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State History Timeline

1541 Hernando de Soto’s band traveled through the area that was to become Tennessee.
1715 The last Shawnee had been driven out by Chickasaw and Cherokee attacks.
1770s Four different communities had been established in northeastern Tennessee – on the Watauga River, the North Holston, the Nolichucky, and in Carter’s Valley.
1779/80 During the winter and spring three hundred pioneers – black and white – made the difficult trek to the French Lick, as the future site of Nashville was then known.
1780 The battle at Kings Mountain was a key American victory during the Revolutionary War. The Tennessee militia played an important part in this victory.
1784 The State of Franklin was formed in part of East Tennessee. This short-lived State of Franklin passed out of existence in 1788.
1789 North Carolina ceded its western land, the Tennessee county, to the Federal Government. Congress now designated the area as the Territory of the United States, South of the River Ohio.
1796 On June 1, 1796, Congress approved the admission of Tennessee as the sixteenth state of the Union.
1815 On January 8th, Andrew Jackson and his troops from Tennessee defeated the British army at the Battle of New Orleans.
1818 The Chickasaw Treaty of 1818 extended Tennessee's western boundary to the Mississippi River, and opened up a rich, new agricultural area for settlement.
1826 The capitol moved to its permanent site in Nashville.
1828 Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States by landslide majorities in 1828 and 1832
1838 The U.S. Army was dispatched to evict the Cherokee and send them on a woeful trek to Indian Territory - the "Trail of Tears.
1844 James K Polk of Maury County was elected president.
1861 Having ratified by popular vote its connection to the fledgling Confederacy, Tennessee became the last state to withdraw from the Union.
1861/65 187,000 Confederate and 51,000 Federal soldiers mustered in from Tennessee as the Civil War raged throughout the south.
1865 Andrew Johnson became president following Lincoln's assassination in April.
1866 Tennessee was readmitted to the Union after the state became the third state of ratify the Fourteenth Amendment.
1870 Delegates from across the state met in 1870 to rewrite the Constitution.
1880 Englishman Thomas Hughes established the Rugby colony.
1894 Another experimental colony was Ruskin, founded in 1894 by the famous socialist publicist Julius Wayland.
1897 The Tennessee Centennial Exposition was held in Nashville in honor of the state's one hundredth birthday.
1898 Four regiments of Tennesseans were mustered into the volunteer United States Army during the Spanish-American War.
1917/18 Around 100,000 of the state's young men volunteered or were drafted into the armed services during World War I.
1920 Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
1925 The celebrated trial of John T. Scopes, the so-called "Monkey Trial" took place in Dayton.
1925 Reelfoot Lake was established as a state game and fish preserve, marking the first step toward the conservation of Tennessee's natural resources.
1933 The Tennessee Valley Authority built its first hydroelectric dams in Tennessee.
1940 The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt.
1941/45 During World War II, over 300,000 Tennesseans served in the armed forces while others served at home in war related industries.
1950/53 10,500 Tennesseans served in the Korean War.
1953 The Tennessee State Library and Archives building was dedicated to the men and women from Tennessee who served in WWII.
1960 Students held the first Nashville sit-in at downtown luncheon counters.
1965 A. W. Willis, Jr., from Memphis, became the first African American representative elected to the General Assembly in 65 years.
1968 Dr. King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where he had gone in support of the strike of the local sanitation workers.
1977 Tennessean Alex Hailey won the Nobel Prize for his book Roots.
1987 General Motors opened the new Saturn Corporation auto plant in Spring Hill.
1990 Martha Craig Daughtrey became the first woman to serve on the Tennessee Supreme Court.
1992 Albert Gore, Jr. was elected Vice-President of the United States.
1998 The University of Tennessee football team became the national champions, going undefeated for the season.
2002 Former Nashville Mayor, Phil Bredesen was elected Governor.