Introduction of Tennessee-River
River of SE United States, it is formed just N of Knoxville,Tennessee, and follows a U-shaped course Sinto N Alabama and then N to the Ohio River atPaducah, Kentucky. The principal tributary of theOhio River, it is 650 miles long. Formerly navigableonly by flatboats, it has increased in importance as awaterway since the 1930s, when the Tennessee ValleyAuthority converted it into a chain of lakes by the constructionof nine dams. During the Civil War it presentedan obvious route to the Union for an invasionof the western Confederacy and was followed by GeneralUlysses S. Grant's army in February 1862 in capturingFort Henry and Fort Donelson on the wayto Vicksburg. State in the south central region, admitted to theUnion as the 16th state in 1796. Its name is that of aCherokee Indian town, first written as Tinnase. Virginiaand Kentucky are to the N; North Carolinato the E; Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to theS; Arkansas and Missouri to the W. There areremains of the Mound Builders here, who were succeededby the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Shawnee, and Creek Indian tribes. Hernand o de Soto, in 1540, wasthe first European in the region. French explorerstraveling down the Mississippi claimed the area, and c. 1680 Rene-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle builtFort Prudhomme. The French erected other posts,and English trappers from Virginia and the Carolinasentered the region. In 1756 British troops and menfrom South Carolina established Fort Loudon on the Little Tennessee River, but the garrison was massacredby the Cherokees in 1760.France lost its claim to the area in 1763; and thefirst permanent settlement was made in 1769 in theWatauga River valley by Virginians, who were followedby North Carolinians. The first attempt at governmentwas made in 1772 when these pioneersformed the Watauga Association; and in 1777, attheir request, North Carolina organized the settlementsinto a county. Jonesboro, founded in 1779,became the county seat. That year, too, the Cherokeesceded a large area to the settlers, but some Cherokeesrefused to recognize the agreement and madewar. The settlers objected when North Carolina cededthe region to the federal government and in 1784 theyset up their own State of Franklin. Four years laterNorth Carolina again took charge, and in 1790 Tennesseebecame part of the Southwest Territory.Pioneers came in from the Carolinas, Virginia,and Pennsylvania especially, and the state prosperedin the 19th century as canals and railroads were built.Memphis was laid out in 1819, and more settlersarrived after the Cherokees and Chickasaws weremoved W in the 1830s. In early 1861 a referendumrejected secession; but another in June, after the CivilWar began, approved it. Tennessee turned out, afterVirginia, to be the bloodiest battleground of the war.The capture of Fort Henry on the Tennessee Riverin February 1862 and of Fort Donelson on theCumberland the same month were the first majorUnion victories. In April the Battle of Shiloh, nearPittsburg Land ing, was a narrow victory for Uniongeneral Ulysses S. Grant. At the end of 1862 the Battleof Murfreesboro began, ending in a Confederateretreat. Several battles marked the ChattanoogaCampaign of August to November 1863, in whichthe Union army finally took the city. When the Confederatesattempted to regain the state in 1864 theywere defeated at Franklin in November and decisivelybeaten at Nashville in December.After the war Tennessee was the first state to bereadmitted to the Union, in March 1866. That yearthe Ku Klux Klan was organized in Tennessee, butthe Radical Republicans controlled the governmentuntil 1870, after which some of their reforms wereundone. The farm tenancy system that replaced thelarge slave-manned plantations was not successful,but gradually industry increased and economic conditionsimproved. The Tennessee Valley Authority,started in 1933 by the federal government, has beenof vital importance to the state in providing waterways,irrigation, and hydroelectric power. Materialfor the first atomic bombs was produced at OakRidge in the early 1940s. School integration causedsome disruption in the 1960s. In July 1980 there wereriots in Chattanooga after members of the Ku KluxKlan, on trial, were acquitted.Nashville is the capital. Memphis is the largestcity, and others are Chattanooga and Knoxville.

Tennessee-River Images