The TVA was created by Congress in 1933 as part of theNew Deal. Its initial purpose was to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, regional planning, and economic development to the Tennessee Valley, a region which was significantly affected by the Great Depression relative to the rest of the nation.
TVA was envisioned both as a power supplier and a regional economic development agency that would work to help modernize the region's economy and society, but later evolved primarily into an electric utility. It was the first large regional planning agency of the federal government and remains the largest. The TVA was considered a success in its efforts to modernize the Tennessee Valley, andbecame the global model for the United States' later efforts to help modernize agrarian societies in the developing world.