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General background about this state

Tennessee Flags     Tennessee Great Seal


  Johnson City

Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It is bordered by Arkansas and Missouri to the west, Kentucky and Virginia to the north, North Carolina to the east, with Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south.

  • NICKNAME: The Volunteer State
  • POPULATION: 6,495,978 (2013 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Nashville
  • STATE BIRD: Mockingbird
  • AREA: 42,143 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: East: Eastern, - center and west: Central
  • ENTERED UNION: June 1, 1796
  • ALTITUDE: High, 6,643 ft. Clingmans Dome
  • CLIMATE: Hot summers; short, generally mild winters. Moderate rainfall; some mountain snow.


From its rich bottom lands bordering the Mississippi in the west to its stony uplands in the east, Tennessee, during the mid-20th Century, went through a period of revolutionary transformation. Chiefly and initially responsible has been the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Once one of the poorest southern states, Tennessee was plagued by backward farming methods that allowed rampaging rivers to wash away topsoil. But today, thanks to TVA's effective flood control system and agricultural education program, the state is able to produce valuable crops of corn, cotton, and tobacco, and to nurture dairy herds. Through the power of the TVA projects, Tennessee quickly became the nation's largest public utility supplier. Currently TVA's service area covers most of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, and small slices of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.

In addition to the improvements in farming techniques that boosted the economy, Tennessee has gradually been shifting its emphasis from farming to manufacturing, which now accounts for nearly 15 percent of the state’s total output and employs 11.4 percent of its workforce. This new revenue stream provided much needed jobs to the state with a 15% poverty rate; as of 2013, over 300,000 Tennessee workers are employed in the manufacturing industry. Today, many major corporations have headquarters located in Tennessee, including FedEx, AutoZone and International Paper.

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Although known to Indians as "the land of Peaceful Hunting", Tennessee was to become one of the great battlegrounds of the Civil War. The state seceded in 1861, when Confederate sentiment in the plantation economy of the middle and western counties won out over Union loyalties in the east. Of the more than 450 battles and skirmishes fought on Tennessee soil, five of the war's bloodiest battles took place here-Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Franklin, and Nashville- leaving the state with memories of a proud and tragic past.



  • Many of the lakes in Tennessee are reservoirs created by dams built to control floods and to power turbines that generate electricity.
  • Tennessee shares Great Smoky Mountains National Park with North Carolina. Located within a half-days drive of nearly half the people in the United States, it is the most visited national park in the country.
  • Graceland, Elvis Presley's mansion in Memphis, is the most visited house in the United States after the White House.
  • The state earned its nickname as a result of the remarkable bravery shown by volunteer soldiers from Tennessee at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.
  • The National Civil Rights Museum is in Memphis's Lorraine Motel, site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
  • Tennessee boasts over 3,800 caves.


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