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Tenneessee Stateguide

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The state of Tennessee is the 36th largest and the 17th most populous of United States. Tennessee's capital and second largest city is Nashville. Memphis is the state's largest city. The bordering states of Tennessee include Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama, Missouri and Arkansas. Tennessee attained statehood on June 1, 1796 and became the sixteenth state of the Union [1].

Tennessee Fast Facts:

Date of Statehood: June 1, 1796
Capital: Nashville
State Amphibian: Tennessee Cave Salamander
State Bird: Mockingbird
State Game Bird: Bobwhite Quail
Official Sport Fish: Smallmouth bass
State Flower: Iris
State Fruit: Tomato
State Rock: Limestone
State Reptile: Eastern Box Turtle
State Tree: Tulip Poplar
Official Wild Animal: Raccoon

History of Tennessee

The 16th century witnessed Spanish expeditions passing through what is now Tennessee. In 1541 Hernando de Soto’s Flagband traveled through the area that was to become present day Tennessee. Following this the native area was used largely as a hunting ground. In 1770s four different communities had been established in northeastern Tennessee – on the Watauga River, the Nolichucky, the North Holston and in Carter’s Valley. In 1779 Jonesborough became the first chartered town in Tennessee. The Tennessee militia played important part in the victory of the battle at Kings Mountain in 1780.

Days before statehood, Tennesseans struggled to gain political voice. Later the State of Franklin was formed in part of East Tennessee in 1784. Congress approved the admission of Tennessee as the sixteenth state of the Union on June 1, 1796. The capitol moved to its permanent site in Nashville in 1826. In 1861 Tennessee withdrew from the Union and was readmitted to the Union after the state became the third state of ratify the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866. Delegates from across the state met in 1870 to rewrite the Constitution in 1870. The official state seal was adopted in 1987.

Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, giving right to vote to women in 1920. In 1953 state legislators amended the state constitution, removing the poll tax. The state also saw some major disasters such as the Great Train Wreck of 1918 and the SS Sultana explosion on the Mississippi River near Memphis. In 2002 Tennessee amended the state constitution to allow for the establishment of a lottery. The state constitution was amended to reject same-sex marriage. In 2011 flooding in Memphis forced evacuation of 1,300 homes.

Tennessee History Timeline

1541: Hernando de Soto’s band traveled through Tennessee.
1673: James Needham, Gabriel Arthur of England explored Tennessee River Valley.
1780: The Tennessee militia played important part in the victory of the battle at Kings Mountain.
1784: The State of Franklin formed in part of East Tennessee.
1796: Congress approved the admission of Tennessee as the sixteenth state of the Union on June 1, 1796.
1815: Andrew Jackson and his troops from Tennessee defeated the British army at the Battle of New Orleans.
1826: The capitol moved to its permanent site in Nashville.
1828: Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States.
1861: Tennessee became the last state to withdraw from the Union.
1866: Tennessee readmitted to the Union after the state became the third state of ratify the Fourteenth Amendment.
1870: Delegates from across the state met in 1870 to rewrite the Constitution.
1897: Tennessee Centennial Exposition held in Nashville in honor of the one hundredth birthday of the state.
1905: Tennessee Flag was adopted.
1920: Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, giving right to vote to women.
1941/45: Over 300,000 Tennesseans served in the armed forces during World War II.
1996: Tennessee celebrated its bicentennial.
1977: Tennessean Alex Hailey won the Nobel Prize for his book Roots.
1990: Martha Craig Daughtrey became the first woman to serve on the Tennessee Supreme Court.
2002: Phil Bredesen, Former Nashville Mayor, elected Governor.
2011: Flood in Memphis forced evacuation of 1,300 homes.

Geography of Tennessee

The state of Tennessee is about 491 miles long and 115 miles wide [2]. The total area of the state is 42,146 square miles of which 41,220 square miles is land and 926 square miles is water. Tennessee's longitude is 86o 37.3'W and latitude is 35o 47.7'N. The bordering states of Tennessee include Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama, Missouri and Arkansas.

Geography Quick Facts

Total Area: 42,146 square miles
Land Area: 41,220 square miles
Water Area: 926 square miles
Average Rainfall: 52.98 inches
Highest Point: Clingman's Dome (6,643 feet)
Lowest Point: Mississippi Bottoms (178 feet above sea level)
Major Rivers: Tennessee, Cumberland, Mississippi, Duck and Clinch
Major Lakes: Kentucky, Chickamauga, Tims Ford Reservoir, Norris, Cherokee

Topography of Tennessee

The topography of Tennessee stretches from the lowlands of the Mississippi Valley to the mountain peaks in the east. The westernmost part of Tennessee consists of gently rolling plains and gradually sloping in the western part from 200 to 250 feet to about 600 feet above sea level in the hills [3]. The hilly Highland Rim makes up the whole of Middle Tennessee. The Cumberland Plateau has an average elevation of 2,000 feet. It extends northeast-southwest across the State in a belt 30 to 50 miles wide. The Great Valley is a funnel shaped valley with varied width from about 30 miles in the south to about 90 miles in the north. The Great Smoky Mountains, the most rugged and elevated portion of Tennessee, lie along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. There are numerous peaks from 4,000 to 6,000 feet along the Smoky Mountains.

The highest point in the state is Clingman's Dome which is 6,643 feet, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while the lowest Point is Mississippi Bottoms, 178 feet above sea level near the Mississippi River. The major rivers of the state include Tennessee, Cumberland, Clinch, Mississippi and Duck.

Rivers in Tennessee

The important rivers in Tennessee are the following:

Tennessee River

The largest tributary of the Ohio River, the Tennessee River is approximately 652 miles long. Located in the southeastern United States in the Tennessee Valley, the river is a major highway for riverboats through the south and has many economic functions such as the boat building industry and transportation.

Mississippi River

The Mississippi River is the chief river of the largest drainage system in North America. The Mississippi is the fourth longest and tenth largest river in the world.

Duck River

The 284 miles Duck River is the longest river in Tennessee. The river is the most biologically diverse river in North America with over 50 species of freshwater mussels and 151 species of fish. Free flowing for most of its length, the river drains a significant portion of Middle Tennessee.

Cumberland River

The The 688-mile Cumberland River is a major waterway of the Southern United States. The river drains almost 18,000 square miles north-central Tennessee and of southern Kentucky. Major tributaries of the river include the Caney Fork, Obey, Red rivers and Stones.

Clinch River

The Clinch River is an important Tennessee river. The river rises in Southwest Virginia and flows southwest through the Great Appalachian Valley and joins the Tennessee River in East Tennessee. The the Powell River is an important tributary of the Clinch River.

Forests of Tennessee

The forests of Tennessee cover 14 million acres of the state. Forests in Tennessee are of great benefit to the state as Foresttheir advantages include wildlife habitat, recreation, timber production, energy conservation, air and water quality, storm water control and others. The state forests in Tennessee range from mountain coves to bottom lands along the Mississippi. The authorities manage state forests for natural resources including game and non-game wildlife and high-quality timber. State forests in Tennessee offer hiking, hunting, bird watching and tranquility to travelers. The Tennessee Division of Forestry is responsible for forest conservation, protection and enhancement. The division focuses on wildfire control, forest health and forest productivity and promoting forestland values and benefits.

Important Forest Contact Details

West Tennessee District Forester
P.O. Box 438, Lexington, TN 38351
Phone: (731) 968-6676
Fax: (731) 968-5356

Highland Rim District Forester
3497 Church Street, Burns, TN 37029
Phone: (615) 797-3117
Fax: (615) 797-3113

Cumberland District Forester
929 West Jackson Street STE C, Cookeville, TN 38501
Phone: (931) 526-9502
Fax: (931) 526-2279

East Tennessee District
P.O. Box 2666, Knoxville, TN 37901-2666
Phone: (865) 594-6432
Fax: (865) 594-8907

Climate of Tennessee

The climate of the state is mostly related to the widely varying topography within its borders. The average annual temperature across the state varies from over 62o F in the extreme southwest to near 45 degrees atop the highest peaks of the east. The climate of most part of the state is warm with humid summers and mild winters with variations with elevation. As the elevation increases, summer months become more pleasant and cooler while winters become colder and more blustery.

There exists a gradual decrease of average precipitation from south to north. Due to relatively mild winter temperatures snow cover rarely persists for more than a few days over most of the state. Flood season comes during the winter and early spring time when the frequent migratory storms bring general rains of high intensity. Heavy thunderstorm rains frequently result in local flash flooding during the summer.

Demographics of Tennessee

The population of Tennessee as of 2014 estimation by the U.S. Census Bureau was 6,549,352, which showed an increase of 3.2% since the 2010 US Census. Tennessee is the 17th most populous US states. Tennessee's center of population is located in Rutherford County, Murfreesboro.

Tennessee Racial groups, 2013

  • White alone: 79.1%
  • Black or African American alone: 17.0%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone: 0.4%
  • Asian alone: 1.6%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone: 0.1%
  • Two or More Races: 1.7%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 4.9%
  • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 74.9%

Tennessee population quick facts [4]

Population, 2014: 6,549,352
Population, 2013: 6,497,269
Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014: 3.2%
Population, 2010: 6,346,105
Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013: 6.2%
Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013: 23.0%
Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013: 14.7%
Female persons, percent, 2013: 51.2%

Economy of Tennessee

Both the industry and agricultural sector play a predominant role in the economy of Tennessee. Agriculture has a profound impact on the economy of Tennessee. Similarly industry also gives in a lion’s share to the economy of the state. Among the industries mining, manufacturing and service industry are major economic contributors. the employment status in Tennessee is that in January 2015, 2,810.0 people were employed in Tennessee while 201.5 remained unemployed and the unemployment rate was 6.7% . The state government is the largest single employer in Tennessee[5].

Agriculture in Tennessee

Agriculture has a profound impact on the economy of Tennessee. Agriculture and forestry are the primary drivers of local economic activity in the rural areas of the state. The impact of agriculture and forestry is felt throughout the manufacturing, distribution, processing, and marketing sectors of Tennessee’s economy.

Major findings in agriculture in Tennessee:

  • Agriculture and forestry contributed $71.4 billion to the economy of Tennessee in 2009 [6].

  • Within the state agriculture and forestry accounted for 14.7 percent of economic activity.

  • More than 10.3 % of the workforce was employed by agriculture and forestry.

  • Agriculture accounted for 10.4 % of the economy of the state. It generated $50.4 billion in output.

  • Agriculture input supplying industries generated nearly $2.5 billion in cash receipts annually.

Important agricultural facts

  • Top agricultural products of Tennessee are cattle and calves, broilers, greenhouse/nursery, cotton, corn, soybeans, dairy products, hay, tobacco and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

  • Agricultural production generates much income in farm cash receipts.

  • Farming and forestry are important Tennessee agricultural activities.

  • More than 41 % of the state’s land area is in farms.

  • Forests in Tennessee produce millions of board feet of hardwood and softwood lumber.

Industries in Tennessee

  • Mining industry is vital to the economy of Tennessee. In 2004 mining industry ranked twenty-fourth nationally in total non fuel mineral production value and twenty-first in coal production[7].

  • Manufacturing is another topmost industry in Tennessee. Manufacturers account for almost 15 % of the total output in Tennessee, employing 11.4 % of the workforce. For the past several years the total output from manufacturing has ranged from $31 to $40 billion [8].

  • Processed foods like grain products, breakfast cereals, bread, flour are most important sector of the Tennessee manufacturing industry.

  • Production of transportation equipment, aircraft equipment and automobiles are important manufacturing items.

  • Limestone deposits provide the largest chunk of the mining economy in Tennessee. Coal is one of the valuable mined products in Tennessee.

  • The most income for Tennessee's economy comes from community, business and personal services produce.

  • Important service industry includes private health care, motels law firms, and business services.

  • Wholesale trade and retail trade services group generate much economy of the state.

  • Finance, insurance and real estate are another topmost service proving industry in Tennessee.

Tourism in Tennessee

Tourism also plays a significant role in the economy of Tennessee. Tourism and its related industries serve as largest employers of the state. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is responsible for promoting tourism in the state and also to make plans and policies for the tourism sector to serve to the economy of the state.

Contact Details
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development
William Snodgrass/Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 741-2159
Email: tourdev@tn.gov
Website: http://www.tn.gov/tourdev/

Some of the top tourist destinations in Tennessee include:

Transportation in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT ) is responsible to provide the best transportation system to the citizens of Tennessee. TDOT is a multimodal agency with responsibilities in aviation, railroads, transit, waterways and bicycle and pedestrians. The involvement of TDOT ranges from airport improvements to funding transit buses to planning for river ports. The mission of the department is to plan, maintain, implement and manage an integrated transportation system for the movement of people and products.

The TDOT is responsible to provide safe and reliable road transportation system in Tennessee. The involvement of TDOT ranges from maintenance to funding to planning to executing roadways plan in the state. Road transportation in Tennessee comprises of highways, transit buses, motorbikes and so on.

The TDOT looks after the development of rail transportation in the state. The department supports improvements in railroads and rail service in Tennessee. Railways are an important mode of interstate and intercity connectivity as well as for freight movements.

The Aeronautics division of TDOT maintains the aviation system of the state. It is responsible for engineering services, aviation planning studies and improvement of airport. It looks after operational safety and efficiency of the state aviation facilities system. The TDOT administers funding and assistance in design, construction, location and maintenance of the public airports in the state.

The Department of Transport is responsible for water transport in the state. The department looks after all the water transport related activities in the state. Tennessee has more than 1,062 navigable waterway miles. Tennessee waterways connect terminals on the Tennessee, Cumberland and Mississippi Rivers and their tributaries with river ports in 21 states and ocean ports.

Learn more on Tennessee Transportation

Government of Tennessee

The State Constitution of Tennessee is the guardian of the government of Tennessee as the government is structured and established by the State Constitution of Tennessee. The State Constitution of Tennessee distributes the powers of the government into three distinct branches—the executive, the legislative and the judicial.

The Tennessee Constitution vests the Supreme Executive Power of the state with the Governor. The governor and his executive branch agencies administer laws and mandates and programs created by the General Assembly.

The Constitution vests the legislative authority of the state in the General Assembly. The General Assembly therefore, has the sole authority to pass laws. Tennessee has a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

According to Tennessee Constitution the judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court and other courts established by the Legislature. The judiciary of Tennessee consists of three appellate courts-- the Supreme Court, court of appeals and court of criminal appeals. It further composes of four trial courts of general jurisdiction-- the chancery court, probate court, circuit court and criminal court. There is again three courts of limited jurisdiction-- the juvenile court, general sessions court and municipal court.


The Tennessee Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and the collection of taxes and fees. Tax laws include entire laws and taxes on sales, property, luxury, estate and other services.

Learn more on Tennessee Government

Tennessee Healthcare

The Tennessee Department of Health is responsible to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of the Tennessee people. The key responsibilities of the department include screening for and immunizing children against diseases, offering early prenatal care and proper nutrition to pregnant women and young children and providing and assuring a safety net of care. The department implements and maintains programs and services that benefit the health and well being of the people of Tennessee.

Important hospitals in Tennessee are Vanderbilt University Medical Center, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Methodist Hospitals of Memphis, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, Centennial Medical Center, Johnson City Medical Center, Parkwest Medical Center among others.

Education in Tennessee


The Tennessee Department of Education is dedicated to improve student achievement and success in all spheres of life. The department acts as a platform of ensuring that Tennessee attains the fastest rate of student improvement and achievement. The department aims to:

  • Build an effective state agency that serves as a delivery system to districts
  • Support policies to remove bureaucracy and unleash innovation
  • Operate from an ethos of continuous improvement through measurement at every level

Click to know more about Education Department

Universities and Colleges in Tennessee

Sports in Tennessee

The two major professional sports teams of Tennessee are the National Football League's Titans and the NHL's Nashville Predators. The Minor league baseball teams playing throughout Tennessee are Memphis, Chattanooga, Johnson City, Nashville, Elizabethton, Kingsport, and Lynchburg.

The colleges and universities of Tennessee also provide the major fall and winter sports. The University of Tennessee Volunteers and Vanderbilt University Commodores compete nationally in football, baseball and basketball.

Important Sports Clubs of Tennessee are:

  • Tennessee Titans
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Nashville Predators
  • Memphis Redbirds
  • Nashville Sounds
  • Chattanooga Lookouts
  • Tennessee Smokies
  • Jackson Generals
  • Elizabethton Twins
  • Greeneville Astros

Interesting Facts About Tennessee

  • Tennessee's motto is agriculture and commerce.

  • Tennessee's state poem is "Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee".

  • The nickname of Tennessee is the "Volunteer State".

  • The state beverage of Tennessee is Milk.

  • The official state horse is Tennessee Walking Horse.


  1. Tennessee Statehood
  2. Tennessee area
  3. Tennessee topography
  4. Tennessee population
  5. Tennessee employment rate
  6. Agriculture finding
  7. Tennessee Manufacturing
  8. Tennessee Mining
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