Tennessee History

Tennessee History

North America

Tennessee is a US state. The state capital is Nashville, while Memphis is the largest city.

According to ebizdir, Tennessee borders eight other states: Kentucky and Virginia to the north, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi to the south, and Arkansas and Missouri on the Mississippi River to the west, making Tennessee, along with Missouri, the state that borders most other states.

The state was inhabited by Indians more than 11,000 years ago.

Tornadoes can be severe in Tennessee, and the state has the highest percentage of tornadoes in the United States that cause deaths.

Nashville is known as the mecca of country music ( Keith Urban, Johnny Cash and others), but Memphis also has a rich musical life within blues and soul. Rock king Elvis Presley lived on the Graceland estate in Memphis and has thus contributed to Memphis fame. Graceland is now a major public attraction to which people from all over the world make a pilgrimage. The state as a whole has been the hearth of certain branches of these music genres.


1539-43 – When Spanish explorers first visited the area, led by Hernando de Soto, the area was inhabited by people from the creek and yuchi tribes.

1775 – Daniel Boone leads a patrol to find its way through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachians from eastern Virginia to Kentucky, paving the way for the first migration of settlers west of this mountain range. Boone, a military officer during the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), was captured by Indians in 1777 and adopted as a son by Shawnee Chief Blackfish, before fleeing and returning to Kentucky settlements.

1779 – Jonesboro becomes the first city to be established, making it the oldest settlement 17 years before Tennessee became a state. The city is best known for being the center of the abolitionist movement that would unite with the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.

1784 – The city of Nashville is founded by James Robertson and John Donelson and a group from Overmountain Men, near Fort Nasborough, named after Civil War hero Frances Nash.

1796 – Tennessee is incorporated into the United States as the 16th state on June 1.

1812 – An earthquake ( New Madrid ) causes the Mississippi River to recede, creating what is today Reelfoot Lake, a swampy area, rather than an actual lake. The place is known for its swamp cypress trees and for the bald eagle that builds nests. The eagle became a national symbol of America, possibly inspired by the Roman Republic, which used the golden eagle in their symbolism.

1815 – Tennessee troops, led by Major General Andrew Jackson, defeat the British in the last major battle of the British-American War at the Battle of New Orleans, January 8.

1819 – The city of Memphis was founded on May 22 by John Overton, James Winchester and Andrew Jackson, who named it after the ancient Egyptian capital.

1836 – David Crockett joins the Texas Volunteers. Here he fell during the Battle of the Alamo, most likely on March 6th. The last text of his log book was written on March 5th.

1838-39 – During Martin Van Buren’s presidency, nearly 17,000 Cherokee Indians were forced in 1838-39 to leave their homeland in eastern Tennessee ( Great Smoky Mountains ) in favor of Native American territories west of Arkansas. It is estimated that approx. 4,000 people died on their way west. The route is called the Trail of Tears.

1861-62 – Many major battles during the American Civil War take place in Tennessee, most of them with the Union victorious. It was the last state to leave the Union and join the Confederate States on June 8, 1861. Ulysses S. Grant and the United States Navy took control of the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers in February 1862. The Battle of Shiloh is also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landin g and was a major battle in the Western Area of ​​Operation during the American Civil War. It was fought on April 6 and 7 in southwest Tennessee. A Southern Army under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and PGT Beauregard carried out a surprise attack on the Union Army under Major General Ulysses S. Grant and was close to defeating him. The first battle in Memphis was fought on the Mississippi River on June 6, and was witnessed by many civilians. The fight ended in a crushing defeat for the rebels. The conquest of Memphis and Nashville gave the Union control over the western and middle parts of the state.

1865 – The right-wing extremist organization Ku Klux Klan is founded by six veterans of the Confederate States of America who included one of the war’s most innovative and successful generals, Nathan Bedford Forrestca. eight months after the end of the Civil War. The purpose of the organization was to deprive black Americans of their newly acquired civil rights, which was done with terror against them and the white population that supported the blacks, as well as abductions, ill-treatment, and killings. The members were wearing white robes and caps. The movement died out after a few years, when it had succeeded in a more legal way to prevent blacks from exercising their right to vote. However, new organizations soon emerged as part of the original clan members helped start, or became active members of, among others, Red Shirts and the White League, which started new violence campaigns.

On April 15, 1865, Andrew Johnson took over the presidency after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, becoming the 17th President of the United States.

1868 – On February 24, Andrew Johnson is the first president to be brought before a federal court for violating the Tenure of Office Act, in which he had suspended / removed War Minister Edwin M. Stanton, who did not have a good relationship with the president, and was to be replaced by General Lorenzo Thomas. The radical Republicans in Congress claimed that Johnson could not dismiss anyone who was approved by Congress without Congress also approving the dismissal. Stanton therefore filed a federal lawsuit against him. Johnson avoided being convicted by a single-vote majority in the Senate. He is therefore considered to be the worst president at the end of the Civil War, as he was totally incompetent to achieve peace, and did more harm than good.

1870s – A yellow fever epidemic reduced Memphis’s population by about 75% (approximately, 5,200 people) as many people died or fled the city permanently at the height of the outbreak in 1878.

1894 – On December 27, Shiloh National Park was established to protect and preserve 2 of the Civil War battlefields – Shiloh (14 km from Savannah, TN ) and Corinth, MS (37 km from Shiloh ).

1897 – A complete copy of the original Parthenon was built as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. A more permanent structure was completed between 1925-31.

1900 – Casey Jones ‘ dramatic death turns him into a hero and immortalized in a ballad sung by his friend Wallace Saunders, who also works with him for the Illinois Central Railroad. On April 30, on a foggy and rainy evening, his train collided with a freight train standing still at Vaughan, MS. Jones did everything in his power to save the passengers, which succeeded, but he was killed.

1916 – The salvage vehicle was first invented by the mechanic Ernest Holmes, Jr. from Chattanooga who was inspired after being forced to pull a car out of a stream with the help of blocks, ropes and 6 men. Read more here and here.

1918 – Two trains collide in Nashville on July 19, killing at least 101 people and injuring 171 others. The accident is considered the worst in U.S. history.

1925 -A lawsuit against John Scopes, who was a substitute at a high school in Dayton, was sued for violating the Butler Act, which prevented teachers from teaching human evolution in state schools. The case is famous for wanting to attract attention to the small town, which also worked, but also made one discuss whether the modern theory of evolution in biology should be part of the school theory. The Butler Act was repealed in 1967.

On November 28, 1925, the radio show with the original name ” WSM Barn Dance ” broadcast its first broadcast in Nashville. In 1927 the program got its current name ” Grand Ole Opry “.

1940 – Great Smoky Mountain National Park is inaugurated by President Franklin Roosevelt.

1942 – The city of Oak Ridge was founded in the early 1940s during World War II as a base for the Manhattan Project under the leadership of General Leslie R. Groves and physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The project was a research and development program which, under American leadership and with the participation of Great Britain and Canada, led to the manufacture of the first atomic bombs. Among the physicists who contributed to the creation of the atomic bomb were Albert Einstein and Danish Niels Bohr. By May 1945, 82,000 people were employed at Clinton Engineer Works.

1946 – Early in the morning of June 12, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress crashed into the Great Smoky Mountains near the top of the Clingmans Dome, killing all twelve people on board.

1952 – Sam Phillips debuted with his record label Sun Records in Memphis on March 27 at 706 Union Avenue, where, in addition to Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins also started.

1954 – On October 2, 19-year-old Elvis Presley made his first and only appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, playing ‘ Blue Moon of Kentucky ‘. Although the audience’s reaction to his performance was extremely positive, after the show Presley was encouraged by the host, Jim Denny, to turn his nose up and resume his career as a truck driver – at a time when country music was paramount, it was not Presley’s hip-twisting and vulgar rock music that was needed, Denny thought. Elvis never vowed to return to the venue and instead signed a contract with rival “Louisiana Hayride” two weeks later. The contract was for 52 Saturday appearances that were to prove to be the start of his legendary career.

1956 – On March 3, Elvis Presley buys a house on Audubon Drive No. 1034 for himself and his parents out of the money he received for the single ” Heartbreak Hotel “. In the 13 months Elvis lived here, he became a huge success both with his music and feature film

On December 4, 1956, Elvis visited Sam Phillips in the Sun Studios. Here a jam session took place, which later became known as ” The Million Dollar Quartet “, which in addition to Elvis also consisted of Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. About 40 titles were recorded, some however incomplete and in fragments. Listen 69 minutes here.

1957 – On March 17, the 22-year-old Elvis bought a property located at 3764 Bellevue Street, now called Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis. The property, called ” Graceland “, was expanded due to its growing staff (the Memphis Mafia ), so the house initially had only 954 m² to 1,631 m² today.

1960 – Students make peaceful demonstrations in Nashville in the small restaurants to protest against racial segregation, which became a huge success for the civil rights movement. The blacks and their white supporters insisted on being served coffee in the area that was only allowed for the whites. Read more here.

1968 – On April 4, Martin Luther King is assassinated (shot) on the balcony outside his motel room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He was only 39 years old. The perpetrator, James Earl Ray, was sentenced to 99 years. The motel is today a museum of racial discrimination and civil rights. Read more here.

On September 14, 1968, Roy Orbinson ‘s home burned down at Old Hickory Lane in Hendersonville while touring England. Two of his three sons perished. He still hadn’t finished mourning the death of his wife in a motorcycle accident two years earlier, and this accident put a temporary stop to his career in the 1970s. Read more here about his tragedies.

1977 – The day before the scheduled start of another tour, August 16, Elvis Presley was found dead at. 13:30 on his bathroom floor in his home, only 42 years old. Elvis was buried two days after his death in Forrest Hill Cemetery ( read here ) on Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis. However, there was so much attention around his burial site that on October 2, 1977, he and his mother’s mortal remains were reburied at Graceland.

1982 – After Elvis Presley’s death in 1977, Graceland is transformed into a museum, which opened its doors to the public on June 7. The museum has over 600,000 visitors annually and is the second most visited attraction in the United States, surpassed only by the White House in Washington. Graceland was named ‘National Historic Landmark’ on 27 March 2006.

1985-93 – Politician Al Gore was governor of Tennessee before becoming the 45th Vice President from 1993-2001 with Bill Clinton as president. Gore ran as a presidential candidate in 2000 against George W. Bush, but lost even though he received more votes. A recount of votes sparked a political crisis, of which Bush, however, became the ultimate winner.

1992 – Guns N ‘Roses plays a 2-hour, 40-minute show for 19,000 fans at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis on January 7. Listen to 102min here.

2001 – The deranged passenger in the Greyhound bus from Chicago, Damir Igric, threatened the driver with his hobby knife. On Interstate 24 near Manchester, 80 miles southeast of Nashville, he suddenly cut the driver (who survived)’s throat and tried to steer the bus, which, however, smoked into the oncoming lane and collided with it. 7 passengers out of 39, including Igric, died in the accident.

2002 – BOXING: World Cup Heavyweight Fight between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson aired on PPW from Pyramid Arena in Memphis on June 8th. Lennox knocked out Tyson in the 8th round, keeping his titles. The match was the most lucrative ever, earning $ 106.9 million from 1.95 million buyers of the match in the US until it was surpassed by De La Hoya vs. Mayweather in 2007.

2003 – On March 17-20, up to 28 tornadoes were counted from Texas to Georgia, 22 of which hit Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee the most. A total of 14 people in Tennessee lost their lives in the northeastern part of the state.

2012 – In August, Chattanooga was marked in world history as the first city to have its own font, called Chatype.

Tennessee History