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Facts About Memphis

Facts About Memphis Thousands of years before Spanish explorers arrived in 1540, Native American tribes settled in the area now known as Memphis. They built their dwellings atop bluffs that overlooked the Mississippi River. The French constructed Fort Assumption in 1739 to protect their fur trade. The United States eventually took control of the area in 1818. Memphis grew in importance as the focal point for the antebellum cotton trade. The city is a thriving river port, home of the second most active air cargo terminal in the world and the largest city in the Tennessee.

Memphis is the legendary home of great music. You can tour the Stax Museum, the Rock 'n' Soul Museum and the Gibson Guitar Factory. Graceland Museum displays the home, cars, aircraft and concert memorabilia that document the life of Elvis Presley. Mud Island Park enables visitors to see the impact that the Mississippi River has had on the city. Memphis is also home to the Dixon Galleries and the Brooks Museum.

William Faulkner, Shelby Foote and John Grisham have used Memphis as the setting in their novels. W.C. Handy, Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Marc Cohn and other artists have mentioned the city in numerous songs. It has served as the backdrop for movies, such as The Blind Side and The Firm.

The birthplace of the blues, Memphis' musical history includes W.C. Handy, Carl Perkins, Isaac Hayes and Booker T and the MGs. Stax Records created a sound that still influences music. Another local studio, Sun Records, produced well-known R&B, soul and blues artists. It also launched the careers of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and the King, Elvis Presley. The mystical lure of the city's unique musical history brings guests to the live performance venues on Beale Street.

You can view pandas, rhinoceros and other animals at the highly regarded Memphis Zoo. Overton Square is a popular destination for diners, shoppers and theatergoers. The Botanical Garden and Lichterman Nature Center enable guests to view a variety of native bird and animal species amidst a backdrop of colorful flowers, rolling meadows and woodland trees. Shelby Farms Park, home to a herd of bison, is a picturesque setting for fishing, hiking and biking as well as horseback riding. The park has climbing nets, sandboxes and a tree house for children.

Memphis is home to the best barbeque on either side of the Mississippi River. Whether you are a connoisseur of dry rub, wet, pulled pork or on the bone, Memphis has your kind of barbecue. With several famous restaurants and cook-off events, Memphis lays claim to the title of Barbeque Capital of the World. The mix of numerous attractions, great food and wonderful music makes Memphis a popular tourist destination.