World History

Tennessee State History – Civil War, Appalachia, Music & Geography of Tennessee State

People have lived on the land of Tennessee for thousands of years. Archaeologists believe that the mound builders lived in the area until the 16th century. Some of the high hills built by these people can still be seen.

Information about Tennessee State:

Capital Nashville
Population 7,051,339 (Source: 2022 U.S. Census)
Major Cities Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville
Borders Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $475,755.1 million (2022 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Key Industries Agriculture including cattle, hogs, chickens, cotton, soybeans, wheat, apples, and peaches
Textiles, electrical power, automobile manufacturing, tourism, and electronic equipment

Flag of Tennessee State:

Native Americans

Before Europeans arrived in Tennessee, the land was settled by Cherokee and Chickasaw Indian tribes. The Cherokee lived in eastern Tennessee and built permanent homes. The Chickasaw lived in the West and were a nomadic tribe that moved frequently.

Europeans Arrive

The first European to arrive in Tennessee was Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541. Although he claimed Spanish lands, it was not until more than 100 years after him that Europeans began to settle the area.

In 1714 Charles Charleville built a small fort called Fort Lick in Tennessee. For many years he traded furs with local Indian tribes. This area would eventually become the city of Nashville.

After the outbreak of the French and Indian War between France and Great Britain in 1763, Great Britain took control of the country. They made it part of the North Carolina colony. At the same time, it passed a law prohibiting settlers from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Tennessee State Symbols

  • Tennessee State Nickname: Volunteer State
  • Tennessee State Slogan: The Stage Is Set For You; (formerly) Sounds Good to Me (formerly) Follow Me To Tennessee; also on its license plate
  • Tennessee State Motto: Agriculture and Commerce (1987)
  • Tennessee State flower: Iris
  • Tennessee State bird: Mockingbird
  • Tennessee State fish: Smallmouth bass (sport fish), Channel catfish (state commercial fish)
  • Tennessee State tree: Tulip Poplar
  • Tennessee State mammal: Common Raccoon, Tennessee walking horse
  • Tennessee State foods: Corn Meal

Colonizing Tennessee

Settlers began to settle in Tennessee, despite English law. It was a land of furs and open lands. The city of Nashborough he founded in 1779. It later became the capital, Nashville. People moved to the Tennessee border, and over the next few years the country became more and more settled.

Becoming a State

After the Revolutionary War, Tennessee became part of the United States. East Tennessee became Franklin in 1784, but only until 1788. Tennessee became a United States Territory in 1789, and on June 1, 1796, Congress made Tennessee the 16th state of the United States.

The Geography of Tennessee State:

  • Total Size of Tennessee: 41,217 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
  • Geographical Low Point of Tennessee: Mississippi River at 178 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Shelby (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Geographical High Point of Tennessee: Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Sevier (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Central Point of Tennessee: Located in Rutherford County approx. 5 miles northeast of Murfreesboro (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Counties of Tennessee: 95 (source: National Association of Counties)
  • Bodies of Water of Tennessee: Kentucky Lake, Norris Lake, Center Hill Lake, Douglas Lake, Tennessee River, Duck River, Cumberland River, Mississippi River

Civil War

When the Civil War broke out between the Union and Confederate armies in 1861, Tennessee was at odds over which side to take. In the end they decided to separate. Tennessee was the last state to join the Confederate States of America in June 1861. The Tennessee National Guard fought on both sides of the war, with 187,000 on the Confederate side and 51,000 on the Union side.

Several major Civil War battles were fought in Tennessee, including the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Chattanooga, and the Battle of Nashville. By the end of the war Union forces controlled most of Tennessee, and following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Tennessee’s Andrew Johnson was sworn in as president.

Country Music

In the 1920s, Nashville, Tennessee became known for country music. The music program “Grand Old Opry” was broadcast for the first time on the radio and was very popular. Since then, Nashville has become the country music capital of the world and has earned the nickname “Music City.”

Famous People of Tennessee State:

Usher Singer and actor
Justin Timberlake Singer and actor
Oscar Robertson Professional basketball player
Dolly Parton Country music singer
Morgan Freeman Actor
Aretha Franklin Singer
Miley Cyrus Singer and actress
Davy Crockett Folk hero and frontiersman
Kenny Chesney Country music singer
Bill Belichick NFL Football coach

Interesting Facts of Tennessee State:

Tennessee borders eight other states.

You can see parts of seven different states from Lookout Mountain.

The three stars on the Tennessee flag represent the three major geographic regions of the state.

The 1996 Whitewater Olympics were held on the Ocoee River in Tennessee.

The name Tennessee comes from the Native American word tanasi or tanski. When soldiers were needed during the War of 1812, Tennessee soldiers volunteered to help defeat the British at the Battle of Orléans, hence the name “Volunteer State.”

The oldest ongoing radio show in the United States is Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.

Elvis Presley’s birthplace Graceland in Memphis.

Knoxville is called the city of marble. Nashville is also called Music City. The world’s largest freshwater aquarium is located in Chattanooga.

Timeline Overview:

1541 – Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto becomes the first European to visit Tennessee.
1714 – Fort Lick is built near what would one day become Nashville.
1763 – Britain seizes control of France after the French and Indian War.
1784 – State of Franklin is established. Ends in 1788.
1796 – Congress makes Tennessee the 16th state in the United States.
1815 – Andrew Jackson leads the Army of Tennessee to victory at the Battle of New Orleans.
1826 – Nashville becomes the capital.
1828 – Andrew Jackson is elected President of the United States.
1844 – James K. Polk from Tennessee is elected President of the United States.
1861 – Tennessee becomes the last state to leave the Union and join the Confederate States of America.
1866 – Tennessee is restored as a federal state.
1933 – The first hydroelectric dam is built by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
1940 – President Franklin Roosevelt dedicates Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
1968 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.