State of Tennessee - TN

Tennessee is a U.S. 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.[1]

Map of Tennessee - PDF Tennessee lies adjacent to 8 other states: Kentucky and Virginia to the north; North Carolina to the east; Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi on the south; and Arkansas and Missouri on the west—which makes Tennessee tied with Missouri as the states which border the most other states. 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 m), which lies on Tennessee's eastern border. The geographical center of the state is located in Murfreesboro on Old Lascassas Pike (just down the road from Middle Tennessee State University) and is marked by a roadside monument.

The state of Tennessee is geographically and constitutionally divided into three Grand Divisions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee.

Tennessee features six principal physiographic regions: the Blue Ridge, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region, the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Nashville Basin, and the Gulf Coastal Plain.

Tennessee counties

East Tennessee
The Blue Ridge area lies on the eastern edge of Tennessee, on the border of North Carolina. This region of Tennessee is characterized by high mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountains, the Chilhowee Mountains, the Unicoi Range, and the Snowbird Mountains. The average elevation of the Blue Ridge area is 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level. Clingman's Dome is located in this region.

Stretching west from the Blue Ridge for approximately 55 miles (88 km) is the Ridge and Valley region, in which numerous tributaries join to form the Tennessee River in the Tennessee Valley. This area of Tennessee is covered by fertile valleys separated by wooded ridges, such as Bays Mountain and Clinch Mountain. The western section of the Tennessee valley, where the depressions become broader and the ridges become lower, is called the Great Valley.

Middle Tennessee
To the west of East Tennessee lies the Cumberland Plateau. This area is covered with flat-topped mountains separated by sharp valleys. The elevation of the Cumberland Plateau ranges from 1,500 to 1,800 feet (450 to 550 m) above sea level.

The northern section (in Kentucky) of the Highland Rim is sometimes called the Pennyroyal Plateau. To the west of the Cumberland Plateau is the Highland Rim, an elevated plain that surrounds the Nashville Basin. The Nashville Basin is characterized by rich, fertile farm country.This region is also known for its high tobacco production, and rich natural wildlife diversity.

Many biologists study the area's salamander species because the diversity is greater there than anywhere else in the U.S. This is thought to be because of the clean Appalachian foothill springs that abound in the area. Some of the last remaining large American Chestnut trees still grow in this region and are being used to help breed blight resistant trees. Middle Tennessee was a common destination of settlers crossing the Appalachians in the late 1700s and early 1800s. An important trading route called the Natchez Trace connected Middle Tennessee to the lower Mississippi River town of Natchez. Today the route of the Natchez Trace is a scenic highway called the Natchez Trace Parkway.

West Tennessee
West of the Highland Rim and Nashville Basin is the Gulf Coastal Plain, which includes the Mississippi embayment. The Gulf Coastal Plain is, in terms of area, the predominant land region in Tennessee. It is part of the large geographic land area that begins at the Gulf of Mexico and extends north into southern Illinois. In Tennessee, the Gulf Coastal Plain is divided into three sections that extend from the Tennessee River in the east to the Mississippi River in the west. The easternmost section consists of hilly land that runs along the western bank of the Tennessee River. This section of the Gulf Coastal Plain is about 10 miles (16 km) wide. To the west of this narrow strip of land is a wide area of rolling hills and streams that stretches all the way to Memphis. This area is called the Tennessee Bottoms or bottom land. In Memphis, the Tennessee Bottoms end in steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. To the west of the Tennessee Bottoms is the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, less than 300 feet (90 m) above sea level. This area of lowlands, flood plains, and swamp land is sometimes referred to as The Delta region.

Most of West Tennessee remained Indian land until the Chickasaw Cession of 1818, when the Chickasaw ceded their land between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi River. In Kentucky, this region is known today as Jackson Purchase.

Public lands
Areas under the control and management of the National Park Service include:

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Greeneville
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Fort Donelson National Battlefield and Fort Donelson National Cemetery near Dover
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Natchez Trace Parkway
Obed Wild and Scenic River near Wartburg
Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
Shiloh National Cemetery and Shiloh National Military Park near Shiloh
Stones River National Battlefield and Stones River National Cemetery near Murfreesboro
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
Twenty-three state parks, covering some 132,000 acres (534 km²) as well as parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest, and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park are in Tennessee. Sportsmen and visitors are attracted to Reelfoot Lake, originally formed by an earthquake; stumps and other remains of a once dense forest, together with the lotus bed covering the shallow waters, give the lake an eerie beauty.

Tennessee state parks

Most of the state has a humid subtropical climate, with the exception of the higher mountains, which have a humid continental climate. The Gulf of Mexico is the dominant factor in the climate of Tennessee, with winds from the south being responsible for most of the state's annual precipitation. Generally the state has hot summers and mild to cool winters with generous precipitation throughout the year. On average the state receives 50 inches (130 cm) of precipation throughout the year. Snowfall ranges from 5 inches (13 cm) in West Tennessee to over 16 inches (41 cm) in the higher mountains in East Tennessee.[2]

Summers in the state are generally hot, with most of the state averaging a high of around 90°F (32°C) during the summer months. Summer nights tend to be cooler in East Tennessee. Winters tend to be mild to cool, increasing in coolness at higher elevations and in the east. Generally, for areas outside the highest mountains, the average overnight lows are near freezing for most of the state.

Tennessee does have its share of severe weather. While the state is far enough from the coast to avoid any direct impact from a hurricane, the location of the state makes it likely to be impacted from the remnants of tropical cyclones which weaken over land and eventually dump tremendous amounts of rain. The state averages around 50 days of thunderstorms per year, and some of them can be quite severe. Tornadoes are not uncommon, with West Tennessee slightly more vulnerable to tornadoes.[3] On average, the state has 15 tornadoes per year.[4] Tornadoes in Tennessee can be severe, and Tennessee leads the nation in the percentage of total tornadoes which have fatalities.[5] Winter storms are an occasional problem—made worse by a lack of snow removal equipment and a population which might not be accustomized to travel in large amounts of snow—although ice storms are a more likely occurrence. Fog is a persistent problem in parts of the state, especially in much of the Smoky Mountains.

Main article: History of Tennessee
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. Possibly because of European diseases devastating the Native tribes, which would have left a population vacuum, and also from expanding European settlement in the north, the Cherokee 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, 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.[6]

Tennessee was admitted to the Union in 1796 as the 16th state; it was created by taking the north and south borders of North Carolina and extending them to the Mississippi River, with one small deviation. The word Tennessee comes from the Cherokee town Tanasi, which along with its neighbor town Chota was one of the most important Cherokee towns and often referred to as the capital city of the Overhill Cherokee. The meaning of the word "tanasi" is lost (Mooney, 1900).

Many major battles of the American Civil War were fought in Tennessee—most of them Union victories. It was the last border state to secede from the Union when it joined the Confederate States of America on June 8, 1861. Ulysses S. Grant and the U.S. Navy captured control of the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers in February 1862, and they held off the Confederate counterattack at Shiloh in April. Capture of Memphis and Nashville gave the Union control of the western and middle sections; this control was confirmed at the battle of Murfreesboro in early January 1863. But the Confederates held East Tennessee despite the strength of Unionist sentiment there, with the exception of extremely pro-Confederate Sullivan County. The Confederates besieged Chattanooga in early fall 1863, but were driven off by Grant in November. Many of the Confederate defeats can be attributed to the poor strategic vision of General Braxton Bragg, who led the Army of Tennessee from Shiloh to Confederate defeat at Chattanooga. The last major battles came when the Confederates invaded in November 1864 and were checked at Franklin, then totally destroyed by George Thomas at Nashville, in December. Meanwhile Andrew Johnson, a civilian appointed by President Abraham Lincoln, was the military governor, and slavery was abolished.

After the war, Tennessee adopted a new constitution that abolished slavery effective February 22, 1865 and ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on July 18, 1866. Tennessee was the first state readmitted to the Union on July 24, 1866. Because it ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, Tennessee was the only state that seceded from the Union that did not have a military governor during Reconstruction.

In 1897, the state celebrated its centennial of statehood (albeit one year late) with a great exposition.

The need to create work for the unemployed during the Great Depression, the desire for rural electrification, and the desire to control the annual spring floods and improve shipping on the Tennessee River drove the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933. It quickly became the nation's largest public utility.

During World War II, Oak Ridge was selected as a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, one of the principal sites for the Manhattan Project's production and isolation of weapons-grade fissile material.

Tennessee 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.

Historical populations
year Population


1790 35,691
1800 105,602
1810 261,727
1820 422,823
1830 681,904
1840 829,210
1850 1,002,717
1860 1,109,801
1870 1,258,520
1880 1,542,359
1890 1,767,518
1900 2,020,616
1910 2,184,789
1920 2,337,885
1930 2,616,556
1940 2,915,841
1950 3,291,718
1960 3,567,089
1970 3,923,687
1980 4,591,120
1990 4,877,185
2000 5,689,283
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2005, Tennessee has an estimated population of 5,962,959, which is an increase of 69,661, or 1.2%, from the prior year and an increase of 273,697, or 4.8%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 117,203 people (that is 414,305 births minus 297,102 deaths) and an increase from net migration of 159,680 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 49,973 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 109,707 people.

Demographics of Tennessee (csv)
By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI
AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native - NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2000 (total population) 82.08% 16.81% 0.69% 1.22% 0.08%
2000 (hispanic only) 1.99% 0.14% 0.05% 0.03% 0.02%
2005 (total population) 81.53% 17.22% 0.69% 1.47% 0.09%
2005 (hispanic only) 2.81% 0.17% 0.06% 0.03% 0.02%
Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 4.11% 7.37% 3.86% 26.24% 12.40%
Growth 2000-2005 (non-hispanic only) 3.02% 7.23% 2.41% 26.26% 12.66%
Growth 2000-2005 (hispanic only) 48.16% 24.52% 22.34% 25.23% 11.23%
Tennessee Population Density MapIn 2000, the five most common self-reported ethnic groups in the state were: American (17.3%), African American (16.4%), Irish (9.3%), English (9.1%), and German (8.3%).[1] Those who identify themselves as 'American' are most likely of British or Scotch-Irish (Ulster-Scots) descent.

The state's African-American population is concentrated mainly in Western and Middle Tennessee and the cities of Memphis, Nashville, Clarksville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville.

6.6% of Tennessee's population were reported as under 5 years of age, 24.6% under 18, and 12.4% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.3% of the population.

The religious affiliations of the people of Tennessee are:

Christian – 82%
Baptist – 39%
Methodist – 10%
Church of Christ – 6%
Presbyterian – 3%
Roman Catholic – 6%
Other Christian – 18%
Other Religions – 3%
Non-Religious – 9%
Source: American Religious Identification Survey (2001)

According to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2005 Tennessee's gross state product was $226,502 Billion making Tennesse the 18th largest economy in the nation. 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.

Major outputs for the state include textiles, cotton, cattle, and electrical power. There are 90,000 cattle farms in Tennessee all together.[citation needed] Middle Tennessee's importance in terms of cotton production was increased as richer lands became available. Large-scale cultivation of cotton did not begin until the 1820s with the opening of the land between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. The upper wedge of the Mississippi Delta extends into southwestern Tennessee, and it was in this fertile section that cotton took hold.

The Tennessee income tax does not apply to salaries and wages, but most income from stocks, bonds and notes receivable is taxable. All taxable dividends and interest which exceed the $1,250 single exemption or the $2,500 joint exemption are taxable at the rate of 6%. Generally, the state's sales and use tax rate is 7%. Food is taxed at 6%, but candy, dietary supplements and prepared food are taxed at the increased 7% rate. Local sales taxes are collected, and those rates vary from 1.5% to 2.75% (bringing the total to between 8.5% and 9.75% sales tax, one of the highest in the nation). Intangible property is assessed on the shares of stock of stockholders of any loan company, investment company, insurance company or for-profit cemetery companies. The assessment ratio is 40% of the value multiplied by the tax rate for the jurisdiction. Tennessee imposes an inheritance tax on decedents' estates that exceed maximum single exemption limits. ($1,000,000 for deaths 2006 and after)

Tennessee is a right to work state.


Interstate highways
Interstate 40 crosses nearly the entire state in an east-west orientation. Its branch interstate highways include I-240 in Memphis; I-440 and I-840 in Nashville; and I-140 and I-640 in Knoxville. I-26, although technically an east-west interstate, runs from the North Carolina border below Johnson City to its terminus at Kingsport. I-24 is the other east-west interstate crossing Tennessee.

In a north-south orientation are highways I-55, I-65, I-75, and I-81. Interstate 65 crosses the state through Nashville, while Interstate 75 serves Knoxville and Interstate 55 serves Memphis. Interstate 81 enters the state at Bristol and terminates at its junction with I-40 near Jefferson City. I-155 is a branch highway from I-55.

Major airports within the state include Nashville International Airport (BNA), Memphis International Airport (MEM), McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville, Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA), and Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI).

Law and government
Welcome sign entering Memphis, Tennessee on the Hernando De Soto Bridge over the Mississippi River.Tennessee's governor holds office for a four year term and may serve a maximum of two terms. The governor is the only official who is elected statewide, making him one of the more powerful chief executives in the nation. The state does not elect the lieutenant-governor directly, contrary to most other states; the Tennessee Senate elects its Speaker who serves as lieutenant governor.

The Tennessee General Assembly, the state 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. Each chamber chooses its own speaker. The speaker of the state Senate also holds the title of lieutenant-governor. Most executive officials are elected by the legislature.

The highest court in Tennessee is the state Supreme Court. It has a chief justice and four associate justices. No more than two justices can be from the same Grand Division. The Court of Appeals has 12 judges. The Court of Criminal Appeals has nine judges.

Tennessee's current 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.

Tennessee politics, like that of most U.S. States, revolves around the Democratic and Republican Parties. Democrats are very strong in metropolitan Memphis and Nashville. The Democratic Party is also relatively strong in most of Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee north of Memphis.

The Republicans have the most strength in East Tennessee, one of the few areas of the South with a Republican voting history that predates the 1960s. Much of this region has not elected a Democrat to Congress since the Civil War. In contrast, the Democrats dominated politics in the rest of the state until the 1960s. The Republicans also have much strength in the suburbs of Memphis and Nashville.

During the 2000 Presidential Election, Tennessee did not vote for Al Gore, who is a former U.S. Senator from Tennessee. The people instead voted for Republican George W. Bush.

Federally, Tennessee sends nine members to the House of Representatives. Currently, the delegation consists of five Democrats and four Republicans.

Tennessee Governors, U.S. Congressional Delegations from Tennessee

Important cities and towns
See also: List of cities and towns in Tennessee
Nashville: 569,891 (2000) Memphis: 680,768 (2005)The current capital is Nashville, though Knoxville, Kingston, and Murfreesboro 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 and Knoxville, both in the eastern part of the state near the Great Smoky Mountains, each has approximately a third of the population of Memphis or Nashville. The city of Clarksville is the fifth significant population center, some 45 miles (70 km) northwest of Nashville. The Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol metropolitan area (known as Northeast Tennessee and "Tri-Cities") is the state's fourth largest metropolitan area and is located in the extreme northeastern part of the state.

Major cities

Secondary cities

Johnson City
Oak Ridge

University of Tennessee Rhodes College Vanderbilt University
[edit] Colleges and universities
American Baptist College
Aquinas College
Austin Peay State University
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences
Belmont University
Bethel College
Bryan College
Carson-Newman College
Christian Brothers University
Columbia State Community College
Crichton College
Cumberland University
East Tennessee State University
Fisk University
Freed-Hardeman University
Johnson Bible College
King College
Knoxville College
Lambuth University
Lane College
Lee University
LeMoyne-Owen College
Lincoln Memorial University
Lipscomb University
Martin Methodist College
Maryville College
Meharry Medical College
Memphis College of Art
Middle Tennessee State University
Milligan College
Nashville State Community College
O'More College of Design
Rhodes College
Roane State Community College
Sewanee, The University of the South
Southern Adventist University
Tennessee State University
Tennessee Technological University
Tennessee Temple University
Tennessee Wesleyan College
Trevecca Nazarene University
Tusculum College
Union University
University of Memphis
University of Tennessee System
University of Tennessee (Knoxville)
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
University of Tennessee Space Institute
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
University of Tennessee at Martin
Vanderbilt University
Volunteer State Community College
Watkins College of Art and Design

Professional sports teams
The Memphis Grizzlies in action.Club Sport League
Memphis Grizzlies Basketball National Basketball Association
Nashville Predators Ice hockey National Hockey League
Tennessee Titans Football National Football League
Knoxville Ice Bears Ice hockey Southern Professional Hockey League
Memphis RiverKings Ice hockey Central Hockey League
Chattanooga Lookouts Baseball Minor League Baseball
Elizabethton Twins Baseball Minor League Baseball
Greeneville Astros Baseball Minor League Baseball
Johnson City Cardinals Baseball Minor League Baseball
Kingsport Mets Baseball Minor League Baseball
Memphis Redbirds Baseball Minor League Baseball
Nashville Sounds Baseball Minor League Baseball
Tennessee Smokies Baseball Minor League Baseball
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx Baseball Minor League Baseball
Chattanooga Steamers Basketball American Basketball Association
Cleveland Majic Basketball World Basketball Association
Nashville Rhythm Basketball American Basketball Association
Memphis Express Soccer USL Premier Development League
Nashville Metros Soccer USL Premier Development League
Nashville Kats Arena football Arena Football League
Memphis Xplorers Arena football arenafootball2
Tennessee River Sharks Indoor football National Indoor Football League

Miscellaneous topics

Name origin
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 traveling 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 Juan 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 bend".[2][3] According to James Mooney, the name "can not be analyzed" and its meaning is lost (Mooney, pg. 534).

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 created "Tennessee County", the third county to be established in what is now Middle Tennessee. (Tennessee County was the predecessor to current-day Montgomery 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.

The State of Tennessee has seven State Songs [4].
On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the thirty-sixth and clinching state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allowed women the right to vote.
USS Tennessee: Four ships of the United States Navy (and two ships of the Confederate States Navy) have been named in honor of Tennessee.
Crossville, Tennessee is the location of the United States Chess Federation.
The current oldest living person, Elizabeth Bolden, resides in a nursing home in Memphis, Tennessee.

people from Tennessee
Governors of Tennessee
Tennessee State Flag
Seal of Tennessee
Music of Tennessee
Scouting in Tennessee

^ Brief History of Tennessee in the War of 1812 from the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Retrieved April 30, 2006.
^ A look at Tennessee Agriculture. Last accessed November 1, 2006.
^ US Thunderstorm distribution. Last accessed November 1, 2006.
^ Mean Annual Annual Average Number of Tornadoes 1953-2004. Accessed November 1, 2006.
^ Top ten list. Accessed November 1, 2006.
^ Satz, Ronald. Tennessee's Indian Peoples. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1979. ISBN 0-87049-285-3
Bontemps, Arna. William C. Handy: Father of the Blues: An Autobiography. Macmillan Company: New York, 1941.
Brownlow, W. G. Sketches of the Rise, Progress, and Decline of Secession: With a Narrative of Personal Adventures among the Rebels (1862)
Schaefer, Richard T. "Sociology Matters". New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2006. ISBN 0-07-299775-3
Mooney, James. "Myths of the Cherokee". 1900, reprinted Dover: New York, 1995.

Further reading
Norton, Herman. Religion in Tennessee, 1777-1945. University of Tennessee Press, 1981.
Lamon, Lester C. Blacks in Tennessee, 1791-1970. University of Tennessee Press, 1980.
Van West, Carroll, ed. The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. 1998.
Van West, Carroll. Tennessee history: the land, the people, and the culture University of Tennessee Press, 1998.
Bergeron, Paul H. Antebellum Politics in Tennessee. University of Kentucky Press, 1982.
Cartwright, Joseph H. The Triumph of Jim Crow: Tennessee’s Race Relations in the 1880s. University of Tennessee Press, 1976.
Cimprich, John. Slavery's End in Tennessee, 1861-1865 University of Alabama, 1985.
Honey, Michael K. Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights: Organizing Memphis Workers. University of Illinois Press, 1993.
Finger, John R. "Tennessee Frontiers: Three Regions in Transition". Indiana University Press, 2001.


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