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Nashville, Tennessee


History of Nashville, Tennessee


The history of NASHVILLE begins with the first known settlers-Native Americans who arrived in the region around 13,000 BC. For millennia, the descendants of these Tennesseans continued to live along the river terraces overlooking the Cumberland River. All archaeological evidence for Mississippian culture appears to have vanished from the Nashville area around AD 1475-1500.

There is no evidence for native American presence in the area from 1500 through the late 1600’s. The region between the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers was a hunting ground for many tribes, and while the Shawnee occupied the area in the late 17th century, they were being challenged by the Cherokee and Chickasaw.

In 1769, French- Canadian explorers began a series of trips up the Cumberland to Nashville and settled permanently in 1788. Major John Buchanan, known for the siege of Buchanan’s Station, is considered to be one of the founders of Nashville.
However, a new settlement was founded which was then a part of North Carolina. The town was officially created and named Nashville in 1784.

In 1796, that territory was admitted to the union as the state of Tennessee. Nashville was still a small settlement in a vast wilderness, but its central location and status as the state capitol made it the financial, political, and religious center of the state.

In the War of 1812, General Andrew Jackson, a Nashville lawyer, defeated the Creek Indians and the British invasion army at the Battle of New Orleans, becoming a national hero. He was elected President in 1828.

In 1843, Nashville was selected as the permanent capitol and the building was constructed over the period of 1845-1859. It houses the Tennessee legislature and the Governor’s office.

Tennessee was considered one of the wealthiest southern capitals. Because of its prominence in iron production instead of slavery, it was the last state to join the Confederacy in 1861.
It became the immediate target of Union forces because of it’s importance as a shipping port. Nashville fell to the Union 8 months later- the first to fall to the Union. People blamed the then Gov. Islam Harris

After the Civil War, Nashville quickly grew into an important trade center and the population rose from 16,988 in 1860 to 80,800 in 1900.

In the late 1880’s, it’s African-American and poor white populations were affected by changes to laws by the state legislature, which made voter registration and voting more difficult by requirements including imposition of a poll tax in 1889. About one-third of the state’s citizens were shut out of the political process for decades. The civil rights movement in the 1960’s helped change this. Nashville was a center of the Civil Rights Movement

On March 22, 1916, a fire in East Nashville, known as the Great Fire of 1916, erupted destroying more than 500 homes. The fire significantly damaged the economy for decades. The city was also crippled by the most severe blizzard and ice storm in 1951.
The winter storm Jonas in 2016 was the most severe in the city’s history

Music entrepreneurs such as Roy Acuff made Nashville the country music capital after World War II. The Second Avenue/lower Broadway district now supports a large music industry as well as a musically flavored tourist center.

The current population is 694,618