Hyundai Tennessee, TN. Information Page
The earliest variant of the name that became Tennessee was recorded by Captain Juan Pardo, the Spanish explorer, when he and his men passed through a Native American village named "Tanasqui" in 1567 while travelling inland from South Carolina. European settlers later encountered a Cherokee town named Tanasi (or "Tanase") in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee. The town was located on a river of the same name (now known as the Little Tennessee River). It is not known whether this was the same town as the one encountered by Pardo.
The meaning and origin of the word are uncertain. Some accounts suggest it is a Cherokee modification of an earlier Yuchi word. It has been said to mean "meeting place", "winding river", or "river of the great bend".
The modern spelling, Tennessee, is attributed to James Glen, the Governor of South Carolina, who used this spelling in his official correspondence during the 1750s. In 1788, North Carolina named the third county to be established in what is now Middle Tennessee "Tennessee County". When a constitutional convention met in 1796 to organize a new state out of the Southwest Territory, it adopted "Tennessee" as the name of the state.
The area now known as Tennessee was first settled by Paleo-Indians nearly 11,000 years ago. The names of the cultural groups that inhabited the area between first settlement and the time of European contact are unknown, but several distinct cultural phases have been named by archaeologists, including Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian whose chiefdoms were the cultural predecessors of the Muscogee people who inhabited the Tennessee River Valley prior to Cherokee migration into the river's headwaters.
When Spanish explorers first visited the area, led by Hernando de Soto in 1539–43, it was inhabited by tribes of Muscogee and Yuchi people. For unknown reasons, possibly due to expanding European settlement in the north, the Cherokee, an Iroquoian tribe, moved south from the area now called Virginia. As European colonists spread into the area, the native populations were forcibly displaced to the south and west, including all Muscogee and Yuchi peoples, including the Chickasaw and Choctaw. From 1838 to 1839, nearly 17,000 Cherokees were forced to march from Eastern Tennessee to Indian Territory west of Arkansas. This came to be known as the Trail of Tears, as an estimated 4,000 Cherokees died along the way.1
Tennessee was admitted to the Union in 1796 as the 16th state, and was created by taking the north and south borders of North Carolina and extending them with only one small deviation to the Mississippi River, Tennessee's western boundary. Tennessee was the last Confederate state to secede from the Union when it did so on June 8, 1861. After the American Civil War, Tennessee adopted a new constitution that abolished slavery (February 22, 1865), ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on July 18, 1866, and was the first state readmitted to the Union (July 24 of the same year).
Tennessee was the only state that seceded from the Union that did not have a military governor after the American Civil War, mostly due to the influence of President Andrew Johnson, a native of the state, who was Lincoln's vice president and succeeded him as president, due to the assassination.
In 1897, the state celebrated its centennial of statehood (albeit one year late) with a great exposition.
The need to create work for the unemployed during the Depression, the desire for rural electrification, and the desire to control the annual spring floods on the Tennessee River drove the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest public utility, in 1933.
During World War II, Oak Ridge was selected as a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory, one of the principal sites for the Manhattan Project's production and isolation of weapons-grade fissile material.
Tennessee celebrated its bicentennial in 1996 after a yearlong statewide celebration entitled "Tennessee 200" by opening a new state park (Bicentennial Mall) at the foot of Capitol Hill in Nashville.