribes for many years. This area would eventually become the city of Nashville.
Nashville, Tennessee by Kaldari
Despite the British law, colonists began to settle in Tennessee. It was a land rich with furs and open land. The city of Nashborough was founded in 1779. It would later become Nashville, the capital city. People moved into the Tennessee frontier and the land became more and more settled over the next several years.
Becoming a State
After the Revolutionary War, Tennessee became part of the United States. Eastern Tennessee became the State of Franklin in 1784, but this only lasted until 1788. In 1789, Tennessee became a U.S. Territory and on June 1, 1796 Congress made Tennessee the 16th state of the United States.
When the Civil War broke out between the Union and the Confederacy in 1861, Tennessee was divided on which side to join. Eventually they decided to secede. Tennessee became the last southern state to join the Confederacy in June of 1861. Men from Tennessee went to fight on both sides of the war including 187,000 to the Confederacy and 51,000 to the Union.
A number of major Civil War battles were fought in Tennessee including the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Chattanooga, and the Battle of Nashville. The Union had control over much of Tennessee by the end of the war and, when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, it was Andrew Johnson from Tennessee who became president.
In the 1920s, Nashville, Tennessee became known for country music. The Grand Old Opry music show began to broadcast on the radio and became very popular. Since then, Nashville has been the country music capital of the world with the nickname “Music City.”
The Grand Ole Opry from the US Department of Defense
- 1541 – Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto is the first European to visit Tennessee.
- 1714 – Fort Lick is established near where Nashville will one day be located.
- 1763 – The British take control from the French after the French and Indian War.
- 1784 – The State of Franklin is established. It will come to an end in 1788.
- 1796 – Congress makes Tennessee the 16th state of the United States.
- 1815 – Andrew Jackson leads Tennessee troops to victory in the Battle of New Orleans.
- 1826 – Nashville is made the capital.
- 1828 – Andrew Jackson is elected President of the United States.
- 1844 – James K. Polk from Tennessee is elected President of the United States.
- 1861 – Tennessee is the last of the southern states to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy.
- 1866 – Tennessee is readmitted as a state in the Union.
- 1933 – The first hydroelectric dam is built by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
- 1940 – President Franklin Roosevelt dedicates the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- 1968 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
More US State History:
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