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As you enter the capital city of Tennessee, you are greeted by one of the most vibrant communities in the US. A community of warmhearted and down-to-earth people living as close to the American dream as possible. Strolling down the streets of Nashville Tennessee, is far from a casual walk; it’s an experience, and it tells a story about the people, its culture, and history. We could spend days talking about the city's gorgeous suburban living environment or the sprawling urban neighborhoods, where the city never sleeps. 


Nashville TN is far from being a typical American city. There is more to it than meets the eye, and by taking a glimpse into its history, you can understand why the Music City came to be what it is today. Here are some historical facts about the city of Nashville TN, and the history that shows us how it became one of the best places to live in Tennessee and in the country.

First settlements of Nashville

The first settlers in the area that is known today as Nashville were Indians of the Mississippian culture. They managed to live there for more than 400 years between 1000 to 1400 B.C. Their primary occupation was to grow corn, paint beautiful pottery, and make earthen mounds. They mysteriously disappeared later on, and archaeologists believe that their departure was due to a regional collapse and pressure brought by the rapid population growth and dwindling resources.


After the first settlers, other Indian tribes such as the Cherokee, Shawnee, and Chickasaw used the area as a hunting ground. More recent history presents the arrival of French fur traders in the area, who managed to establish a trading post here in 1689. Further down the road, the first settlement was not established until 1779, when James Robertson and a party of Wataugans founded what was known at the time as Fort Nashborough.

The early history of Nashville TN

There is little to no archeological evidence that might suggest the presence of Native Americans in the Nashville area around the year 1500 and until the late 1600s. However, the region was a hunting ground for many tribes living in the Ohio and Tennessee River areas. The earliest European expedition that arrived in the area that would become Nashville were the French fur traders that established a trading post in 1689 on the Cumberland River. Later on, the Frenchman Jean du Charleville set a trading post in 1710 at today’s Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, a wonderful place to visit amongst other great things to do in Nashville TN.


As the region became an important trade post between the French and the Native American hunters, the area became known as “French Lick.” In 1778 an Irishman named John Buchanan Sr. migrated with his family to the Cumberland Settlements and built a station on the southern side of the river above the French Lick. This would become the high ground where Nashville now stands, and in early 1779, his son John Buchanan became one of the first founders of Nashville TN, after the siege of Buchanan’s Station.


Another settlement arrived when James Robertson left North Carolina and reached Cumberland River’s shores near the center of present downtown Nashville in 1779. After clearing the land and building a log stockade named Bluff station, Richard Henderson planned to rename it into Nashborough in honor of General Francis Nash, a hero in the American Revolution. For a brief time, they called it Fort Nashborough, but as more families arrived on April 23, 1780, a new community was founded, and it became part of North Carolina. The town of Nashville was officially created in 1784 by a North Carolina legislature act.

Early statehood of Nashville

After the State of Franklin’s failed experiment, North Carolina ceded its land to the federal government. The union admitted the territory as the state of Tennessee in 1796, and even though Nashville was a small settlement, its central location and its status turned into the state capital fairly quickly. After that, Nashville became the state’s center because of its political, commercial, financial, and religious advantages.


In 1806, Nashville was chartered as a city, and the first significant project was the building of Nashville Water Works around the reservoir on the bluff south of the town. Today it is known as the Rolling Mill Hill, and it came into existence thanks to a generous loan from a Philadelphia businessman. To this day, water from the Cumberland River is pumped by steam engines into the reservoir.

Nashville post-war history 

Because Tennessee was the last state to join the Confederacy during the Civil war, it soon became a target for the Union, primarily because of its symbolic importance. The capital of Tennessee was a desirable price for the Union, and at the end of February 1862, Nashville was the first capital to fall to Union troops. The battle of Nashville on December 15 was decisive, and the Confederate forces were defeated. During the war, the city received many refugees because there were plenty of job opportunities, and the city was safer than the countryside.


After the Civil War, Nashville quickly became an important trade center, and the population grew to 80,000 people by 1900. The city became one of the most competitive states politically after the Civil War, and many state legislature laws were changed. Besides the war, the town was hit later on by the Great Fire of 1916, which destroyed 500 homes and damaged the city's economy. Following the event was the Great train wreck of 1918, when an inbound local train collided with an outbound express, becoming one of the most deadly rail accidents in US history.


Following World War 2, the city started to gain ground in the music industry as music entrepreneurs such as Roy Acuff turned Nashville into the country music capital. In 1942 the first Nashville-based country music publishing company was born. The winter of 1951 brought about another disaster as Nashville experienced the most severe blizzard in the city’s history.


Nashville became the center of the Civil Rights movement, and the protests launched by the sit-in campaign in 1960 ended the practice of racial segregation. In 1998 the expansion of the National Hockey League brought the Nashville Predators to the city. One year later, the Tennessee Oilers moved to Nashville and began the inaugural season for the Tennessee Titans. In two years, Nashville witnessed the expansion of two professional sports organizations. Further development and expansion of the city have occurred in multiple industries leading to population growth of about 82 residents per day in 2016. 


Today the city along the Cumberland River is considered to be the crossroads of American culture. Ranking as one of the fastest-growing regions in the Upper South, Nashville TN deserves to be the beloved and appreciated city that it is today. With the current city plans for residential and business development, even you can be a part of the community. Get in touch with a few realtors in Nashville TN, who can help you find the ideal home and help you integrate into one of the best and fastest-growing communities in the US.


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