Originally inhabited by the Shawnee Indians, the city was settled by Europeans in 1779 and named Fort Nashborough after Revolutionary War hero Francis Nash.
By the beginning of the Civil War, Nashville was prospering as a river port and railway center, only to be hammered down by Union troops. The Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897 and its concurrent building boom signaled the city’s recovery – the lovely Victorian-style brick buildings of downtown are a legacy of this period.
From 1925, Nashville became known for its live-broadcast Barn Dance, later nicknamed the Grand Ole Opry. Its popularity soared, the city proclaimed itself the ‘country-music capital of the world’ and recording studios sprang up in Music Row.
Today Nashville is the second most populous city in Tennessee, with more than a dozen colleges and universities and an economy based on music, tourism, healthcare and publishing.