Tennessee State Flag
Tennessee State Seal
Tennessee is a state located
in the Southern United States. In 1796, it became the sixteenth state
to join the Union. Tennessee is known as the "Volunteer State",
a nickname it earned during the War of 1812, in which volunteer soldiers
from Tennessee played a prominent role, especially during the Battle
of New Orleans. The capital city is Nashville.
- % water
109,247 km² (36th)
- Total (2000)
53.29 /km² (19th)
June 1, 1796
UTC-5/-4 (eastern counties)
Central: UTC-6/-5 (central and western)
81°37'W to 90°28'W
lies adjacent to 8 other states, matched only by Missouri
which also borders 8 states. Tennessee
is bordered on the north by Kentucky
and Virginia, on the east
by North Carolina, on the
south by Georgia, Alabama
and Mississippi, and on
the west by Arkansas and
Missouri. The state is trisected
by the Tennessee River. The highest point in the state is the peak of
Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet (2,025 meters), which lies on Tennessee's
eastern border. The geographical center of the state is located several
miles east of Murfreesboro
on Old Lascassas Pike; the site is marked by a roadside monument.
of Tennessee is traditionally divided by its people into three,
culturally distinct grand divisions—East, Middle, and West Tennessee.
The Tennessee River is generally considered the dividing line between
Middle and West Tennessee. The Cumberland Plateau is generally considered
the dividing line between East and Middle Tennessee.
features six principal geographic regions. Roughly from west to east,
- Gulf Coastal
Plain - including the Mississippi embayment
- Nashville Basin
- Highland Rim
- this is continuous with the region in Kentucky termed the Pennyroyal
- Cumberland Plateau
- also called the Appalachian Plateau
- Blue Ridge Mountains
- including the Great Smoky Mountains
The area now known
as Tennessee was first settled
by Paleo-Indians nearly 11,000 years ago. The names of the cultural
groups that inhabited the area between first settlement and the time
of European contact are unknown, but several distinct cultural phases
have been named by archaeologists, including Archaic, Woodland, and
Mississippian whose chiefdoms were the cultural predecessors of the
Muscogee people who inhabited the Tennessee River Valley prior to Cherokee
migration into the river's headwaters.
When Spanish explorers
first visited the area, led by Hernando de Soto in 1539–43, it
was inhabited by tribes of Muscogee and Yuchi people. For unknown reasons,
possibly due to expanding European settlement in the north, the Cherokee,
an Iroquoian tribe, moved south from the area now called Virginia.
As European colonists spread into the area, the native populations were
forcibly displaced to the south and west, including all Muscogee and
Yuchi peoples, including the Chickasaw and Choctaw. From 1838 to 1839,
nearly 17,000 Cherokees were forced to march from Eastern Tennessee
to Indian Territory west of Arkansas.
This came to be known as the Trail of Tears, as an estimated 4,000 Cherokees
died along the way.
was admitted to the Union in 1796 as the 16th state, and was created
by taking the north and south borders of North
Carolina and extending them with only one small deviation to the
Mississippi River, Tennessee's western boundary. Tennessee
was the last Confederate state to secede from the Union when it did
so on June 8, 1861. After the American Civil War, Tennessee
adopted a new constitution that abolished slavery (February 22, 1865),
ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
on July 18, 1866, and was the first state readmitted to the Union (July
24 of the same year).
was the only state that seceded from the Union that did not have a military
governor after the American Civil War, mostly due to the influence of
President Andrew Johnson, a native of the state, who was Lincoln's vice
president and succeeded him as president, due to the assassination.
In 1897, the state
celebrated its centennial of statehood (albeit one year late) with a
The need to create
work for the unemployed during the Depression, the desire for rural
electrification, and the desire to control the annual spring floods
on the Tennessee River drove the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority,
the nation's largest public utility, in 1933.
During World War
II, Oak Ridge
was selected as a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory, one
of the principal sites for the Manhattan Project's production and isolation
of weapons-grade fissile material.
celebrated its bicentennial in 1996 after a yearlong statewide celebration
entitled "Tennessee 200" by opening a new state park (Bicentennial
Mall) at the foot of Capitol Hill in Nashville.
Origin and history of the
The earliest variant
of the name that became Tennessee
was recorded by Captain Juan Pardo, the Spanish explorer, when he and
his men passed through a Native American village named "Tanasqui"
in 1567 while travelling inland from South Carolina. European settlers
later encountered a Cherokee town named Tanasi (or "Tanase")
in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee. The town was located on a river
of the same name (now known as the Little Tennessee River). It is not
known whether this was the same town as the one encountered by Pardo.
The meaning and
origin of the word are uncertain. Some accounts suggest it is a Cherokee
modification of an earlier Yuchi word. It has been said to mean "meeting
place", "winding river", or "river of the great
The modern spelling,
Tennessee, is attributed
to James Glen, the Governor of South Carolina, who used this spelling
in his official correspondence during the 1750s. In 1788, North Carolina
named the third county to be established in what is now Middle Tennessee
"Tennessee County". When a constitutional convention met in
1796 to organize a new state out of the Southwest Territory, it adopted
"Tennessee" as the name of the state.
Law and Government
holds office for a four year term and may serve any number of terms,
but not more than two in a row. The speaker of the state Senate has
the title of lieutenant governor.
The General Assembly
(the state's legislature) consists of the 33-member Senate and the 99-member
House of Representatives. Senators serve four year terms, and House
members serve two year terms.
The highest court
in Tennessee is the state
Supreme Court. It has a chief justice and four associate justices. The
Court of Appeals has 12 judges. The Court of Criminal Appeals has nine
state constitution was adopted in 1870. The state had two earlier constitutions.
The first was adopted in 1796, the year Tennessee
joined the union, and the second was adopted in 1834.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2003,
Tennessee's population was 5,841,748 people.
makeup of the state is:
0.3% Native American
1.1% Mixed race
The five largest ancestry groups in Tennessee
are: American (17.5%), African American (16.4%), Irish (9.3%),
English (9.1%), German (8.3%).
once made up 28 percent of the state's population and are 16 percent
today. The state's African-American population is concentrated
mainly in West Tennessee and the city of Nashville.
6.6% of Tennessee's
population were reported as under 5, 24.6% under 18, and 12.4%
were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.3% of the population.
affiliations of the people of Tennessee
Protestant – 83%
Baptist – 42%
Methodist – 11%
Church of Christ – 6%
Presbyterian – 3%
Other Protestant/general Protestant – 21%
Roman Catholic – 6%
Other Christian – 1%
Other Religions – 1%
Non-Religious – 9%
According to U.S.
Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2003 Tennessee's Gross State Product
was $199,786,000,000, 1.8% of the total Gross Domestic Product.
In 2003, the per
capita personal income was $28,641, 36th in the nation, and only 91%
of the national per capita personal income of $31,472. Total earnings
were $167,414,793,000. (BEARFACTS)
State sales tax
is 7% (6% on nonprepared food), while the counties charge an additional
2.25% for a total of 9.25% across Tennessee.
Some cities charge additional 0.50% sales tax, leading to a total of
9.75%: some of the highest sales taxes in the United
States. The overall state tax rate is relatively low, however, as
Tennessee does not tax wage
and salary income (although it does tax unearned income).
is a right to work state.
Important Cities and Towns
The current capital
have all served as state capitals. Memphis
has the largest population of any city in the state, but Nashville
has a larger metropolitan area. Chattanooga
both in the eastern part of the state near the Great Smoky Mountains,
each have approximately a third of Memphis
population. The three cities of Bristol,
City make up a fifth significant population center, often called
the "Tri-Cities", in the far northeast of the state. As of
2000, the population is 5,689,283.
railroad hub, financial center
Civil War battleground
Rock City (located in nearby Lookout Mountain, Georgia)
Main campus of University of Tennessee
Tennessee Valley Authority headquarters
1982 World's Fair
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
of rock and roll"
of Martin Luther King
of the centers of 60s and 70s soul music (Stax, Hi)
Memphis Grizzlies, National Basketball Association franchise
University of Memphis (formerly Memphis State University)
Worldwide shipping giant FedEx
center of country music industry
Southern Baptist Convention headquarters
Many other small private colleges and universities
Tennessee Titans, National Football League franchise
Nashville Predators, National Hockey League franchise
campus of Austin Peay State University
Fort Campbell, home of 101st Airborne Division of U.S. Army
of God (Cleveland) headquarters
of East Tennessee State University
railway center for three states originally known as Johnson's
Depot and later as "Little Chicago"
headquarters of Eastman Chemical Company
in 1917 as "the Model City"
to Cracker Barrel restaurant chain and site of first location
of Nashville Superspeedway
of Middle Tennessee State University
center of Tennessee
of famous American Civil War Battle of Stones River (also
known as the Battle of Murfreesboro)
Colleges and Universities
Peay State University
Memorial College of Health Sciences
State Community College
- East Tennessee
- Fisk University
- King College
- Lane College
- Lee University
College of Art
Tennessee State University
State Community College
College of Design
The University of the South
of Tennessee System
of Tennessee (Knoxville)
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
University of Tennessee Space Institute
of Tennessee at Chattanooga
of Tennessee at Martin
- National Basketball
- National Hockey
Professional Hockey League
- National Football
League baseball teams
- West Tenn
Diamond Jaxx (Jackson)
League basketball teams
League soccer teams
- Real Memphis
The Tennessee Valley
Authority is based in Knoxville.
On August 18, 1920, Tennessee
become the thirty-sixth and clinching state to ratify the 19th Amendment
to the U.S. Constitution, allowing women the right to vote.
The USS Tennessee was named in honor of this state.
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