The first settlers in what is now known as Nashville were Indians of the Mississippian culture, who lived in the area about 1000 to 1400 A.D. They raised corn, made great earthen mounds, painted beautiful pottery -- and then mysteriously disappeared. Other Indians, the Cherokee, Chicksaw and Shawnee, followed and used the area as a hunting ground.
French fur traders, who established a trading post, came to the area around 1717. The first settlement, however, was not established until 1779. It was then, on the banks of the Cumberland near the center of present downtown Nashville, that a band of pioneers led by Englishman James Robertson cleared the land and built a log stockade. This was Fort Nashborough, named in honor of General Francis Nash who won acclaim in the Revolutionary War. John Donelson and some 60 families followed in April, 1780, to settle the new community that was then a part of North Carolina. In 1784 the community's name was changed from Nashborough to Nashville.
State Capitol Building
Tennessee became the sixteenth state in 1796 and Nashville was made its permanent capital in 1843.
By 1860 Nashville was a prosperous city, soon to be devastated by the Civil War. Because of its strategic location on the river and the railroad, the city was occupied by Federal troops for three years. The Battle of Nashville, fought in 1864, was the last aggressive action of the Confederate Army.
In the decades following the war, Nashville once again experienced a growth in population, business and industry and education. Another area of growth was in country music, which has grown to the point that Nashville today is known as Music City, USA.
Under its present Metropolitan Charter, which became effective April 1, 1963, Nashville and Davidson County have a single government with its authority encompassing more than a half-million people and 533 square miles. This widespread area is governed by a mayor , a vice-mayor and a legislative council of 40 members