Welcome to Memphis, Tennessee, a city steeped in history and culture. Located in the southwest part of the state along the Mississippi River, Memphis is the second-most populous city in Tennessee and the fifth-most populous city in the Southeast. With a population of over 633,000 people, Memphis is a bustling metropolis that offers visitors a wide variety of landscapes and distinct neighborhoods to explore.
Memphis has a rich and storied past that dates back to the first millennium A.D. when people of the Mississippian culture were prominent in the area. The Chickasaw people later inhabited the site and a large territory in the Southeast. The city was founded in 1819 by John Overton, James Winchester, and Andrew Jackson and named after the ancient capital of Egypt on the Nile River. Memphis grew into one of the largest cities of the Antebellum South based on the wealth of cotton plantations and river traffic along the Mississippi.
After the American Civil War and the end of slavery, Memphis continued to grow into the 20th century. It became among the largest world markets for cotton and lumber. Home to Tennessee’s largest African-American population, Memphis played a prominent role in the American Civil Rights Movement. Leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated there in 1968 after activities supporting a strike by the city’s maintenance workers. The National Civil Rights Museum was established there and is a Smithsonian affiliate institution.
Since the civil rights era, Memphis has become one of the nation’s leading commercial centers in transportation and logistics. The largest employer is FedEx, which maintains its global air hub at Memphis International Airport. In 2021, Memphis was the world’s second-busiest cargo airport. The International Port of Memphis also hosts the fifth-busiest inland water port in the U.S. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network considers Memphis a Sufficiency level global city as of 2020.
Memphis is a center for media and entertainment, notably a historic music scene. With blues clubs on Beale Street originating the unique Memphis blues sound, the city has been nicknamed the Home of the Blues. Its music has continued to be shaped by a multicultural mix of influences: country, rock and roll, soul, and hip-hop. The city is home to a major professional sports team, the Grizzlies of the NBA. Other attractions include Graceland, the Memphis Pyramid, Sun Studio, the Blues Hall of Fame and Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Memphis-style barbecue has achieved international prominence, and the city hosts the annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year. Higher-level educational institutions include the University of Memphis and Rhodes College.
Come visit Memphis and experience the rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine that make this city a must-see destination. Whether you’re a music lover, a history buff, or a foodie, Memphis has something for everyone. Book your trip today and discover all that this amazing city has to offer!