Join the ranks of researchers tracing their Volunteer State roots.
Oct. 7, 1763, King George III of England issued a proclamation forbidding colonists from settling beyond the crest of the Appalachian Mountains and encroaching on Indian territory. But that didn't stop early Virginians, Pennsylvanians and North Carolinians lured by rumors of Tennessee's lush farmland and the prospects of independence and economic stability. By spring of 1772, they had established permanent settlements along East Tennessee's Watauga River, and created America's first independent government, the Watauga Association.
Tennesseans have always embodied a pioneering spirit. After achieving statehood in 1796, many went on to explore lands farther west, including Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Those who stayed helped grow the state's economy and its largest cities — Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.