Memphis History

A City with a Rich Past

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Memphis History

Following the foot trails of animals and Native Americans from centuries ago, Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto visited this fourth Chickasaw bluff in 1541 to become the first European explorer to view the mighty Mississippi River. Three centuries later, Memphis, sitting atop the highest ground of the lower Mississippi River between Cairo and Natchez, was given its name, as it closely resembled another Memphis - on the Nile River delta in Egypt, home of the world’s tallest pyramids.

Memphis History

Being located in the geographical center of America, on the nation’s largest waterway, Memphis has always been a center for transportation, from great steamboat era in the 19th century to the spread of the nation’s railroads network in the early 20th century to being the #1 cargo airport in America for the past 25 years. The intermodal combination of river-rails-roadways-runways makes transportation, distribution and logistics the top industry in Memphis.

Memphis History

"Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock'n'Roll, Cradle of Soul and Crossroads of America's Music" is a promotional slogan, as the three major American musical art forms were originated from the Memphis area and transmitted to the world. W.C. Handy produced the "Memphis Blues" from Beale Street in 1912; Sam Phillips recorded Elvis Presley’s first rock’n’roll record at Sun Studio in 1954, and hard-driving sounds of Soul music erupted from Stax Recording Studio in 1960. According to Billboard magazine, more people write and sing about Memphis than any city in the world - over 1,000 songs!

Many would argue that no city in America tells the story of American History better than Memphis - from the early Native Americans to the European explorers to the 20th Century Entrepreneurs, from Civil War to Civil Rights, from Music to Medicine; Transportation, Distribution and Logistics - Memphis is the City of Good Abode.