History of Tennessee

Chippewa Indian

This illustrated article provides interesting facts, information and a history timeline of the Native American Indians of Tennessee.

The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Tennessee resulted in the adoption of the Southeast culture.

Discover the history, interesting facts and information about the way of life of the Tennessee Indians before the arrival of the white European settlers and colonists.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index

History of Tennessee Indians
Factors that contributed to the history of the state are detailed in the History Timeline. The history timeline shows the impact of the new comers to the state.

Stone Age History of Tennessee
The American Native Indians who lived in what is now the present state of Tennessee led a Stone Age lifestyle - they only had stone tools and weapons, had never seen a horse and had no knowledge of the wheel. The history of the Tennessee Indians are detailed in this article.

Map of Tennessee
The map of Tennessee provides a bird's eye view of the location of the tribal territories and homelands of the Tennessee Indians in relation to the present day United States of America. The map indicates the location of the State and the American Native Indians of Tennessee.


State Map of Tennessee

State Map showing location of Tennessee

State Map showing location of Tennessee Indians


Names of the Tennessee Indian Tribes
Tennessee is a state of the southeast United States.There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in the present day state of Tennessee. The names of the Tennessee tribes included the Catawba, Cherokee, Chiaha, Chickasaw, Mosopelia, Muskogee Creek, Natchez, Shawnee, Tali, Tuskegee and the Yuchi.

Fast Facts about the History of Tennessee Indians
The way of life and history of Tennessee Indians was dictated by the natural raw materials available in the State of Tennessee. The natural resources and materials available provided the food, clothing and houses of the Tennessee Indians. Fast facts about the history, culture and life of the State of Tennessee Indians. Discover facts and information about the history of the State of Tennessee Indians.

  • Name of State: Tennessee
  • Meaning of State name: Named after Cherokee name "Tanasi" meaning 'Little River'
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Tennessee: Great Smokey Mountains, low ridges Applachian Valley, flat Cumberland Plateau, coastal plain to the west; Mississippi alluvial plain and swamp areas
  • Culture adopted by Tennessee Indians: Southeast Cultural Group
  • Languages: Muskogean
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Hunter gatherers and hunter farmers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Asi Wattle and Daub houses

History Timeline of the Tennessee Indians
The history and the way of life of Tennessee Indians was profoundly affected by newcomers to the area. The indigenous people had occupied the land thousands of years before the first European explorers arrived. The Europeans brought with them new ideas, customs, religions, weapons, transport (the horse and the wheel), livestock (cattle and sheep) and disease which profoundly affected the history of the Native Indians. For a comprehensive History timeline regarding the early settlers and colonists refer to the
Colonial America Time Period. The history of the State and of its Native American Indians is detailed in a simple History Timeline. This Tennessee Indian History Timeline provides a list detailing dates of conflicts, wars and battles involving Tennessee Indians and their history. We have also detailed major events in US history which impacted the history of the Tennessee Indians.

Tennessee History Timeline

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Tennessee

10,000 BC: Paleo-Indian Era (Stone Age culture) the earliest human inhabitants of America who lived in caves and were Nomadic hunters of large game including the Great Mammoth and giant bison.

7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools

1000 AD: Woodland Period including the Adena culture (mounds, a burial complex and ceremonial system. The Adena lived in a variety of locations, including: Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and parts of Pennsylvania and New York.) and Hopewell cultures

1000: Mississippian Culture established. This was the last of the mound-building cultures of North America in Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States

1540: Hernando de Soto (1500-1542) explores the area in search of gold 

1673: 1673 James Needham and Gabriel Arthur sent by Virginia trader to scout trade with Cherokee Indians and explore the Tennessee River Valley

1775: Daniel Boone blazes a trail called the Wilderness Road from Virginia across the mountain at Cumberland Gap to open the land to settlement 

1758: The Anglo-Cherokee War (17581761) - The Cherokee uprising in present-day Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas

1775: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.

1776: 1776-1794 Chickamauga Wars aka the Second Cherokee War, a series of conflicts of the Cherokee against the encroachment into their territory. Open warfare broke out in 1776 between the Cherokee led by Dragging Canoe in East Tennessee.

1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence

1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land

1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence

1813: Creek War (18131814) erupted in Alabama and Georgia. The Creek Indians were defeated by American forces led by Andrew Jackson at Talladega in 1813, at Emuckfau, in 1814, at Enotochopco in 1814 and finally at the Horseshoe Bend of the Tallapoosa River when 750 Creeks were killed or drowned, and 201 whites were killed or wounded.

1830: Indian Removal Act

1832: Department of Indian Affairs established

1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.

1862: U.S. Congress passes Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers

1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy

1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers

1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.

1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Tennessee

State of Tennessee History Timeline

History of Tennessee Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Tennessee had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Tennessee Indians.


  • History of Tennessee Indians
  • Interesting Facts and information about the Tennessee Culture and History
  • Names of indigenous Tennessee tribes of Indians
  • Fast Facts, History Timeline and info
  • Map of Tennessee
  • History Timeline of the Tennessee Indians

State of Tennessee Indians - Additional Pictures and Videos
State of Tennessee Indian History. Discover the vast selection of pictures and videos of Native Americans. The pictures show the clothing, weapons and decorations of various Native American tribes that can be used as an educational history resource for kids and children. We hope that this article on the History of Tennessee Indians  will assist in your studies or homework and that you will enjoy watching the videos featuring many pictures of the Native Americans. A great historical educational resource for kids on the subject of the History of Tennessee Indians..


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