• Native Americans settled in Tennessee around 12000 years ago . The first humans to live in what is now Knoxville were of the Woodland tribe, a group of hunters and trappers driven south from the Great Lakes region by climatic changes, probably about 1000 B.C. Their culture eventually gave way to that of the more sophisticated mound builders, whose influence was felt throughout most of the South. The Shawnee and Creek briefly occupied small areas in the state, but little archaeological evidence has been found. By the 18th century, the only native peoples living permanently around what would later be Knoxville were the Cherokee. The Cherokee people called this area Shacomage, or "Place of Blue Smoke." Early contacts between the European settlers and the Cherokee were fairly cordial, which encouraged colonial expansion into the land west of the Great Smoky Mountains. White's Fort (Tennessee)White's Fort was settled in 1786 by James White (general)James White, a militia (United States)militia officer during the American Revolutionary War. When William Blount, the territorial governor of the Southwest Territory, moved the territorial capital to White's Fort in 1791, he renamed it Knoxville in honor of Henry Knox, the American Revolutionary War general and George WashingtonWashington's United States Secretary of WarSecretary of War. One of William Blount's first tasks was to meet with the Cherokee and establish territorial boundaries; this he accomplished almost immediately in the Treaty of Holston, and he believed that he had "purchased" much of what is now East Tennessee when it was signed in 1791. However, the terms of the treaty came under dispute, culminating in several large Cherokee attacks on Knoxville: 200 Cherokee lead by John Watts marched on Knoxville in 1792, and a second group of Cherokee attacked Covet's Station in 1793. Both attacks were repelled by Knoxville settlers. Knoxville settlers attacked the Cherokee several times as well; when the government invited the Cherokee's chief Hanging Maw for negotiations in 1793, Knoxville settlers attacked the Cherokee against orders, killing the chief's wife. Peace was renegotiated in 1794 . Despite these tensions, the Treaty of Holston opened the area to even more settlers; Knoxville served as the territorial capital until 1796, when a constitutional convention was held in Knoxville to establish Tennessee as a U.S. statestate. When Tennessee entered the United States in 1796, Knoxville was the first capital of the state until 1815, when the capital was moved to Murfreesboro, TennesseeMurfreesboro. On May 28, 1830, President Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, requiring all Native Americans to leave their homes and move west of the Mississippi River. Many Cherokees refused to go, and filed a lawsuit against the government to stop this from taking place. However, many of the remaining Cherokee left the Knoxville area at this time in the Trail of Tears. During the American Civil War, the Battle of Campbell's Station was outside Knoxville on November 16, 1863. In that battle Confederate States of AmericaConfederate troops led by General James Longstreet unsuccessfully attacked United StatesUnion forces under General Ambrose Burnside. The next day, the two week long Siege of Knoxville began when Longstreet placed Knoxville under siege. The siege, which culminated in the Battle of Fort Sanders, failed and Longstreet returned with his men to General Robert E. Lee. The Battle of Fort Sanders (precipitated by the Siege of Knoxville, which began on November 17, 1863) was an engagement of the American Civil War fought in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Confederacy had never had effective control of large areas of East Tennessee. There had been little slavery practiced in East Tennessee, partly due to moral opposition to the practice and partly due to the fact that little of the land was suitable to plantation agriculture; pro-Union and Republican sentiment ran high and most East Tennesseans had not been in favor of secession. Therefore, Union forces had little trouble occupying Knoxville early in the conflict. Source:

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