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  • 1541 Hernando de Soto views Mississippi River from fourth Chickasaw bluff, site of today's Memphis.

  • 1682 La Salle claims Mississippi Valley for France.

  • 1739 French governor of Louisiana orders a fort built on fourth Chickasaw bluff.

  • 1795 Manuel Gayoso, in order to expand Spanish lands in North America, erects Fort San Fernando on Mississippi River.

  • 1797 Americans build Fort Adams on ruins of Fort San Fernando, and the Spanish flee to the far side of the river.

  • 1818 Chickasaw Nation cedes western Tennessee to the United States.

  • 1819 Town of Memphis founded.

  • 1826 Memphis is incorporated.

  • 1840s Cheap land makes for boom times in Memphis.

  • 1857 Memphis and Charleston Railroad completed, linking the Atlantic and the Mississippi.

  • 1862 Memphis falls to Union troops but becomes an important smuggling center.

  • 1870s Several yellow-fever epidemics leave the city almost abandoned.

  • 1879 Memphis declares bankruptcy and its charter is revoked.

  • 1880s Memphis rebounds.

  • 1890s Memphis becomes largest hardwood market in the world, attracting African Americans seeking to share in city's boom times.

  • 1892 First bridge across Mississippi south of St. Louis opens in Memphis.

  • 1893 Memphis regains its city charter.

  • 1899 Church Park and Auditorium, the city's first park and entertainment center for African Americans, are built.

  • 1909 W. C. Handy, a Beale Street bandleader, becomes the father of the blues when he writes first blues song for mayoral candidate E. H. "Boss" Crump.

  • 1916 Nation's first self-service grocery store opens in Memphis.

  • 1925 Peabody hotel built. Tom Lee rescues 23 people from sinking steamboat.

  • 1928 Orpheum Theatre opens.

  • 1940 B.B. King plays for first time on Beale Street, at an amateur music contest.

  • 1952 Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88," considered the first rock-'n'-roll recording, is released by Memphis's Sun Studio.

  • 1955 Elvis Presley records his first hit record at Sun Studio.

  • 1958 Stax Records, a leader in the soul-music industry of the 1960s, founded.

  • 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated at Lorraine Motel.

  • 1977 Elvis Presley dies at Graceland, his home on the south side of Memphis.

  • 1983 Renovated Beale Street reopens as tourist attraction and nightlife district.

  • 1991 National Civil Rights Museum opens in former Lorraine Motel. Pyramid completed.

  • 1992 Memphis elects its first African-American mayor.

  • 1993 Two movies based on John Grisham novels, The Firm and The Client, are filmed in Memphis.

  • 1998 Memphis booms with $1.4 billion in expansion and renovation projects.

  • 2000 Memphis Redbirds baseball team play their first season in new, $68.5-million AutoZone Park downtown.

  • 2001 Grizzlies move to Memphis, becoming city's first, long-awaited NBA team.

  • 2002 Groundbreaking begins on FedEx Forum downtown.

  • 2003 Sun Studio founder Sam Phillips dies.

  • 2003 Soulsville USA: Stax Museum of American Soul Music opens in South Memphis.

  • 2004 FedEx Forum basketball arena and concert venue opens at foot of Beale Street.

  • 2005 Films including Hustle & Flow, Forty Shades of Blue, and Walk the Line were shot in Memphis.

  • 2006 Craig Brewer's Black Snake Moan is shot in Memphis.

  • 2007 Ground-breaking begins on Ground Zero Blues Club, a Clarksdale, MS-based juke-joint and restaurant partly owned by Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman.

  • Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.