Hernando Desoto discovered the Mississippi River in this vicinity in 1541. On the site of Memphis in 1682, La Salle built Fort Prudhomme, and in 1794 John Overton, an Indian affairs agent, established a trading post on the bluff. Three businessmen founded the city in 1819: James Winchester, John Overton and Andrew Jackson—who later became President of the United States. It was incorporated in 1826 and named Memphis (literally translated as “Place of Good Adobe”) by Jackson.
In the southwestern most part of the state, Memphis lies where Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas meet, thus making it easily accessible. This mid-America location is a definite advantage to business, industry, tourists and residents. River, rail, motor and air form the area’s highly developed transportation network, establishing the city as America’s distribution center.
Memphis is a city on the move—a changing city that is working to grow better as well as bigger. Memphis is the largest city in Tennessee and the seat of Shelby County, situated high on the Chickasaw Bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Memphis’ estimated population in 2004 was 641,418, the 18th largest in the nation. Shelby County’s 2004 population was estimated at 908,843, with an eight-county metropolitan population of more than 1.1 million.