Tennessee is a state located in the Southwestern region of the United States of America. It is bordered by Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky. It is a relatively small state in terms of area, but is the 17th largest in terms of population. The European history of Tennessee dates back to Spanish explorers in the 16th century, but the area has been inhabited for much longer than this. Let’s take a look at a brief history of the region and find out when it was made a state.
A Brief History
Spanish explorers entered the area now known as Tennessee in the 16th century (the first is believed to be Hernando de Soto in 1540), but before this time Native Americans had occupied the region for over 12,000 years. European settlement in the region was relatively slow and the first British settlement was built in 1756. Before and after the Revolutionary War Tennessee struggled to find a political voice. Much of the modern day state was controlled by North Carolina at this time, but due to frustrations with the situation part of East Tennessee broke away to form the State of Franklin (which eventually dissolved). This was an unrecognised government, but it did cause North Carolina to take more interest in the region.
North Carolina became a state in 1789 and as a part of the union it gave control of the western portion of the region (including modern day Tennessee) to the federal government. Congress created the Southwest Territory, which included all of the modern day Tennessee. In 1795 a census of the region showed that Tennessee had a large enough population to be made a state. Most people were in favor of the union so Tennessee leaders created a new state with a constitution and organized government. They presented the idea of statehood to the Congress, but because it was the first state to do so there was much debate. A close vote on June 1, 1796, approved the admission of Tennessee as the 16th state of the United States.