Published on September 9, 2010 by Aquarius
The first recorded European excursions into what is now called Tennessee were three expeditions led by Spanish explorers, namely Hernando de Soto in 1540, Tristan de Luna in 1559, and Juan Pardo in 1567. Pardo recorded the name “Tanasqui” from a local Indian village, which may have evolved to the state’s current name. At that time, Tennessee was inhabited by tribes of Muscogee and Yuchi people. Possibly because of European diseases devastating the Native tribes, which would have left a population vacuum, and also from expanding European settlement in the north, the Cherokee 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, the Chickasaw, and Choctaw.
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The first British settlement in what is now Tennessee was Fort Loudoun, near present-day Vonore. Fort Loudoun became the westernmost British outpost to that date. The fort was designed by John William Gerard de Brahm and constructed by forces under British Captain Raymond DemerÃ©. After its completion, Captain Raymond DemerÃ© relinquished command on August 14, 1757 to his brother, Captain Paul DemerÃ©. Hostilities erupted between the British and the neighboring Overhill Cherokees, and a siege of Fort Loudoun ended with its surrender on August 7, 1760. The following morning, Captain Paul DemerÃ© and a number of his men were killed in an ambush nearby, and the most of the rest of the garrison was taken prisoner.