Friday, March 30, 2012

Do you know how Tennessee got it's name?

Here's the short and hopefully sweet version:

There was an important Cherokee village on a river that we now call the Little Tennessee.  It was known as Tanasi or Tanase or many variations of spellings.  There was another village named Tanasi, either on the Little Tennessee or the Hiwasee. 

The Little Tennessee River took its name from the village, at least by European Americans.  A larger area also began to be known as Tanasi.

The spelling we use today, Tennessee, was recorded as early as 1754.  When a constitutional convention met in Knoxville on January 11, 1796, to organize a new state out of the Southwest Territory, it chose to apply the name "Tennessee” to the whole state.

There are little variations on this story, as well as more details and longer stretches of history, including the story of the Spanish explorers in Tennessee.  If you'd like to, you can study all that on your own.  But, this, in one Tennessee moment, is how the state got its name.


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