Memphis is a city located along the Mississippi River in southwestern Shelby County, Tennessee, United States. The largest city on the Mississippi River, second-largest city in Tennessee.
The first European explorer to visit the area of present-day Memphis was Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto in 1541 with his expedition into the New World. The high bluffs protecting the location from the waters of the Mississippi would then be contested between the Spanish, French, and the English as Memphis took shape. Modern Memphis was founded in 1819 by three prominent Americans: John Overton, James Winchester, and future president Andrew Jackson.
Memphis grew into one of the largest cities of the Antebellum South as a market for agricultural goods, natural resources like lumber, and the American slave trade. After the American Civil War and the end of slavery, the city experienced even faster growth into the 20th century as 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 and was the site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1968 assassination. The city now hosts the National Civil Rights Museum—a Smithsonian affiliate institution. Since the civil rights era.
Today, Memphis is a regional center for commerce, education, media, art, and entertainment. The city has long had a prominent music scene, with historic blues clubs on Beale Street originating the unique Memphis blues sound during early 20th century. The city’s music has continued to be shaped by a multi-cultural mix of influences across the blues, country, rock n’ roll, soul, and hip-hop genres. Memphis barbecue has achieved international prominence, and the city hosts the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which attracts over 100,000 visitors to the city annually.
Graceland is a mansion on a 13.8-acre (5.6 ha) estate in Memphis, Tennessee, United States, once owned by the singer and actor Elvis Presley. His daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, has been the owner of Graceland since the passing of her father. It is located at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard in the vast Whitehaven community, about 9 miles (14.5 km) from Downtown and less than four miles (6 km) north of the Mississippi border.
It was opened to the public as a museum on June 7, 1982. The site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1991, and declared a National Historic Landmark on March 27, 2006. Graceland is the second most-visited house in the U.S. after the White House, with over 650,000 visitors a year.