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Question #81066 posted on 02/11/2015 6:50 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Tennessee didn't become a state until 1796. Prior to that its lands were technically part of North Carolina. However, NC ceded those lands in 1790, six years before statehood. What was that area called during that six-year interim? Who did NC cede it to? (I'm guessing the federal government?)



Dear Genealogist,

From Wikipedia:

Three counties of the Washington District (now part of Tennessee) broke off from North Carolina in 1784 and formed the State of Franklin. Efforts to obtain admission to the Union failed, and the counties (now numbering eight) had re-joined North Carolina by 1789. North Carolina ceded the area to the federal government in 1790, after which it was organized into the Southwest Territory.

You can read the history of the Southwest Territory here. This was the first of many cases in which federally administered lands were organized into incorporated territories and later brought into the Union as states.

On a totally unrelated note, when I first saw your question in the inbox, I read "1796" as "1976" and was extremely confused for several seconds.