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Kingsport History, Tennessee

Kingsport, or the entire Tennessee region, has a long history…dating back 12000 years ago when it was inhabited by different native Indian tribes. This part of the history of Kingsport remains undocumented and our familiarity with it is essentially based on archaeological excavations and anthropological studies undertaken at various points in time.

Kingsport History– Pre-historic Times

The discoveries of different types of stone instruments used mostly by Paleo Indians indicate that they were among the first occupants of the region. The Paleo Indians had tried their hand at cultivation to find a solution to the shortage of food.

Next came the Woodland Indians and archaeological excavations in the region have thrown ample light on the traditions/customs and life of these people. If this was the transition phase, when nomadic societies were organizing themselves into tribal communities, the climax of the area’s pre-historic culture and development is definitely the Mississippian Culture. It is during this period that the role of the chieftains acquired significance.

Kingsport History– After the Arrival of Europeans

From the pre-historic times, we leap straight to the times when the Europeans tried gaining entry into the Tennessee-region in search of gold and silver. Spanish Adventurer Hernando De Soto, who camped at a site close to present-day Memphis in April 1541, was the first among them. Many explorers entered and toured different parts of Tennessee; however, it was not until 1748 when anyone could reach the present-day Kingsport site.

Following his discovery of Kingsport, Dr. Thomas Walker undertook another journey two years later – this time he went further north, entering Kentucky through the mountain pass (which he named Cumberland Gap). Thereafter, Kingsport became a significant halt en route to Kentucky. People started settling in the Kingsport area around the 1770s.

1822 was an important year in the history of Kingsport; in 1822 Kingsport was incorporated in the US state of Tennessee and it was in the same year that Kingsport was first chartered. The licensing proved beneficial and soon Kingsport emerged as an important shipping port supporting trade. Kingston, however, lost its charter during the turbulent days of the Civil War beginning April 1861.

Kingsport was an important post of the Confederate troops and the defeat of the troops at the hands of the federal army in the Battle of Kingsport (fought in 1864) was a decisive moment in Kingsport’s history. It took nearly half a century for the war-ravaged town to regain its lost prominence.

Kingsport History– Post Civil War Period

Kingsport was re-chartered in 1917; however, that is not the only good thing to have happened to the city. In the post civil war days, much of the city has been newly planned and today, with its distinct sectors, it is nominated as ‘The Model City’.

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