Overview of Memphis, TN

Regarded as one of the most populous cities in Tennessee, the city of Memphis can be found on the southwest of the United States along the Mississippi River. The town also happens to be the county seat for Shelby County. Most of the wealth of the city before the turn of the century came from agricultural produce most especially cotton farming.

Once upon a time in history, Memphis was one of the significant areas where plantations of the south could be found. Slave trade was prominent in the region, and as a result, Tennessee now boasts of the one of the largest African-American population.

A brief history

Before the establishment of the city of Memphis in the year 1819, the area was primarily settled upon by people of Mississippian culture. Later on, the Chickasaw Indians settled on the land. In the year 1795, a Spanish fort was built on the property by the Governor-General of Louisiana after obtaining consent from the Indians.

The fort which was named Fort San Fernando de las Barrancas was the center of Spanish trade activity. Lumber and iron were some of the significant materials traded here. The fort was eventually dismantled, but by 1796, the location of it would form the beginning of the new state of Tennessee.

OriginsOn the eve of May 22, 1819, three wealthy Americans by the name of Andrew Jackson, John Overton and James Winchester founded a city by the name of Memphis. However, it was not until the year 1826 that it was officially incorporated. The town got its name from the ancient capital of Egypt.
TradeDue to its flood-free location, the city of Memphis developed as a primary center for transportation and commerce. Its position also made it one of the best lands for cotton planting. Therefore, the city bloomed as a significant market for cotton and other trade items in exchange.

Majority of the labor in the cotton economy of the south was gotten from African slaves. As a result of the high demands for labor to work the plantations, Memphis also became a massive slave trade center. From its proximity to the river, slaves and cotton, as well as other commodities, were quickly ferried to and from other parts of the world.

Civil War

In 1861 during the war between Union and Confederate soldiers, Tennessee seceded from the Union and became a Confederate stronghold. During the battle of Memphis in 1862, the city was captured by the Union and occupied by them till the end of the war. The trade of Memphis continued to flourish as the transport channels of the city were used as a supply base for the Union Army.

The war also saw the increase of the black population in Memphis as slaves escaped from plantations to gain protection behind Union lines. Race riots occurred in the city in the year 1866, and it led to a significant demographic of whites relocating from the city. Today, Tennessee has one of the largest black population within America.

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