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Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
in the
Southeastern The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...
region of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
. Tennessee is the 36th largest by area and the 16th most populous of the
50 states The United States, United States of America is a federal republic consisting of 50 U.S. state, states, a Capital districts and territories#United States, federal district (Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States), five major t ...
. It is bordered by
Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...
to the north,
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
to the northeast,
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily news ...

North Carolina
to the east,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
,
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat ...

Alabama
, and
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...
to the south,
Arkansas Arkansas () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, home to more than three million people as of 2018. Its name is from the Osage language, a Dhegihan languages, Dhegiha Siouan la ...

Arkansas
to the southwest, and
Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Missouri
to the northwest. Tennessee is geographically, culturally, and legally divided into three
Grand Divisions The Grand Divisions are three geographic regions in the U.S. state of Tennessee, each constituting roughly one-third of the state's land area, that are geographically, culturally, legally, and economically distinct. The Grand Divisions are legal ...
of East, Middle, and
West Tennessee West Tennessee is one of the three major regions (called Grand Divisions) of the state of Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of ...
.
Nashville Nashville is the Capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Tennessee, most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. ...
is the state's capital and largest city, and anchors its largest metropolitan area. Tennessee's population as of the 2020 United States census is approximately 6.9 million. Tennessee is rooted in the
Watauga Association The Watauga Association (sometimes referred to as the Republic of Watauga) was a semi-autonomous government created in 1772 by frontier settlers living along the Watauga River in what is now Elizabethton, Tennessee. Although it lasted only a few ...
, a 1772 frontier pact generally regarded as the first constitutional government west of the
Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (nor ...

Appalachian Mountains
. Its name derives from "
Tanasi Tanasi ( chr, ᏔᎾᏏ, translit=Tanasi) (also spelled Tanase, Tenasi, Tenassee, Tunissee, Tennessee, and other such variations) was a historic Overhill settlement site in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. ...
", a
Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi or Anigiduwagi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands Indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands, ...

Cherokee
town in the eastern part of the state that existed before the first European American settlement. Tennessee was initially part of North Carolina, and later the
Southwest Territory The Territory South of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Southwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 26, 1790, until June 1, 1796, when it was admitted to the United States a ...
, before its admission to the Union as the 16th state on June 1, 1796. It earned the nickname "The Volunteer State" early in its history due to a strong tradition of military service. A
slave state In the United States before 1865, a slave state was a state in which slavery and the slave trade were legal, while a free state was one in which they were not. Between 1812 and 1850, it was considered by the slave states to be politically im ...
until the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon nove ...
, Tennessee was politically divided, with its western and middle parts supporting the
Confederacy Confederacy may refer to: A confederation, an association of sovereign states or communities. Examples include: * Battle of the Trench, Confederate tribes * Confederate States of America, a confederation of secessionist American states that existed ...

Confederacy
and the eastern region harboring pro- Union sentiment. As a result, Tennessee was the last state to secede and the first readmitted to the Union after the war. During the 20th century, Tennessee transitioned from a predominantly agrarian society to a more diversified economy. This was aided in part by massive federal investment in the
Tennessee Valley Authority The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a Federal government of the United States, federally-owned electric utility corporation in the United States. TVA's service area covers all of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, a ...
(TVA) and the city of Oak Ridge, which was established during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
to house the
Manhattan Project The Manhattan Project was a research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe as research and technological development (RTD), is the set of innovative activities undertaken by corporations or governments in ...
's uranium enrichment facilities for the construction of the world's first atomic bombs. These were dropped on
Imperial Japan The was a historical nation-state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of Sta ...
at the end of the war. After the war, the
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a U.S. multiprogram science and technology national laboratory sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and administered, managed, and operated by UT–Battelle as a federally funded research and ...
became a key center of scientific research. In 2016, the element
tennessine Tennessine is a synthetic chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all ...

tennessine
was named for the state, largely in recognition of the roles played by Oak Ridge,
Vanderbilt University Vanderbilt University (informally Vandy or VU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
, and the
University of Tennessee The University of Tennessee (University of Tennessee, Knoxville; UT Knoxville; UTK; or UT) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is t ...
in its discovery. Tennessee has also played a major role in the development of many forms of
popular music Popular music is music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its ...
, including
country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

country
,
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...
,
rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and st ...

rock and roll
,
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as ...

soul
, and
gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel#REDIRECT The gospel In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Te ...
. Tennessee has diverse terrain and landforms, and from east to west, contains a mix of cultural features characteristic of
Appalachia Appalachia () is a cultural region 's map of native American cultural areas within the territory of the United States (1948) as defined by Melville J. Herskovits influence , homelands of the Celtic languages The Celtic languages ( ...
, the
Upland South The Upland South or Upper South is a cultural and geographic subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...
, and the
Deep South The Deep South is a cultural and geographic subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the la ...
. The
Blue Ridge Mountains The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province A physiographic province is a geographic region with a characteristic geomorphology, and often specific subsurface rock type or structural elements. The continents are subdivided into variou ...
along the eastern border reach some of the highest elevations in eastern North America, and the
Cumberland Plateau 300px, Map showing the Cumberland Plateau in yellow as defined by Bailey's ecoregions. The Cumberland Plateau is the southern part of the Appalachian Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians ...
contains many scenic valleys and
waterfall A waterfall is a point in a or where water flows over a vertical drop or a series of steep drops. Waterfalls also occur where drops over the edge of a tabular or . Waterfalls can be formed in several ways, but the most common method of fo ...

waterfall
s. The central part of the state is marked by cavernous bedrock and irregular rolling hills, and level, fertile plains define West Tennessee. The state is twice bisected by the
Tennessee River The Tennessee River is the largest tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and ...

Tennessee River
, and the
Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and b ...

Mississippi River
forms its western border. Its economy is dominated by the
health care Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the , is "a state of complete physical, and social and not merely the absence of and ".. (2006)''Constitution of the World Health Organization''– ''Basic Docume ...
,
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...
,
finance Finance is a term for the management, creation, and study of money In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the left corn ...
, automotive,
chemical A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which ...
,
electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and effects of electrons The electron is a subatomic particle In physical sciences, subatomic particles are smaller than ...
, and
tourism Tourism is travel Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical location In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...

tourism
sectors, and
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
,
soybean The soybean, soy bean, or soya bean (''Glycine max'') is a species of legume A legume () is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or the fruit or seed of such a plant. When used as a dry grain, the seed is also called a pulse. Leg ...

soybean
s,
corn Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of the Americas, indige ...

corn
,
poultry Poultry () are domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable ...

poultry
, and
cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of s ...

cotton
are its primary agricultural products. The
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States The southeastern United States, also referred to as the American Southeast or simply the Southeast, is broadly the eastern portion of the so ...

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
, the nation's most visited national park, is in eastern Tennessee.


Etymology

The name ''Tennessee'' derives from the
Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi or Anigiduwagi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands Indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands, ...

Cherokee
settlement of
Tanasi Tanasi ( chr, ᏔᎾᏏ, translit=Tanasi) (also spelled Tanase, Tenasi, Tenassee, Tunissee, Tennessee, and other such variations) was a historic Overhill settlement site in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. ...
(), whose etymology is uncertain. Spanish conquistador Juan Pardo recorded a village called "Tanasqui" during his expedition in 1567, but it is unknown whether that was the same settlement as Tanasi. According to
ethnographer Ethnography (from Greek language, Greek ''ethnos'' "folk, people, nation" and ''grapho'' "I write") is a branch of anthropology and the systematic study of individual cultures. Ethnography explores cultural phenomena from the point of view o ...
James Mooney James Mooney (February 10, 1861 – December 22, 1921) was an American ethnographer who lived for several years among the Cherokee. Known as "The Indian Man", he conducted major studies of Southeastern Indians, as well as of tribes on the Plai ...
, the name "cannot be analyzed", and its meaning is lost. The modern spelling is attributed to
James Glen James Glen (1701 – July 18, 1777) was a politician in the Province of South Carolina South Carolina was a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ...
, the governor of South Carolina, who used it in his official correspondence during the 1750s. The spelling was popularized by the publication of
Henry Timberlake Henry Timberlake (1730 or 1735 – September 30, 1765) was a colonial Anglo-America Anglo-America (also referred to as Anglo-Saxon America) most often refers to a region in the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) ...
's ''
Draught of the Cherokee Country Draft, The Draft, or Draught may refer to: Watercraft dimensions * Draft (hull), the distance from waterline to keel of a vessel * Draft (sail), degree of curvature in a sail * Air draft, distance from waterline to the highest point on a vessel ...
'' in 1765. In 1788, North Carolina created " Tennessee County", the third county to be established in what is now
Middle Tennessee Middle Tennessee is one of the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee, Grand Divisions of the U.S. state of Tennessee that composes roughly the central portion of the state. It is delineated according to state law as 41 of the state's 95 counties. Mi ...
. When a constitutional convention met in 1796 to organize a new state out of the
Southwest Territory The Territory South of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Southwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 26, 1790, until June 1, 1796, when it was admitted to the United States a ...
, it adopted "Tennessee" as the name of the state.


History


Pre-European era

The first inhabitants of Tennessee were
Paleo-Indians Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleo-Americans, were the first peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a ...
who arrived about 12,000 years ago at the end of the Last Glacial Period. Archaeological excavations indicate that the lower Tennessee Valley was heavily populated by Ice Age
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
s, and Middle Tennessee is believed to have been rich with
game animal Game or quarry is any wild animal File:Manis temminckii (29645803646).jpg, A ground pangolin, alt=A ground pangolin Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species (biology), species, but has come to include all organisms t ...
s such as
mastodon A mastodon ( Greek: μαστός "breast" and ὀδούς, "tooth") is any proboscidean belonging to the extinct genus ''Mammut'' (family Mammutidae) that inhabited North and Central America during the late Miocene The Miocene ( ) is the first ...

mastodon
s. The names of the cultural groups who inhabited the area before European contact are unknown, but archaeologists have named several distinct cultural phases, including the
Archaic Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found or used currently: *List of archaeological periods **Archaic Sumerian language, spoken between 31st - 26th centu ...
(8000–1000 BC),
Woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the ''plurale tantum A ''plurale tantum'' (Latin for "plural only"; ) is a noun that appears only in the plural The plu ...
(1000 BC–1000 AD), and Mississippian (1000–1600 AD) periods. The Archaic peoples first domesticated dogs, and plants such as
squash Squash may refer to: Sports * Squash (sport), the high-speed racquet sport also known as squash racquets * Squash (professional wrestling), an extremely one-sided match in professional wrestling * Squash tennis, a game similar to squash racquets ...

squash
,
corn Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of the Americas, indige ...

corn
,
gourd Gourds include the fruits of some flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Gre ...

gourd
s, and
sunflower ''Helianthus'' () is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, vi ...

sunflower
s were first grown in Tennessee during the Woodland period. Later generations of Woodland peoples constructed the first mounds. Rapid civilizational development occurred during the Mississippian period, when Indigenous peoples developed organized
chiefdom A chiefdom is a form of hierarchical political organization in non-industrial societies usually based on kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, alth ...
s and constructed numerous ceremonial structures throughout the state. Spanish conquistadors who explored the region in the 16th century encountered some of the Mississippian peoples, including the
Muscogee Creek The Muscogee, also known as the Muskogee, Muscogee Creek, Mvskoke Creek, Mvskokvlke, or the Muscogee Creek Confederacy () in the Muscogee language The Muscogee language (Muskogee, ''Mvskoke'' in Muscogee), also known as Creek, is a Muskogean l ...

Muscogee Creek
,
Yuchi The Yuchi people, also spelled Euchee and Uchee, are a Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Ameri ...
, and
Shawnee The Shawnee are an Algonquian-speaking indigenous people of the Northeastern Woodlands Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands include Native American tribes The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a categor ...

Shawnee
. By the early 18th century, most Natives in Tennessee had disappeared, most likely wiped out by diseases introduced by the Spaniards. The Cherokee began migrating into what is now eastern Tennessee from what is now Virginia in the latter 17th century, possibly to escape expanding European settlement and diseases in the north. They forced the Creek, Yuchi, and Shawnee out of the state in the early 18th century. The Chickasaw remained confined to West Tennessee, and the middle part of the state contained few Native Americans, although both the Cherokee and the Shawnee claimed the region as their hunting ground. Cherokee peoples in Tennessee were known by European settlers as the
Overhill Cherokee Overhill Cherokee was the term for the Cherokee people located in their historic settlements in what is now the U.S. state of Tennessee in the Southeastern United States, on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains. This name was used by 1 ...
because they lived west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Overhill settlements grew along the rivers in East Tennessee in the early 18th century.


Exploration and colonization

The first recorded European expeditions into what is now Tennessee were led by Spanish explorers
Hernando de Soto Hernando de Soto (; ; 1500 – May 21, 1542) was a Spanish explorer and ''conquistador'' who was involved in expeditions in Nicaragua and the Yucatan Peninsula. He played an important role in Pizarro's conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru, but is ...

Hernando de Soto
in 1540–1541,
Tristan de Luna Tristan (Latin/British language (Celtic), Brythonic: ''Drustanus''; cy, Trystan), also known as Tristram or Tristain and similar names, is the hero of the legend of Tristan and Iseult. Tristan legend cycle In the story of Tristan and ...
in 1559, and Juan Pardo in 1566–1567. In 1673, English fur trader
Abraham Wood Abraham Wood (1610–1682), sometimes referred to as "General" or "Colonel" Wood, was an English fur trade The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of a world fur market ...
sent an expedition from the
Colony of Virginia , legislature = House of Burgesses (1619–1776) , today = , demonym = , area_km2=, area_rank=, GDP_PPP=, GDP_PPP_year=, HDI=, HDI_year= The Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607, was ...
into Overhill Cherokee territory in modern-day northeastern Tennessee. That same year, a French expedition led by missionary
Jacques Marquette Jacques Marquette Society of Jesus, S.J. (June 1, 1637 – May 18, 1675), sometimes known as Père Marquette or James Marquette, was a French people, French-Canadian Society of Jesus, Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settle ...

Jacques Marquette
and
Louis Jolliet Louis Jolliet (September 21, 1645after May 1700) was a French-Canadian explorer known for his discoveries in North America. In 1673, Jolliet and Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette, a Catholic priest and missionary, were the first non-Natives to explo ...

Louis Jolliet
explored the Mississippi River and became the first Europeans to map the Mississippi Valley. In 1682, an expedition led by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle constructed Fort Prudhomme on the Chickasaw Bluffs in West Tennessee. By the late 17th century, French traders began to explore the Cumberland River valley, and in 1714, under Charles Charleville's command, established French Lick, a fur trading settlement at the present location of Nashville near the
Cumberland River The Cumberland River is a major waterway of the Southern United States The southern United States, also known as the American South, the southern states, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural List of regions of the United Stat ...
. In 1739, the French constructed
Fort Assumption Fort Assumption (or Fort De L'Assomption) was a France, French fortification constructed in 1739 on the fourth Chickasaw Bluff on the Mississippi River in Shelby County, Tennessee, Shelby County, present day Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis, Tennessee. ...
under
Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville (; ; February 23, 1680 – March 7, 1767), also known as Sieur de Bienville, was a French colonial administrator in New France. Born in Montreal, he was an early governor of Louisiana (New France), French Lo ...

Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville
on the Mississippi River at the present location of Memphis, which they used as a base against the Chickasaw during the 1739 Campaign of the
Chickasaw Wars The Chickasaw Wars were fought in the 18th century between the Chickasaw The Chickasaw ( ) are an indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands. Their traditional territory was in the Southeastern United States of Mississippi, Alabama, and T ...
. In the 1750s and 1760s,
longhunter A longhunter (or long hunter) was an 18th-century explorer and hunter who made expeditions into the American frontier for as much as six months at a time. Historian Emory Hamilton says that "The Long Hunter was peculiar to Southwest Virginia onl ...
s from Virginia explored much of East and Middle Tennessee. Settlers from the
Colony of South Carolina South Carolina was a province of Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain that existed in North America from 1712 to 1776. It was one of the five Southern Colonies, Southern colonies and one of the Thirteen Colonies, thirteen American colonies. T ...
built Fort Loudoun on the
Little Tennessee River Little is a synonym for small size File:Comparison of planets and stars (sheet by sheet) (Oct 2014 update).png, A size comparison illustration comparing the sizes of various planets and stars. In each grouping after the first, the last object fro ...
in 1756, the first British settlement in what is now Tennessee and the westernmost British outpost to that date. Hostilities erupted between the British and the Cherokees into an armed conflict, and a siege of the fort ended with its surrender in 1760. After the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain ...

French and Indian War
, Britain issued the
Royal Proclamation of 1763 The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III on 7 October 1763. It followed the Treaty of Paris (1763), which formally ended the Seven Years' War and transferred French territory in North America to Great Britain Grea ...

Royal Proclamation of 1763
, which forbade settlements west of the
Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (nor ...

Appalachian Mountains
in an effort to mitigate conflicts with the Natives. But migration across the mountains continued, and the first permanent European settlers began arriving in northeastern Tennessee in the late 1760s. Most of them were
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
, but nearly 20% were Scotch-Irish. They formed the
Watauga Association The Watauga Association (sometimes referred to as the Republic of Watauga) was a semi-autonomous government created in 1772 by frontier settlers living along the Watauga River in what is now Elizabethton, Tennessee. Although it lasted only a few ...
in 1772, a semi-autonomous representative government, and three years later reorganized themselves into the Washington District to support the cause of the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from Thirteen Colonies, thirteen American colonies of British America in Continental Congress ...
. The next year, after an unsuccessful petition to Virginia, North Carolina agreed to annex the Washington District to provide protection from Native American attacks. In 1775, Richard Henderson negotiated a series of treaties with the Cherokee to sell the lands of the Watauga settlements at
Sycamore Shoals The Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga River, usually shortened to Sycamore Shoals, is a rocky stretch of river rapids along the Watauga River The Watauga River () is a large stream A stream is a body of water with surface water flowing with ...
on the banks of the
Watauga River The Watauga River () is a large stream A stream is a body of water with surface water flowing within the stream bed, bed and Bank (geography), banks of a Channel (geography), channel. The flow of a stream is controlled by three inputs ...
. An agreement to sell land for the
Transylvania Colony The Transylvania Colony, also referred to as the Transylvania Purchase, was a short-lived, extra-legal colony founded in early 1775 by North Carolina land speculator Richard Henderson, who formed and controlled the Transylvania Company. Henderso ...
, which included the territory in Tennessee north of the Cumberland River, was also signed. Later that year,
Daniel Boone Daniel Boone (September 26, 1820) was an American pioneer and frontier, frontiersman whose exploits made him one of the first Folklore of the United States, folk heroes of the United States. Boone became famous for his exploration and settlement ...

Daniel Boone
, under Henderson's employment, blazed a trail from Fort Chiswell in Virginia through the
Cumberland Gap The Cumberland Gap is a pass through the long ridge of the Cumberland Mountains, within the Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America Nort ...

Cumberland Gap
, which became part of the
Wilderness Road The Wilderness Road was one of two principal routes used by colonial and early national era settlers to reach Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a U.S. state, state in the Upland South region of the Unite ...
, a major thoroughfare into Tennessee and Kentucky. The Chickamauga, a Cherokee faction loyal to the British led by
Dragging Canoe Dragging Canoe (ᏥᏳ ᎦᏅᏏᏂ, pronounced ''Tsiyu Gansini'', "he is dragging his canoe") (c. 1738–February 29, 1792) was a Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, transl ...
, opposed the settling of the Washington District and Transylvania Colony, and in 1776 attacked Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals. The warnings of Dragging Canoe's cousin
Nancy Ward ''Nanyehi'' (Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th cen ...
spared many settlers' lives from the initial attacks. In 1779, James Robertson and
John Donelson John Donelson (1718–1785) was an American frontiersman, ironmaster, politician, city planner, and explorer, who, along with James Robertson (explorer), James Robertson, co-founded the frontier settlement of Fort Nashborough, in Middle Tennessee, w ...

John Donelson
led two groups of settlers from the Washington District to the French Lick. These settlers constructed
Fort Nashborough Fort Nashborough, also known as Fort Bluff, Bluff Station, French Lick Fort, Cumberland River Fort and other names, was the stockade established in early 1779 in the French Lick, Tennessee, French Lick area of the Cumberland River, Cumberland Riv ...
, which they named for
Francis Nash Francis Nash (October 7, 1777) was a brigadier general in the Continental Army The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the former Thirteen Colonies, thirt ...
, a
brigadier general #REDIRECT Brigadier general #REDIRECT Brigadier general Brigadier general (Brig. Gen.) or brigade general is a military rank used in many countries. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of co ...
of the
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the Thirteen Colonies and the Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, and was established by a resolution of ...
. The next year, the settlers signed the Cumberland Compact, which established a representative government for the colony called the Cumberland Association. This settlement later grew into the city of Nashville. That same year
John Sevier John Sevier (September 23, 1745 September 24, 1815) was an American soldier, frontiersman, and politician, and one of the founding fathers of the State of Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state State may ...

John Sevier
led a group of
Overmountain Men , in Elizabethton, Tennessee The Overmountain Men were American frontiersmen from west of the Appalachian Mountains who took part in the American Revolutionary War. While they were present at multiple engagements in the war's Southern theater of ...
from Fort Watauga to the
Battle of Kings Mountain The Battle of Kings Mountain was a military engagement between Patriot (American Revolution), Patriot and Loyalist (American Revolution), Loyalist militias in South Carolina during the Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War, Southern ...

Battle of Kings Mountain
in South Carolina, where they defeated the British. Three counties of the Washington District broke off from North Carolina in 1784 and formed the
State of Franklin The State of Franklin (also the Free Republic of Franklin or the State of Frankland)Landrum, refers to the proposed state as "the proposed republic of Franklin; while Wheeler has it as ''Frankland''." In ''That's Not in My American History Book ...
. Efforts to obtain admission to the Union failed, and the counties, now numbering eight, rejoined North Carolina by 1788. North Carolina ceded the area to the federal government in 1790, after which it was organized into the
Southwest Territory The Territory South of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Southwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 26, 1790, until June 1, 1796, when it was admitted to the United States a ...
on May 26 of that year. The act allowed the territory to petition for statehood once the population reached 60,000. Administration of the territory was divided between the Washington District and the Mero District, the latter of which consisted of the Cumberland Association and was named for Spanish territorial governor
Esteban Rodríguez Miró Esteban Rodríguez Miró y Sabater, Order of Santiago, KOS (1744 – June 4, 1795), also known as Esteban Miro and Estevan Miro, was a Spain, Spanish army officer and governor of the Spanish colonization of the Americas, Spanish American provinces ...

Esteban Rodríguez Miró
. President
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
appointed
William Blount William Blount (March 26, 1749March 21, 1800) was an United States, American statesman and land speculator who signed the United States Constitution. He was a member of the North Carolina delegation at the Constitutional Convention (United State ...

William Blount
as territorial governor. The Southwest Territory recorded a population of 35,691 in the first United States census that year, including 3,417 slaves.


Statehood and antebellum era

As support for statehood grew among the settlers, Governor Blount called for elections, which were held in December 1793. The 13-member territorial House of Representatives first convened in Knoxville on February 24, 1794, to select ten members for the legislature's upper house, the Council. The full legislature convened on August 25, 1794. In June 1795, the legislature conducted a census of the territory, which recorded a population of 77,263, including 10,613 slaves, and a poll that showed 6,504 in favor of statehood and 2,562 opposed. Elections for a constitutional convention were held in December 1795, and the delegates convened in Knoxville on January 17, 1796, to begin drafting a state constitution. During this convention, the name Tennessee was chosen for the new state. The constitution was completed on February 6, which authorized elections for the state's new legislature, the
Tennessee General Assembly The Tennessee General Assembly (TNGA) is the state legislature (United States), state legislature of the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is a part-time bicameral legislature consisting of a Tennessee Senate, Senate and a Tennessee House of Represent ...
. The legislature convened on March 28, 1796, and the next day, John Sevier was announced as the state's first governor. Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796, as the 16th state and the first created from federal territory. Tennessee reportedly earned the nickname "The Volunteer State" during the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought by the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It ...
, when 3,500 men enthusiastically answered a recruitment call by the General Assembly for the war effort. These soldiers, under
Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was an American lawyer, soldier, and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of ...

Andrew Jackson
's command, played a major role in the American victory at the
Battle of New Orleans The Battle of New Orleans was fought on January 8, 1815 between the British Army under Major General Sir Edward Pakenham Major General Sir Edward Michael Pakenham, (19 March 1778 – 8 January 1815), was a British Army officer and polit ...

Battle of New Orleans
in 1815, the last major battle of the war. Several Tennesseans took part in the
Texas Revolution The Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836) was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos (Hispanic Texans) in putting up armed resistance to the Centralist Republic of Mexico, centralist government of Mexico. ...
of 1835–36, including Governor
Sam Houston Samuel Houston (March 2, 1793July 26, 1863) was an American general. He was an important leader of the Texas Revolution, Houston served as the first and third president of the Republic of Texas, and was one of the first two individuals to repre ...

Sam Houston
and Congressman and frontiersman
Davy Crockett David Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was an American folk hero A folk hero or national hero is a type of hero – real, fictional or mythology, mythological – with their name, personality and deeds embedded in the popular cons ...

Davy Crockett
, who was killed at the
Battle of the Alamo The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution The Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836) was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos (Hispanic T ...
. The state's nickname was solidified during the
Mexican–American War The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the (''U.S. intervention in Mexico''), was an armed conflict between the United States and Second Federal Republic of Mexico, Mexico from 1846 ...

Mexican–American War
when President
James K. Polk James Knox Polk (November 2, 1795 – June 15, 1849) was the 11th president of the United States, serving from 1845 to 1849. He previously was Speaker of the House of Representatives (1835–1839) and Governor of Tennessee (1839–1841). ...

James K. Polk
of Tennessee issued a call for 2,800 soldiers from the state, and more than 30,000 volunteered. Between the 1790s and 1820s, additional land cessions were negotiated with the Cherokee, who had established a national government modeled on the
U.S. Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first t ...
. In 1818, Jackson and Kentucky governor
Isaac Shelby Isaac Shelby (December 11, 1750 – July 18, 1826) was the List of Governors of Kentucky, first and fifth Governor of Kentucky and served in the state legislatures of Virginia and North Carolina. He was also a soldier in Lord Dunmore's War, ...
reached an agreement with the Chickasaw to sell the land between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers to the United States, which included all of West Tennessee and became known as the "
Jackson Purchase The Jackson Purchase, also known as the Purchase Region or simply the Purchase, is a region in the U.S. state of Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a U.S. state, state in the Upland South region of the Unit ...
". The Cherokee moved their capital from Georgia to the Red Clay Council Grounds in southeastern Tennessee in 1832, due to new laws forcing them from their previous capital at
New Echota New Echota was the capital of the Cherokee Nation The Cherokee Nation (Cherokee language, Cherokee: ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ, ''Tsalagihi Ayeli'' or ᏣᎳᎩᏰᎵ "Tsalagiyehli"), also known as the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is the large ...

New Echota
. In 1838 and 1839, U.S. troops forcibly removed thousands of Cherokees and their Black slaves from their homes in southeastern Tennessee and forced them to march to
Indian Territory The Indian Territory and the Indian Territories are terms that generally described an evolving land area set aside by the United States Government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. governmen ...
in modern-day
Oklahoma Oklahoma () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, bordered by the state of Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, New ...
. This event is known as the
Trail of Tears #REDIRECT Trail of Tears #REDIRECT Trail of Tears The Trail of Tears was part of a series of forced displacements of approximately 100,000 Native Americans in the United States, Native Americans between 1830 and 1850 by the Federal government o ...
, and an estimated 4,000 died along the way. As settlers pushed west of the Cumberland Plateau, a slavery-based
agrarian economy An agrarian society, or agricultural society, is any community whose economy is based on producing and maintaining crops and Agricultural land, farmland. Another way to define an agrarian society is by seeing how much of a nation's total production ...
took hold in these regions. Cotton planters used extensive slave labor on large plantation complexes in West Tennessee's fertile and flat terrain after the Jackson Purchase. Cotton also took hold in the Nashville Basin during this time. Entrepreneurs such as
Montgomery Bell Montgomery Bell (January 3, 1769, Chester County, Pennsylvania Chester County ( Pennsylvania German: ''Tscheschter Kaundi''), colloquially known as Chesco, is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrativ ...
used slaves in the production of iron in the Western Highland Rim, and slaves also cultivated such crops as tobacco and corn throughout the Highland Rim. East Tennessee's geography did not allow for large plantations as in the middle and western parts of the state, and as a result, slavery became increasingly rare in the region. A strong abolition movement developed in East Tennessee, beginning as early as 1797, and in 1819,
Elihu EmbreeElihu Embree (November 11, 1782 – December 4, 1820) was an abolitionist Abolitionism, or the abolitionist movement, was the movement to end slavery. In Western Europe and the Americas, abolitionism was a historic movement that sought to end ...
of Jonesborough began publishing the ''
Manumission Intelligencier The ''Manumission Intelligencier'' was an Abolitionism in the United States, abolitionist newspaper founded by Elihu Embree, a Quaker, in 1819. It was later renamed ''The Emancipator'' and then sold to another Quaker, Benjamin Lundy, and renamed ''T ...
'' (later ''The Emancipator''), the nation's first exclusively anti-slavery newspaper.


Civil War

At the onset of the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon nove ...
, most Middle and West Tennesseans favored efforts to preserve their slavery-based economies; however, many Middle Tennesseans were initially skeptical of secession. In East Tennessee, most people favored remaining in the Union. In 1860, slaves composed about 25% of Tennessee's population, the lowest share among the states that joined the
Confederacy Confederacy may refer to: A confederation, an association of sovereign states or communities. Examples include: * Battle of the Trench, Confederate tribes * Confederate States of America, a confederation of secessionist American states that existed ...

Confederacy
. Tennessee provided more Union troops than any other Confederate state, and the second-highest number of Confederate troops, behind Virginia. Due to its central location, Tennessee was a crucial state during the war and saw more military engagements than any state except Virginia. After
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of governme ...

Abraham Lincoln
was elected president in
1860 Events January–March * January 2 – The discovery of a hypothetical planet Vulcan (hypothetical planet), Vulcan is announced at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences in Paris, France. * January 10 – The Pemberton Mil ...
, secessionists in the state government led by Governor
Isham Harris Isham Green Harris (February 10, 1818July 8, 1897) was an American politician who served as the 16th governor of Tennessee from 1857 to 1862, and as a United States Senate, U.S. senator from 1877 until his death. He was the state's first governor ...

Isham Harris
sought voter approval to sever ties with the United States, which was rejected in a referendum by a 54–46% margin in February 1861. After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April and Lincoln's call for troops in response, the legislature ratified an agreement to enter a military league with the Confederacy on May 7, 1861. On June 8, with Middle Tennesseans having significantly changed their position, voters approved a second referendum on secession by a 69–31% margin, becoming the last state to secede. In response, East Tennessee Unionists organized a convention in Knoxville with the goal of splitting the region to form a new state loyal to the Union. In the fall of 1861, Unionist guerrillas in East Tennessee burned bridges and attacked Confederate sympathizers, leading the Confederacy to invoke
martial law Martial law is the temporary imposition of direct military control of normal civil functions or suspension of civil law by a government, especially in response to a temporary emergency where civil forces are overwhelmed, or in an occupied te ...
in parts of the region. In March 1862, Lincoln appointed native Tennessean and
War Democrat War Democrats in American politics of the 1860s were members of the Democratic Party who supported the Union (American Civil War), Union and rejected the policies of the Copperhead (politics), Copperheads (or Peace Democrats). The War Democrats ...
Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 July 31, 1875) was the 17th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of the pre ...

Andrew Johnson
as military governor of the state. General
Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; ; April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American military leader who served as the 18th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and he ...

Ulysses S. Grant
and the
U.S. Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = " Anchors Aweigh" ...
captured the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers in February 1862 at the battles of and
Fort Donelson Fort Donelson was a fortress built early in 1862 by the Confederate States of America, Confederacy during the American Civil War to control the Cumberland River, which led to the heart of Tennessee, and thereby the Confederacy. The fort was named ...

Fort Donelson
. Grant then proceeded south to Pittsburg Landing and held off a Confederate counterattack at Shiloh in April in what was at the time the bloodiest battle of the war. Memphis fell to the Union in June after a
naval battle Naval warfare is human combat in and on the sea, the ocean, or any other battlespace involving a major body of water such as a large lake or wide river. History Mankind has fought battles on the sea for more than 3,000 years. Even in the interi ...
on the Mississippi River. Union strength in Middle Tennessee was tested in a series of Confederate offensives beginning in the summer of 1862, which culminated in General
William Rosecrans William Starke Rosecrans (September 6, 1819March 11, 1898) was an American inventor, coal-oil company executive, diplomat, politician, and United States Army, U.S. Army officer. He gained fame for his role as a Union Army, Union general during the ...
's
Army of the Cumberland The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union armies in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, Western Theater during the American Civil War. It was originally known as the Army of the Ohio. History The origin of the Army of t ...
routing General
Braxton Bragg Braxton Bragg (March 22, 1817 – September 27, 1876) was an American army officer during the Second Seminole War and Mexican–American War and later a Confederate army officer who served as a general A general officer is an officer of ...

Braxton Bragg
's
Army of Tennessee The Army of Tennessee was the principal Confederate army operating between the Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America North America is a c ...
at
Stones River The Stones River (properly spelled Stone's River) is a major stream of the eastern portion of Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States ...
, another one of the war's costliest engagements. The next summer, Rosecrans's forced Bragg's remaining troops in Middle Tennessee to retreat to Chattanooga with little fighting. During the
Chattanooga campaign The Chattanooga campaign was a series of maneuvers and battles in October and November 1863, during the American Civil War. Following the defeat of Major general (United States), Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans's Union Army, Union Army of the Cum ...
, Confederates attempted to besiege the Army of the Cumberland into surrendering, but reinforcements from the
Army of the Tennessee The Army of the Tennessee was a Union army in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, named for the Tennessee River. It appears that the term "Army of the Tennessee" was first used within the Union Army in March 1862, to describe Union ...
under the command of Grant,
William Tecumseh Sherman William Tecumseh Sherman ( ; February 8, 1820February 14, 1891) was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a General officer, general in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–1865), achieving recogn ...

William Tecumseh Sherman
, and
Joseph Hooker Joseph Hooker (November 13, 1814 – October 31, 1879) was an American Civil War general for the Union, chiefly remembered for his decisive defeat by Confederate States Army, Confederate Full General (CSA), General Robert E. Lee at the Battle o ...

Joseph Hooker
arrived. The Confederates were driven from the city at the battles of
Lookout Mountain Lookout Mountain is a mountain ridge located at the northwest corner of the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia, the northeast corner of Alabama, and along the southeastern Tennessee state line in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chattanooga. Lo ...
and
Missionary Ridge Missionary Ridge is a geographic feature in Chattanooga, Tennessee Chattanooga is a city in and the county seat of Hamilton County, Tennessee, Hamilton County, Tennessee, along the Tennessee River bordering Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. Wi ...

Missionary Ridge
in November 1863. Despite Unionist sentiment in East Tennessee, Confederates held the area for most of the war. A few days after the fall of Chattanooga, Confederates led by
James Longstreet James Longstreet (January 8, 1821January 2, 1904) was an American soldier and diplomat. He was one of the foremost Confederate general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space fo ...

James Longstreet
unsuccessfully campaigned to take control of Knoxville by attacking Union General
Ambrose Burnside Ambrose Everett Burnside (May 23, 1824 – September 13, 1881) was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island. He served as the Governor of Rhode Island from 1866 to 1869, and as a Un ...

Ambrose Burnside
's . The capture of Chattanooga allowed Sherman to launch the from the city in May 1864. The last major battles in the state came when Army of Tennessee regiments under
John Bell Hood John Bell Hood (June 1 or June 29, 1831 – August 30, 1879) was a Confederate States Army, Confederate general during the American Civil War. Hood had a reputation for bravery and aggressiveness that sometimes bordered on recklessness. Arguably o ...

John Bell Hood
invaded Middle Tennessee in the fall of 1864 in an effort to draw Sherman back. They were checked by
John Schofield John McAllister Schofield (September 29, 1831 – March 4, 1906) was an American soldier who held major commands during the American Civil War. He was appointed U.S. Secretary of War (1868–1869) under President Andrew Johnson and later served a ...

John Schofield
at
Franklin Franklin may refer to: People * Franklin (given name) * Franklin (surname) * Franklin (class), a member of a historical English social class Places Australia * Franklin, Tasmania, a township * Division of Franklin, federal electoral divis ...
in November and completely dispersed by George Thomas at
Nashville Nashville is the Capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Tennessee, most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. ...

Nashville
in December. On April 27, 1865, the worst maritime disaster in American history occurred when the '' Sultana'' steamboat, which was transporting freed Union prisoners, in the Mississippi River north of Memphis, killing 1,168 people. When the
Emancipation Proclamation The Emancipation Proclamation, or Proclamation 95, was a presidential proclamation The text of presidential proclamation 9552 of December 9, 2016 regarding the lowering of flags because of the death of John Glenn, as published in the Feder ...

Emancipation Proclamation
was announced, Tennessee was largely held by Union forces and thus not among the states enumerated, so it freed no slaves there. Andrew Johnson declared all slaves in Tennessee free on October 24, 1864. On February 22, 1865, the legislature approved an amendment to the state constitution prohibiting slavery, which was approved by voters the following month, making Tennessee the only Southern state to abolish slavery. Tennessee ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery in every state, on April 7, 1865, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which granted citizenship and equal protection under the law to former slaves, on July 18, 1866. Johnson became vice president when Lincoln was reelected, and president after Lincoln's
assassination Assassination is the act of murder, deliberately killing a prominent or important person, such as heads of state, head of government, heads of government, politicians, Monarchy, royalty, celebrity, celebrities, journalists, or CEOs. An assassin ...
in May 1865. On July 24, 1866, Tennessee became the first Confederate state to have its elected members readmitted to Congress.


Reconstruction and late 19th century

The years after the Civil War were characterized by tension and unrest between Blacks and former Confederates, the worst of which occurred in Memphis in 1866. Because Tennessee had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment before its readmission to the Union, it was the only former secessionist state that did not have a military governor during
Reconstruction Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction"), a late 20th century Soviet Union ...
. The
Radical Republicans The Radical Republicans were a faction of American politicians within the Republican Party of the United States from around 1854 (before the American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, othe ...
seized control of the state government toward the end of the war, and appointed William G. "Parson" Brownlow governor. Under Brownlow's administration from 1865 to 1869, the legislature allowed African American men to vote, disenfranchised former Confederates, and took action against the
Ku Klux Klan The Ku Klux Klan (), commonly shortened to the KKK or the Klan, is an American white supremacist White supremacy or white supremacism is the belief that white people White is a racial classification and skin color specifier, gene ...
, which was founded in December 1865 in Pulaski as a vigilante group to advance former Confederates' interests. In 1870,
Southern DemocratsSouthern Democrats are members of the U.S. Democratic Party who reside in the Southern United States The southern United States, also known as the American South, the southern states, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural List of re ...
regained control of the state legislature, and over the next two decades, passed
Jim Crow laws Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into racial or other Ethnicity, ethnic groups in daily life. Racial segregation can amount to the intern ...
to enforce
racial segregation Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into race (human classification), racial or other Ethnicity, ethnic groups in daily life. Racial segregation can amount to the international crime of apartheid and a crimes against hum ...
. A number of epidemics swept through Tennessee in the years after the Civil War, including
cholera Cholera is an infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body by , their multiplication, and the reaction of tissues to the infectious agents and the s they produce. An infectious disease, also known as a transmissible disea ...

cholera
in 1873, which devastated the Nashville area, and
yellow fever Yellow fever is a viral disease of typically short duration. In most cases, symptoms include fever Fever, also referred to as pyrexia, is defined as having a above the due to an increase in the body's temperature . There is not a singl ...
in 1878, which killed more than one-tenth of Memphis's residents. Reformers worked to modernize Tennessee into a "
New South New South, New South Democracy or New South Creed is a slogan in the history of the Southern United States, American South after the American Civil War. Reformers used it to call for a modernization of society and attitudes, to integrate more fu ...
" economy during this time. With the help of Northern investors, Chattanooga became one of the first industrialized cities in the South. Memphis became known as the "Cotton Capital of the World" during the late 19th century, and Nashville, Knoxville, and several smaller cities saw modest industrialization. Northerners also began exploiting the coalfields and mineral resources in the Appalachian Mountains. To pay off debts and alleviate overcrowded prisons, the state turned to
convict leasing Convict leasing was a system of forced Penal labor in the United States, penal labor which was historically practiced in the Southern United States and overwhelmingly involved African Americans, African-American men. Recently, a form of the prac ...
, providing prisoners to mining companies as
strikebreakers agents escort strikebreakers in Buchtel, Ohio, 1884 A strikebreaker (sometimes called a scab, blackleg, or knobstick) is a person who works despite an ongoing strike action, strike. Strikebreakers are usually individuals who were not employed by ...
, which was protested by miners forced to compete with the system. An armed uprising in the Cumberland Mountains known as the
Coal Creek War The Coal Creek War was an early 1890s armed labor uprising Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority. A rebellion originates from ...
in 1891 and 1892 resulted in the state ending convict leasing. Despite New South promoters' efforts, agriculture continued to dominate Tennessee's economy. The majority of freed slaves were forced into
sharecropping Sharecropping is a legal arrangement with regard to agricultural land in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on that land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range ...
during the latter 19th century, and many others worked as agricultural wage laborers. In 1897, Tennessee celebrated its statehood centennial one year late with the
Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition Image:PyramidParthenon.jpg, The Nashville and Memphis pavilions at night, seen over Watauga Lake, with the Commerce Building at rear. The Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition was an exposition held in Nashville, Tennessee, Nashville fro ...
in Nashville. A of the
Parthenon The Parthenon (; grc, Παρθενών, , ; ell, Παρθενώνας, , ) is a former temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect te ...

Parthenon
in
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
was designed by architect and constructed for the celebration, owing to the city's reputation as the "Athens of the South."


Earlier 20th century

Due to increasing racial segregation and poor standards of living, many Black Tennesseans fled to industrial cities in the Northeast and Midwest as part of the first wave of the Great Migration between 1915 and 1930. Many residents of rural parts of Tennessee relocated to larger cities during this time for more lucrative employment opportunities. As part of the
Temperance movement The temperance movement is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a or one. This may be to carry out, resist or undo a . It is a type of and may i ...
, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to effectively ban the sale, transportation, and production of alcohol in a series of laws passed between 1907 and 1917. During
Prohibition Prohibition is the act or practice of forbidding something by law; more particularly the term refers to the banning of the manufacture Manufacturing is the production of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that st ...
, illicit production of
moonshine Moonshine is alcohol proof, high-proof liquor that was and continues to be produced alcohol law, illicitly, without government authorization. The name was derived from a tradition of creating the alcohol during the nighttime, thereby avoid ...

moonshine
became extremely common in East Tennessee, particularly in the mountains, and continued for many decades afterward. Sgt. Alvin C. York of
Fentress County Fentress County is a County (United States), county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 17,959. Its county seat is Jamestown, Tennessee, Jamestown. History Image:Pumping wat ...
became one of the most famous and honored American soldiers of
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
. He received the Congressional
Medal of Honor The Medal of Honor (MOH) is the United States government's highest and most prestigious military decoration Military awards and decorations are distinctions given as a mark of honor for military heroism, meritorious or outstanding service o ...

Medal of Honor
for single-handedly capturing an entire German machine gun regiment during the
Meuse–Argonne offensive The Meuse–Argonne offensive (also known as the Meuse River–Argonne Forest offensive, the Battles of the Meuse–Argonne, and the Meuse–Argonne campaign) was a major part of the final Allied offensive Offensive may refer to: * Offensive, ...
. On July 9, 1918, Tennessee suffered the worst rail accident in U.S. history when two passenger trains collided head on in Nashville, killing 101 and injuring 171. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th and final state necessary to ratify the
Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution The Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally co ...
, which gave women the
right to vote Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituency, ele ...
. In 1925, John T. Scopes, a high school teacher in
Dayton Dayton () is the sixth-largest city in the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspa ...
, was for teaching
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
in violation of the state's recently passed
Butler Act The Butler Act was a 1925 Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...
. Scopes was prosecuted by former Secretary of State and presidential candidate
William Jennings Bryan William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was an American orator and politician. Beginning in 1896, he emerged as a dominant force in the Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United Stat ...

William Jennings Bryan
and defended by attorney
Clarence Darrow Clarence Seward Darrow (; April 18, 1857 – March 13, 1938) was an American lawyer who became famous in the early 20th century for his involvement in the Leopold and Loeb murder trial and the Scopes "Monkey" Trial. He was a leading member of th ...

Clarence Darrow
. The case was intentionally publicized, and highlighted the creationism-evolution controversy among religious groups. In 1926, Congress authorized the establishment of in the
Great Smoky Mountains The Great Smoky Mountains () are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and form part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blue Ridge Physi ...

Great Smoky Mountains
, which was officially established in 1934 and dedicated in 1940. When the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
struck in 1929, much of Tennessee was severely impoverished even by national standards. As part of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
's
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
, the
Tennessee Valley Authority The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a Federal government of the United States, federally-owned electric utility corporation in the United States. TVA's service area covers all of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, a ...
(TVA) was created in 1933 to provide electricity, jobs, flood control, improved waterway navigation, agricultural development, and economic modernization to the Tennessee River Valley. The TVA built several hydroelectric dams in the state in the 1930s and 1940s, which inundated communities and thousands of farmland acreage, and forcibly displaced families via
eminent domain Eminent domain (United States, Philippines), land acquisition (India, Malaysia, Singapore), compulsory purchase/acquisition (Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom), resumption (Hong Kong, Uganda), resumption/compulsory acquis ...
. The agency quickly grew into the country's largest electric utility and initiated a period of dramatic economic growth and transformation that brought many new industries and employment opportunities to the state. During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, East Tennessee was chosen for the production of weapons-grade
fissile In nuclear engineering Nuclear engineering is the branch of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, veh ...
enriched uranium Enriched uranium is a type of uranium Uranium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-grey metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 9 ...
as part of the
Manhattan Project The Manhattan Project was a research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe as research and technological development (RTD), is the set of innovative activities undertaken by corporations or governments in ...
, a
research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geogra ...
undertaking led by the U.S. to produce the world's first
atomic bomb A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either nuclear fission, fiss ...

atomic bomb
s. The
planned community A planned community, planned city, or planned town is any community that was carefully planned from its inception and is typically constructed on previously undeveloped land. This contrasts with settlements that evolve in a more ''ad hoc'' ...
of Oak Ridge was built to provide accommodations for the facilities and workers; the site was chosen due to the abundance of TVA electric power, its low population density, and its inland geography and topography, which allowed for the natural separation of the facilities and a low vulnerability to attack. The was established as the production arm of the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, which enriched uranium at three major facilities for use in atomic bombs. The first of the bombs was detonated in
Los Alamos, New Mexico Los Alamos is a town in Los Alamos County, New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano) , seat = Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Alb ...
, in a test code-named
Trinity The Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian ...
, and the second, nicknamed "
Little Boy "Little Boy" was the codename for the type of atomic bomb A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructi ...

Little Boy
", was dropped on Imperial Japan at the end of World War II. After the war, the
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a U.S. multiprogram science and technology national laboratory sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and administered, managed, and operated by UT–Battelle as a federally funded research and ...
became an institution for scientific and technological research.


Mid-20th century to present

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional in '' Brown v. Board of Education'' in 1954, Oak Ridge High School in 1955 became the first school in Tennessee to be
integrated Integration may refer to: Biology *Modular integration, where different parts in a module have a tendency to vary together *Multisensory integration *Path integration * Pre-integration complex, viral genetic material used to insert a viral genome ...
. The next year, nearby Clinton High School was integrated, and
Tennessee National Guard The Tennessee Military Department is a department within the Executive Branch of Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of America ( ...

Tennessee National Guard
troops were sent in after pro-segregationists threatened violence. Between February and May 1960, a series of sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville organized by the
Nashville Student MovementThe Nashville Student Movement was an organization that challenged racial segregation in Nashville, Tennessee Nashville is the Capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Tennessee, most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The ci ...
resulted in the desegregation of facilities in the city. On April 4, 1968,
James Earl Ray James Earl Ray (March 10, 1928 – April 23, 1998) was an American fugitive and felon convicted of assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Ray was convicted in 1969 after e ...

James Earl Ray
assassinated Assassination is the act of deliberately killing a prominent or important person, such as heads of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he head of state ...
civil rights leader
Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr.; January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or part ...
in Memphis. King had traveled there to support striking African American sanitation workers. The 1962
U.S. Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a coun ...

U.S. Supreme Court
case ''
Baker v. Carr ''Baker v. Carr'', 369 U.S. 186 (1962), was a landmark United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of ...
'' arose out of a challenge to the longstanding rural bias of apportionment of seats in the Tennessee legislature and established the principle of "
one man, one vote#REDIRECT One man, one vote One man, one vote (or one person, one vote) expresses the principle that individuals should have equal representation in voting. This slogan is used by advocates of political equality to refer to such electoral reforms ...
". The construction of
Interstate 40 Interstate 40 (I-40) is a major east–west Interstate Highway The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, is a network of controlled-access highways th ...
through Memphis became a national talking point on the issue of
eminent domain Eminent domain (United States, Philippines), land acquisition (India, Malaysia, Singapore), compulsory purchase/acquisition (Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom), resumption (Hong Kong, Uganda), resumption/compulsory acquis ...
and
grassroots lobbyingGrassroots lobbying (also indirect lobbying) is lobbying with the intention of reaching the legislature and making a difference in the decision-making process. Grassroots lobbying is an approach that separates itself from direct lobbying through the ...
when the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) attempted to construct the highway through the city's Overton Park. A Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, local activist group spent many years contesting the project, and in 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the group and established the framework for Judicial review in the United States, judicial review of government agencies in the List of landmark court decisions in the United States, landmark case of ''Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe''. TVA's construction of the Tellico Dam in Loudon County became the subject of national controversy in the 1970s when the endangered snail darter fish was reported to be affected by the project. After lawsuits by environmental groups, the debate was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court case ''Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill'' in 1978, leading to amendments of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, Endangered Species Act. The 1982 World's Fair was held in Knoxville. Also known as the Knoxville International Energy Exposition, the fair's theme was "Energy Turns the World". The exposition was one of the most successful, and the most recent world's fair to be held in the U.S. In 1986, Tennessee held a yearlong celebration of the state's heritage and culture called "Homecoming '86". Tennessee celebrated its bicentennial in 1996 with a yearlong celebration called "Tennessee 200". A new state park that traces the state's history, Bicentennial Mall State Park, Bicentennial Mall, was opened at the foot of Capitol Hill in Nashville. The same year, the canoe slalom, whitewater slalom events at the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics, Summer Olympic Games were held on the Ocoee River in Polk County, Tennessee, Polk County. In 2002, Tennessee amended its constitution to establish a Lotteries in the United States, lottery. In 2006, the state constitution Tennessee Marriage Protection Amendment, was amended to outlaw same-sex marriage. This amendment was invalidated by the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case ''Obergefell v. Hodges''. On December 23, 2008, the Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill, largest industrial waste spill in United States history occurred at TVA's Kingston Fossil Plant when more than 1.1 billion gallons of fly ash, coal ash slurry was accidentally released into the Emory River, Emory and Clinch Rivers. The cleanup cost more than $1 billion and lasted until 2015.


Geography

Tennessee is in the Southeastern United States. Culturally, most of the state is considered part of the
Upland South The Upland South or Upper South is a cultural and geographic subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...
, and the eastern third is part of
Appalachia Appalachia () is a cultural region 's map of native American cultural areas within the territory of the United States (1948) as defined by Melville J. Herskovits influence , homelands of the Celtic languages The Celtic languages ( ...
. Tennessee covers roughly , of which , or 2.2%, is water. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 16th smallest state in land area. The state is about long from east to west and wide from north to south. Tennessee is geographically, culturally, economically, and legally divided into three
Grand Divisions The Grand Divisions are three geographic regions in the U.S. state of Tennessee, each constituting roughly one-third of the state's land area, that are geographically, culturally, legally, and economically distinct. The Grand Divisions are legal ...
: East Tennessee,
Middle Tennessee Middle Tennessee is one of the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee, Grand Divisions of the U.S. state of Tennessee that composes roughly the central portion of the state. It is delineated according to state law as 41 of the state's 95 counties. Mi ...
, and
West Tennessee West Tennessee is one of the three major regions (called Grand Divisions) of the state of Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of ...
. It borders eight other states:
Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...
and
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
to the north,
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily news ...

North Carolina
to the east,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
,
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat ...

Alabama
, and
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...
on the south, and
Arkansas Arkansas () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, home to more than three million people as of 2018. Its name is from the Osage language, a Dhegihan languages, Dhegiha Siouan la ...

Arkansas
and
Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Missouri
on the west. It is tied with Missouri as the state bordering the most other states. Tennessee is trisected by the
Tennessee River The Tennessee River is the largest tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and ...

Tennessee River
, and its geographical center is in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Murfreesboro. Nearly three–fourths of the state is located within Central Time Zone, and most of East Tennessee is in Eastern Time Zone, Eastern Time. The Tennessee River forms most of the division between Middle and West Tennessee. Tennessee's eastern boundary roughly follows the highest crests of the
Blue Ridge Mountains The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province A physiographic province is a geographic region with a characteristic geomorphology, and often specific subsurface rock type or structural elements. The continents are subdivided into variou ...
, and the
Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and b ...

Mississippi River
forms its western boundary. Due to flooding of the Mississippi that has changed its path, the state's western boundary deviates from the river in some places. The northern border was originally defined as parallel 36°30′ north, 36°30′ north latitude and the Royal Colonial Boundary of 1665, but due to faulty surveys, begins north of this line in the east, and to the west, gradually veers north before shifting south onto the actual 36°30′ parallel at the Tennessee River in West Tennessee. Uncertainties in the latter 19th century over the location of the state's border with Virginia culminated in the U.S. Supreme Court Virginia v. Tennessee, settling the matter in 1893, which resulted in the division of Bristol, Tennessee, Bristol between the two states. An 1818 survey erroneously placed Tennessee's southern border south of the 35th parallel north, 35th parallel; Georgia legislators Tennessee–Georgia water dispute, continue to dispute this placement, as it prevents Georgia from accessing the Tennessee River. Marked by a diversity of landforms and topographies, Tennessee features six principal Physiographic regions of the United States, physiographic provinces, from east to west, which are part of three larger regions: the
Blue Ridge Mountains The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province A physiographic province is a geographic region with a characteristic geomorphology, and often specific subsurface rock type or structural elements. The continents are subdivided into variou ...
, Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, and
Cumberland Plateau 300px, Map showing the Cumberland Plateau in yellow as defined by Bailey's ecoregions. The Cumberland Plateau is the southern part of the Appalachian Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians ...
, part of the
Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (nor ...

Appalachian Mountains
; the Highland Rim and Nashville Basin, part of the Interior Low Plateaus of the Interior Plains; and the Gulf Coastal Plain, East Gulf Coastal Plain, part of the Atlantic Plains. Other regions include the southern tip of the Cumberland Mountains, the Tennessee Valley, Western Tennessee Valley, and the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The state's highest point, which is also the third-highest peak in eastern North America, is Clingmans Dome, at above sea level. Its lowest point, , is on the Mississippi River at the Mississippi state line in Memphis. Tennessee has the most caves in the United States, with more than 10,000 documented. Geological formations in Tennessee largely correspond with the state's topographic features, and, in general, decrease in age from east to west. The state's oldest rocks are igneous rock, igneous strata more than 1 billion years old found in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the youngest deposits in Tennessee are sands and silts in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain and river valleys that drain into the Mississippi River. Tennessee is considered seismically active and contains two major seismic zones, although destructive earthquakes rarely occur there. The Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone spans the entirety of East Tennessee from northwestern Alabama to southwestern Virginia, and is considered one of the most active zones in the Southeastern United States, frequently producing low-magnitude earthquakes. The New Madrid Seismic Zone in the northwestern part of the state produced 1811–1812 New Madrid earthquakes, a series of devastating earthquakes between December 1811 and February 1812 that formed Reelfoot Lake near Tiptonville, Tennessee, Tiptonville.


Topography

The southwestern
Blue Ridge Mountains The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province A physiographic province is a geographic region with a characteristic geomorphology, and often specific subsurface rock type or structural elements. The continents are subdivided into variou ...
lie within Tennessee's eastern edge, and are divided into several subranges, namely the
Great Smoky Mountains The Great Smoky Mountains () are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and form part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blue Ridge Physi ...

Great Smoky Mountains
, Bald Mountains, Unicoi Mountains, Unaka Range, Unaka Mountains, and Iron Mountains. These mountains, which average above sea level in Tennessee, contain some of the highest elevations in eastern North America. The state's border with North Carolina roughly follows the highest peaks of this range, including Clingmans Dome. Most of the Blue Ridge area is protected by the Cherokee National Forest, the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States The southeastern United States, also referred to as the American Southeast or simply the Southeast, is broadly the eastern portion of the so ...

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
, and several federal wilderness areas and state parks. The Appalachian Trail roughly follows the North Carolina state line before shifting westward into Tennessee. Stretching west from the Blue Ridge Mountains for about are the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, also known as the Tennessee Valley or Great Valley of East Tennessee. This area consists of linear parallel ridges separated by valleys that trend northeast to southwest, the general direction of the entire Appalachian range. Most of these ridges are low, but some of the higher ones are commonly called mountains. Numerous tributaries join to form the Tennessee River in the Ridge and Valley region. The
Cumberland Plateau 300px, Map showing the Cumberland Plateau in yellow as defined by Bailey's ecoregions. The Cumberland Plateau is the southern part of the Appalachian Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians ...
rises to the west of the Tennessee Valley, with an average elevation of . This landform is part of the larger Appalachian Plateau and consists mostly of flat-topped table (landform), tablelands. The plateau's eastern edge is relatively distinct, but the western escarpment is irregular, containing several long, crooked stream valleys separated by rocky cliffs with numerous
waterfall A waterfall is a point in a or where water flows over a vertical drop or a series of steep drops. Waterfalls also occur where drops over the edge of a tabular or . Waterfalls can be formed in several ways, but the most common method of fo ...

waterfall
s. The Cumberland Mountains, with peaks above , comprise the northeastern part of the Appalachian Plateau in Tennessee, and the southeastern part of the Cumberland Plateau is divided by the Sequatchie Valley. The Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, Cumberland Trail traverses the eastern escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau and Cumberland Mountains. West of the Cumberland Plateau is the Highland Rim, an elevated plain that surrounds the Nashville Basin, a dome (geology), geological dome. Both of these physiographic provinces are part of the Interior Low Plateaus of the larger Interior Plains. The Highland Rim is Tennessee's largest geographic region, and is often split into eastern and western halves. The Eastern Highland Rim is characterized by relatively level plains dotted by rolling hills, and the Western Highland Rim and western Nashville Basin are covered with uneven rounded knobs with steep ravines separated by meandering streams. The Nashville Basin has rich, fertile farmland, and porous limestone bedrock very close to the surface underlies both the Nashville Basin and Eastern Highland Rim. This results in karst that forms numerous caves, sinkholes, depressions, and underground streams. West of the Highland Rim is the Tennessee Valley, Western Tennessee Valley, which consists of about in width of hilly land along the banks of the Tennessee River. West of this is the Gulf Coastal Plain, a broad feature that begins at the Gulf of Mexico and extends northward into southern Illinois. The plain begins in the east with low rolling hills and wide stream valleys, known as the West Tennessee Highlands, and gradually levels out to the west. It ends at steep loess bluffs overlooking the Mississippi embayment, the westernmost physiographic division of Tennessee, which is part of the larger Mississippi Alluvial Plain. This flat wide strip is commonly known as the Mississippi Bottoms, and contains lowlands, floodplains, and swamps.


Hydrology

Tennessee is drained by List of rivers in Tennessee, three major rivers, the Tennessee River, Tennessee, Cumberland River, Cumberland, and Mississippi River, Mississippi. The Tennessee River begins at the juncture of the Holston River, Holston and French Broad River, French Broad rivers in Knoxville, flows southwest to Chattanooga, and exits into Alabama before reemerging in the western part of the state and flowing north into Kentucky. Its major tributaries include the Clinch River, Clinch, Little Tennessee River, Little Tennessee, Hiwassee River, Hiwassee, Sequatchie River, Sequatchie, Elk River (Tennessee River tributary), Elk, Beech River, Beech, Buffalo River (Tennessee), Buffalo, Duck River (Tennessee), Duck, and Big Sandy River (Tennessee), Big Sandy rivers. The Cumberland River flows through the north-central part of the state, emerging in the northeastern Highland Rim, passing through Nashville, turning northwest to Clarksville, and entering Kentucky east of the Tennessee River. Its principal branches in Tennessee are the Obey River, Obey, Caney Fork River, Caney Fork, Stones River, Stones, Harpeth River, Harpeth, and Red River (Cumberland River tributary), Red rivers. The Mississippi River drains nearly all of West Tennessee. Its tributaries are the Obion River, Obion, Forked Deer River, Forked Deer, Hatchie River, Hatchie, Loosahatchie River, Loosahatchie, and Wolf River (Tennessee), Wolf rivers. The
Tennessee Valley Authority The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a Federal government of the United States, federally-owned electric utility corporation in the United States. TVA's service area covers all of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, a ...
(TVA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operate many hydroelectric dams on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers and their tributaries, which form large reservoirs throughout the state. About half the state's land area is in the Tennessee Valley drainage basin of the Tennessee River. The Cumberland River basin covers the northern half of Middle Tennessee and a small portion of East Tennessee. A small part of north-central Tennessee is in the Green River (Kentucky), Green River watershed. All three of these basins are tributaries of the Ohio River watershed. Most of West Tennessee is in the Lower Mississippi River watershed. The entirety of the state is in the Mississippi River#Watershed, Mississippi River watershed, except for a small sliver near the southeastern corner traversed by the Conasauga River, which is part of the Mobile Bay watershed.


Ecology

Tennessee is within a temperate deciduous forest biome commonly known as the Eastern Deciduous Forest. It has eight List of ecoregions in the United States (EPA), ecoregions: the Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, Central Appalachian, Southwestern Appalachian, Interior Low Plateaus, Southeastern Plains, Mississippi Valley Loess Plains, and Mississippi Alluvial Plain (ecoregion), Mississippi Alluvial Plain regions. Due to its wide variety of terrains and ecosystems, Tennessee is the most biodiversity, biodiverse inland state. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most biodiverse national park, and the state's Duck River (Tennessee), Duck River is the most biologically diverse waterway in North America. The Nashville Basin is also renowned for its diversity of flora and fauna. Tennessee is home to 340 species of birds, 325 freshwater fish species, 89 mammals, 77 amphibians, and 61 reptiles. Forests cover about 52% of Tennessee's land area, with Oak–hickory forest, oak–hickory the dominant type. Appalachian–Blue Ridge forests#Dry oak–pine forests, Appalachian oak–pine and Cove (Appalachian Mountains)#Cove forest, cove hardwood forests are found in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Cumberland Plateau, and bottomland hardwood forest, bottomland hardwood forests are common throughout the Gulf Coastal Plain. Pine forests are also found throughout the state. The Southern Appalachian spruce–fir forest in the highest elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains is considered the second-most endangered ecosystem in the country. Some of the last remaining large American chestnut trees grow in the Nashville Basin, and are being used to help breed blight-resistant trees. Middle Tennessee is home to many unusual and rare ecosystems known as Calcareous glade, cedar glades, which occur in areas with shallow limestone bedrock that is largely barren of overlying soil, and contain many endemic plant species. Common mammals found throughout Tennessee include white-tailed deer, red fox, red and gray foxes, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, wild turkeys, rabbits, and squirrels. American black bear, Black bears are found in the Blue Ridge Mountains and on the Cumberland Plateau. Tennessee has the third-highest number of amphibian species, with the Great Smoky Mountains home to the most salamander species in the world. The state also ranks second in the nation for the diversity of its freshwater fish species.


Climate

Most of Tennessee has a humid subtropical climate, with the exception of some of the higher elevations in the Appalachians, which are classified as a cooler oceanic climate, mountain temperate or humid continental climate. The Gulf of Mexico is the dominant factor in Tennessee's climate, with winds from the south 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. The highest average monthly precipitation usually occurs between December and April. The driest months, on average, are August to October. The state receives an average of of precipitation annually. Snowfall ranges from in West Tennessee to over in East Tennessee's highest mountains. Summers are generally hot and humid, with most of the state averaging a high of around . Winters tend to be mild to cool, decreasing in temperature at higher elevations. For areas outside the highest mountains, the average overnight lows are generally near freezing. The highest recorded temperature was at Perryville, Tennessee, Perryville on August 9, 1930, while the lowest recorded temperature was at Mountain City, Tennessee, Mountain City on December 30, 1917. While Tennessee is far enough from the coast to avoid any direct impact from a hurricane, its location makes it susceptible to the remnants of tropical cyclones, which weaken over land and can cause significant rainfall. The state annually averages about 50 days of thunderstorms, which can be severe with large hail and damaging winds. Tornadoes are possible throughout the state, with West and Middle Tennessee the most vulnerable. The state averages 15 tornadoes annually. They can be severe, and the state leads the nation in the percentage of total tornadoes that have fatalities. Winter storms such as the Blizzard of 1993 are an occasional problem, although ice storms are more common. Fog is a persistent problem in some areas, especially East Tennessee.


Cities, towns, and counties

Tennessee is divided into List of counties in Tennessee, 95 counties, each of which has a county seat. The state has List of municipalities in Tennessee, 340 municipalities in total. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designates List of metropolitan areas of Tennessee, ten metropolitan areas in Tennessee, four of which extend into neighboring states. Nashville is Tennessee's capital and largest city, with nearly 700,000 residents. Its Nashville metropolitan area, 13-county metropolitan area has been the state's largest since the early 1990s, and is one of the nation's fastest-growing metropolitan areas, with about 2 million residents. Memphis, with more than 630,000 inhabitants, was the state's largest city until 2016, when Nashville surpassed it. It is in Shelby County, Tennessee, Shelby County, Tennessee's largest county in both population and land area. Knoxville, Tennessee, Knoxville, with about 190,000 inhabitants, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chattanooga, with about 180,000 residents, are the third- and fourth-largest cities, respectively. Clarksville, Tennessee, Clarksville is a significant population center, with about 170,000 residents. Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Murfreesboro is the sixth-largest city and Nashville's largest suburb, with more than 150,000 residents. In addition to the major cities, the Tri-Cities, Tennessee, Tri-Cities of Kingsport, Tennessee, Kingsport, Bristol, Tennessee, Bristol, and Johnson City, Tennessee, Johnson City are considered the sixth major population center.


Demographics

The 2020 United States census reported Tennessee's population at 6,910,840, an increase of 564,735, or 8.90%, since the 2010 United States census, 2010 census. Between 2010 and 2019, the state received a natural increase of 143,253 (744,274 births minus 601,021 deaths), and an increase from net migration of 338,428 people into the state. Immigration to the United States, Immigration from outside the U.S. resulted in a net increase of 79,086, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 259,342. Tennessee's center of population is in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Murfreesboro in Rutherford County, Tennessee, Rutherford County. According to the 2010 census, 6.4% of Tennessee's population were under age5, 23.6% were under 18, and 13.4% were 65 or older. In recent years, Tennessee has been a top source of domestic migration, receiving an influx of people relocating from places such as California, the Northeastern United States, Northeast, and the Midwestern United States, Midwest due to the low cost of living and booming employment opportunities. In 2019, about 5.5% of Tennessee's population was foreign-born. Of the foreign-born population, approximately 42.7% were naturalized citizens and 57.3% non-citizens. The foreign-born population consisted of approximately 49.9% from Latin America, 27.1% from Asia, 11.9% from Europe, 7.7% from Africa, 2.7% from Northern America, and 0.6% from Oceania. With the exception of a slump in the 1980s, Tennessee has been one of the fastest-growing states in the nation since 1970, benefiting from the larger Sun Belt phenomenon. The state has been a top destination for people relocating from Northeastern United States, Northeastern and Midwestern United States, Midwestern states. This time period has seen the birth of new economic sectors in the state and has positioned the Nashville and Clarksville metropolitan areas as two of the fastest-growing regions in the country.


Ethnicity

In 2020, 6.9% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race), up from 4.6% in 2010. Between 2000 and 2010, Tennessee's Hispanic population grew by 134.2%, the third-highest rate of any state. In 2020, Non-Hispanic or Latino Whites were 70.9% of the population, compared to 57.7% of the population nationwide. In 2010, the five most common self-reported ethnic groups in the state were American ancestry, American (26.5%), English ancestry, English (8.2%), Irish ancestry, Irish (6.6%), German ancestry, German (5.5%), and Scotch-Irish (2.7%). Most Tennesseans who self-identify as having American ancestry are of English American, English and Scotch-Irish American, Scotch-Irish ancestry. An estimated 21–24% of Tennesseans are of predominantly English American, English ancestry.


Religion

Since colonization, Tennessee has always been predominantly Christianity, Christian. About 81% of the population identifies as Christian, with Protestants making up 73% of the population. Of the Protestants in the state, Evangelicalism, Evangelical Protestants compose 52% of the population, Mainline Protestants 13%, and Black church, Historically Black Protestants 8%. Catholic Church in the United States, Roman Catholics make up 6%, Mormons 1%, and Eastern Orthodox Church, Orthodox Christians less than 1%. The largest denominations by number of adherents are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Churches of Christ. Islam, Muslims and Judaism, Jews each make up about 1% of the population, and adherents of other religions make up about 3% of the population. About 14% of Tennesseans are Irreligion, non-religious, with 11% identifying as "Nothing in particular", 3% as agnosticism, agnostics, and 1% as atheism, atheists. Tennessee is included in most definitions of the Bible Belt, and is ranked as List of U.S. states and territories by religiosity, one of the nation's most religious states. Several Protestant denominations have their headquarters in Tennessee, including the Southern Baptist Convention and National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., National Baptist Convention (in Nashville); the Church of God in Christ and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (in Memphis); and the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), Church of God and the Church of God of Prophecy (in Cleveland, Tennessee, Cleveland); and the National Association of Free Will Baptists (in Antioch, Tennessee, Antioch). Nashville has publishing houses of several denominations.


Economy

As of 2020, Tennessee had a gross regional domestic product, gross state product of $364.5 billion. In 2019, the state's per capita income, per capita personal income was $29,859. The Household income in the United States, median household income was $56,071. About 13.9% percent of the population was below the poverty line. In 2019, the state reported a total employment of 2,724,545 and a total number of 139,760 employer establishments. Tennessee is a Right-to-work law, right-to-work state, like most of its Southern neighbors. Trade union, Unionization has historically been low and continues to decline, as in most of the U.S.


Taxation

Tennessee has a reputation as a low-tax state and is usually ranked as one of the five states with the lowest tax burden on residents. It is one of nine states that do not have a state income tax, general income tax; the sales tax is the primary means of funding the government. The Hall income tax was imposed on most dividends and interest at a rate of 6% but was completely phased out by 2021. The first $1,250 of individual income and $2,500 of joint income was exempt from this tax. Property taxes are the primary source of revenue for local governments. The state's sales and use tax rate for most items is 7%, the second-highest in the nation, along with Mississippi, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Indiana. Food is taxed at 4%, but candy, dietary supplements, and prepared foods are taxed at 7%. Local sales taxes are collected in most jurisdictions at rates varying from 1.5% to 2.75%, bringing the total sales tax between 8.5% and 9.75%. The average combined rate is about 9.5%, the nation's highest average sales tax. Intangible property tax is assessed on the shares of stockholders of any loan, investment, insurance, or for-profit cemetery companies. The assessment ratio is 40% of the value times the jurisdiction's tax rate. Since 2016, Tennessee has had no inheritance tax.


Agriculture

Tennessee has the eighth-most farms in the nation, which cover more than 40% of its land area and have an average size of about . Cash receipts for crops and livestock have an estimated annual value of $3.5 billion, and the agriculture sector has an estimated annual impact of $81 billion on the state's economy. Beef cattle is the state's largest agricultural commodity, followed by broilers and
poultry Poultry () are domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable ...

poultry
. Tennessee ranks 12th in the nation for the number of cattle, with more than half of its farmland dedicated to cattle grazing. Soybeans and
corn Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of the Americas, indige ...

corn
are the state's first and second-most common crops, respectively, and are most heavily grown in West and Middle Tennessee, especially the northwestern corner of the state. Tennessee ranks seventh in the nation in
cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of s ...

cotton
production, most of which is grown in the fertile soils of central West Tennessee. The state ranks fourth nationwide in the production of tobacco, which is predominantly grown in the Ridge-and-Valley region of East Tennessee. Tennessee farmers are also known worldwide for their cultivation of tomatoes and Horticulture, horticultural plants. Other important cash crops in the state include hay, wheat, egg as food, eggs, and snap beans. The Nashville Basin is a top equestrian region, due to soils that produce grass favored by horses. The Tennessee Walking Horse, first bred in the region in the late 18th century, is one of the world's most recognized horse breeds. Tennessee also ranks second nationwide for mule breeding and the production of goat meat. The state's timber industry is largely concentrated on the Cumberland Plateau and ranks as one of the top producers of hardwood nationwide.


Industry

Until
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, Tennessee, like most Southern states, remained predominantly agrarian. Chattanooga became one of the first industrial cities in the south in the decades after the American Civil War, Civil War, when many factories, including iron foundries, steel mills, and textile mills were constructed there. But most of Tennessee's industrial growth began with the federal investments in the
Tennessee Valley Authority The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a Federal government of the United States, federally-owned electric utility corporation in the United States. TVA's service area covers all of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, a ...
(TVA) and the
Manhattan Project The Manhattan Project was a research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe as research and technological development (RTD), is the set of innovative activities undertaken by corporations or governments in ...
in the 1930s and 1940s. The state's industrial and manufacturing sector continued to expand in the succeeding decades, and Tennessee is now home to more than 2,400 advanced manufacturing establishments, which produce a total of more than $29 billion worth of goods annually. The automotive industry in the United States, automotive industry is Tennessee's largest manufacturing sector and one of the nation's largest. Nissan Motors, Nissan's Nissan Smyrna Assembly Plant, assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, Smyrna is the largest automotive assembly plant in North America. Two other automakers have assembly plants in Tennessee: General Motors in Spring Hill Manufacturing, Spring Hill and Volkswagen in Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant, Chattanooga. Ford Motor Company, Ford is constructing Blue Oval City, an assembly plant in Stanton, Tennessee, Stanton that is expected to be operational in 2025. In addition, the state contains more than 900 automotive suppliers. Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors have their North American corporate headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, Franklin. The state is also one of the top producers of food industry, food and drink products, its second-largest manufacturing sector. A number of well-known brands originated in Tennessee, and even more are produced there. Tennessee also ranks as one of the largest producers of chemical industry, chemicals. Chemical products manufactured in Tennessee include industrial chemicals, paints, pharmaceuticals, synthetic resin, plastic resins, and soaps and personal care, hygiene products. Additional important products manufactured in Tennessee include metal fabrication, fabricated metal products, electrical equipment, consumer electronics and home appliance, electrical appliances, and nonelectrical machinery.


Business

Tennessee's commercial sector is dominated by a wide variety of companies, but its largest service industries include health care, transportation, music and entertainment, banking, and finance. Large corporations with headquarters in Tennessee include FedEx, AutoZone, International Paper, and First Horizon Corporation, all based in Memphis; Pilot Corporation and Regal Entertainment Group in Knoxville; Hospital Corporation of America and Caterpillar Inc., based in Nashville; Unum in Chattanooga; Acadia Senior Living and Community Health Systems in Franklin; Dollar General in Goodlettsville, and LifePoint Health, Tractor Supply Company, and Delek US in Brentwood. Since the 1990s, the geographical area between Oak Ridge and Knoxville has been known as the Tennessee Technology Corridor, with more than 500 high-tech firms in the region. The
research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geogra ...
industry in Tennessee is also one of the largest employment sectors, mainly due to the prominence of
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a U.S. multiprogram science and technology national laboratory sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and administered, managed, and operated by UT–Battelle as a federally funded research and ...
(ORNL) and the Y-12 National Security Complex in the city of Oak Ridge. ORNL conducts scientific research in materials science, nuclear physics, energy, supercomputer, high-performance computing, systems biology, and National security of the United States, national security, and is the largest United States Department of Energy national laboratories, national laboratory in the United States Department of Energy, Department of Energy (DOE) system by size. The technology sector is also a rapidly growing industry in Middle Tennessee, particularly in the Nashville metropolitan area.


Energy and mineral production

Tennessee's electric utilities are regulated monopolies, as in many other states. The
Tennessee Valley Authority The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a Federal government of the United States, federally-owned electric utility corporation in the United States. TVA's service area covers all of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, a ...
(TVA) owns over 90% of the state's generating capacity. Nuclear power in the United States, Nuclear power is Tennessee's largest source of electricity generation, producing about 47.3% of its power in 2020. The same year, 20.2% of the power was produced from Gas-fired power plant, natural gas, 18.4% from Coal power in the United States, coal, 13.4% from Hydroelectric power in the United States, hydroelectricity, and 1.6% from other Renewable energy in the United States, renewables. About 61.3% of the electricity generated in Tennessee produces Low-carbon power, no greenhouse gas emissions. Tennessee is home to the two newest civilian Nuclear reactor, nuclear power reactors in the U.S., at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Rhea County, Tennessee, Rhea County. Tennessee was also an early leader in hydroelectric power, and today is the third-largest hydroelectric power-producing state east of the Rocky Mountains. Tennessee is a net consumer of electricity, receiving power from other TVA facilities in neighboring states. Tennessee has very little petroleum and natural gas reserves, but is home to one oil refinery, in Memphis. Bituminous coal is mined in small quantities in the Cumberland Plateau and Cumberland Mountains. There are sizable reserves of lignite coal in West Tennessee that remain untapped. Coal production in Tennessee peaked in 1972, and today less than 0.1% of coal in the U.S. comes from Tennessee. Tennessee is the nation's leading producer of ball clay. Other major mineral products produced in Tennessee include sand, gravel, crushed stone, Portland cement, marble, sandstone, clay, common clay, lime (material), lime, and zinc. The Copper Basin (Tennessee), Copper Basin, in Tennessee's southeastern corner in Polk County, was one of the nation's most productive copper mining in the United States, copper mining districts between the 1840s and 1980s, and supplied about 90% of the copper the Confederacy used during the Civil War. Mining activities in the basin resulted in a major environmental disaster, which left the surrounding landscape barren for more than a century. Iron ore was another major mineral mined in Tennessee until the early 20th century. Tennessee was also a top producer of phosphate until the early 1990s.


Tourism

Tennessee is the 11th-most visited state in the nation, receiving a record of 126 million tourists in 2019. Its top tourist attraction is the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States The southeastern United States, also referred to as the American Southeast or simply the Southeast, is broadly the eastern portion of the so ...

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
, the most visited national park in the U.S., with more than 12 million visitors annually. The park anchors a large tourism industry based primarily in nearby Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Pigeon Forge, which includes Dollywood, the most visited ticketed attraction in Tennessee. Attractions related to Tennessee's musical heritage are spread throughout the state. Other top attractions include the Tennessee State Museum and Parthenon (Nashville), Parthenon in Nashville; the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; Lookout Mountain, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel, Ruby Falls, and the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga; the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, the Bristol Motor Speedway, Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, and the Hiwassee River, Hiwassee and Toccoa/Ocoee River, Ocoee rivers in Polk County. The National Park Service preserves four Civil War battlefields in Tennessee: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Stones River National Battlefield, Shiloh National Military Park, and Fort Donelson National Battlefield. The NPS also operates Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, Trail of Tears#Landmarks and commemorations, Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Tennessee is home to eight National Scenic Byways, including the Natchez Trace Parkway, the East Tennessee Crossing Byway, the Great River Road, the U.S. Route 441 in Tennessee, Norris Freeway, Tennessee State Route 63, Cumberland National Scenic Byway, Tennessee State Route 111, Sequatchie Valley Scenic Byway, The Trace (Land Between the Lakes), The Trace, and the Cherohala Skyway. Tennessee maintains 45 state parks, covering . Many reservoirs created by TVA dams have also generated water-based tourist attractions.


Culture

A culturally diverse state, Tennessee blends Appalachia#Culture, Appalachian and Culture of the Southern United States, Southern flavors, which originate from its English, Scotch-Irish, and African roots, and has evolved as it has grown. Its Grand Divisions also manifest into distinct cultural regions, with East Tennessee commonly associated with Southern Appalachia, and Middle and West Tennessee commonly associated with Upland South#History and culture, Upland Southern culture. Parts of West Tennessee, especially Memphis, are sometimes considered part of the
Deep South The Deep South is a cultural and geographic subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the la ...
. The Tennessee State Museum in Nashville chronicles the state's history and culture. Tennessee is perhaps best known culturally for its musical heritage and contributions to the development of many forms of
popular music Popular music is music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its ...
. Notable authors with ties to Tennessee include Cormac McCarthy, Peter Taylor (writer), Peter Taylor, James Agee, Francis Hodgson Burnett, Thomas S. Stribling, Ida B. Wells, Nikki Giovanni, Shelby Foote, Ann Patchett, Ishmael Reed, and Randall Jarrell. The state's well-known contributions to Cuisine of the Southern United States, Southern cuisine include Memphis-style barbecue, Hot chicken, Nashville hot chicken, and Tennessee whiskey.


Music

Tennessee has played a critical role in the development of many forms of American popular music, including blues,
country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

country
,
rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and st ...

rock and roll
, rockabilly,
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as ...

soul
, bluegrass music, bluegrass, Contemporary Christian music, Contemporary Christian, and
gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel#REDIRECT The gospel In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Te ...
. Many consider Memphis's Beale Street the epicenter of the blues, with musicians such as W. C. Handy performing in its clubs as early as 1909. Memphis was historically home to Sun Records, where musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Charlie Rich began their recording careers, and where rock and roll took shape in the 1950s. Stax Records in Memphis became one of the most important labels for soul artists in the late 1950s and 1960s, and a subgenre known as Memphis soul emerged. The Bristol sessions, 1927 Victor recording sessions in Bristol, Tennessee, Bristol generally mark the beginning of the country music genre and the rise of the ''Grand Ole Opry'' in the 1930s helped make Nashville the center of the country music recording industry. Nashville became known as "Music City", and the ''Grand Ole Opry'' remains the nation's longest-running radio show. Many museums and historic sites recognize Tennessee's role in nurturing various forms of popular music, including Sun Studio, Memphis Rock N' Soul Museum, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, the Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, National Museum of African American Music, and Music Row in Nashville, the International Rock-A-Billy Museum in Jackson, the Mountain Music Museum in Kingsport, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol. The Rockabilly Hall of Fame, an online site recognizing the development of rockabilly, is also based in Nashville. Several annual music festivals take place throughout the state, the largest of which are the Memphis in May#Beale Street Music Festival (BSMF), Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee, Manchester, and Riverbend Festival, Riverbend in Chattanooga.


Education

Education in Tennessee is administered by the Tennessee Department of Education. The state Board of Education has 11 members: one from each Congressional district, a student member, and the executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), who serves as ex-officio nonvoting member. Public primary and secondary education systems are operated by county, city, or special school districts to provide education at the local level, and operate under the direction of the Tennessee Department of Education. The state also has many private schools. The state enrolls approximately 1 million K–12 students in 137 districts. In 2020, the four-year high school graduation rate was 89.6%, a decrease of 0.1% from the previous year. According to the most recent data, Tennessee spends $9,544 per student, the 8th lowest in the nation.


Colleges and universities

Public higher education is overseen by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), which provides guidance to the state's two public university systems. The University of Tennessee system operates four primary campuses in University of Tennessee, Knoxville, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, and University of Tennessee Southern, Pulaski; a University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Health Sciences Center in Memphis; and an University of Tennessee Space Institute, aerospace research facility in Tullahoma. The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), also known as The College System of Tennessee, operates 13 community colleges and 27 campuses of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT). Until 2017, the TBR also operated six public universities in the state; it now only gives them administrative support. In 2014, the Tennessee General Assembly created the Tennessee Promise, which allows in-state high school graduates to enroll in two-year post-secondary education programs such as associate degrees and certificates at community colleges and trade schools in Tennessee tuition-free, funded by the state lottery, if they meet certain requirements. The Tennessee Promise was created as part of then-governor Bill Haslam's "Drive to 55" program, which set a goal of increasing the number of college-educated residents to at least 55% of the state's population. The program has also received national attention, with multiple states having since created similar programs modeled on the Tennessee Promise. Tennessee has 107 private institutions.
Vanderbilt University Vanderbilt University (informally Vandy or VU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
in Nashville is consistently ranked as one of the nation's leading research institutions. Nashville is often called the "Athens of the South" due to its many colleges and universities. Tennessee is also home to six historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).


Media

Tennessee is home to more than 120 newspapers. The most-circulated paid newspapers in the state include ''The Tennessean'' in Nashville, ''The Commercial Appeal'' in Memphis, the ''Knoxville News Sentinel'', the ''Chattanooga Times Free Press'', and ''The Leaf-Chronicle'' in Clarksville, ''The Jackson Sun'', and ''The Daily News Journal'' in Murfreesboro. All of these except the ''Times Free Press'' are owned by Gannett. Six List of United States television markets, television media markets—Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Tri-Cities, and Jackson—are based in Tennessee. The Nashville market is the third-largest in the
Upland South The Upland South or Upper South is a cultural and geographic subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...
and the ninth-largest in the southeastern United States, according to Nielsen Media Research. Small sections of the Huntsville, Alabama and Paducah, Kentucky-Cape Girardeau, Missouri-Harrisburg, Illinois markets also extend into the state. Tennessee has 43 full-power and 41 low-power broadcasting, low-power television stations and more than 450 Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-licensed radio stations. The ''Grand Ole Opry'', based in Nashville, is the longest-running radio show in the country, having broadcast continuously since 1925.


Transportation

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is the primary agency that is tasked with regulating and maintaining Tennessee's transportation infrastructure. Tennessee is currently one of five states with no transportation-related debts.


Roads

Tennessee has of roads, of which are maintained by the state. Of the state's highways, are part of the Interstate Highway System. Tennessee has no toll roads in the United States, tolled roads or bridges but has the sixth-highest mileage of high-occupancy vehicle lane, high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, which are utilized on freeways in the congestion-prone Nashville and Memphis metropolitan areas.
Interstate 40 Interstate 40 (I-40) is a major east–west Interstate Highway The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, is a network of controlled-access highways th ...
(I-40) is the longest Interstate Highway in Tennessee, traversing the state for . Known as "Tennessee's Main Street", I-40 serves the major cities of Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville, and throughout its entire length in Tennessee, one can observe the diversity of the state's geography and landforms. I-40's branch interstates include Interstate 240 (Tennessee), I-240 in Memphis; Interstate 440 (Tennessee), I-440 in Nashville; Interstate 840 (Tennessee), I-840 around Nashville; Pellissippi Parkway, I-140 from Knoxville to Maryville, Tennessee, Maryville; and I-640 in Knoxville. In a north–south orientation, from west to east, are interstates Interstate 55 in Tennessee, 55, which serves Memphis; Interstate 65 in Tennessee, 65, which passes through Nashville; Interstate 75 in Tennessee, 75, which serves Chattanooga and Knoxville; and Interstate 81 in Tennessee, 81, which begins east of Knoxville, and serves Bristol to the northeast. Interstate 24 in Tennessee, I-24 is an east–west interstate that enters the state in Clarksville, passes through Nashville, and terminates in Chattanooga. U.S. Route 23 in Tennessee, I-26, although technically an east–west interstate, begins in Kingsport and runs southwardly through Johnson City, Tennessee, Johnson City before exiting into North Carolina. Interstate 155 (Missouri-Tennessee), I-155 is a branch route of I-55 that serves the northwestern part of the state. Interstate 275 (Tennessee), I-275 is a short spur route in Knoxville. Interstate 269, I-269 runs from Millington, Tennessee, Millington to Collierville, Tennessee, Collierville, serving as an outer bypass of Memphis.


Airports

Major airports in Tennessee include Nashville International Airport (BNA), Memphis International Airport (MEM), McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) outside of Knoxville, Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA), Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI) in Blountville, Tennessee, Blountville, and McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport (MKL) in Jackson. Because Memphis International Airport is the hub of FedEx Corporation, it is the World's busiest airport, world's busiest cargo airport. The state also has 74 general aviation airports and 148 heliports.


Railroads

For passenger rail service, Memphis and Newbern, Tennessee, Newbern are served by the Amtrak City of New Orleans (train), City of New Orleans line on its run between Chicago and New Orleans. Nashville is served by the Music City Star commuter rail service. Tennessee currently has of freight trackage in operation, most of which are owned by CSX Transportation. Norfolk Southern Railway also operates lines in East and southwestern Tennessee. BNSF operates a major transport hub, intermodal facility in Memphis.


Waterways

Tennessee has a total of of Inland waterways of the United States, navigable waterways, the 11th highest in the nation. These include the Mississippi River, Mississippi, Tennessee River, Tennessee, and Cumberland River, Cumberland rivers. Five inland ports are located in the state, including the Port of Memphis, which is the fifth-largest in the United States and the second largest on the Mississippi River.


Law and government

The Constitution of Tennessee was adopted in 1870. The state had two previous constitutions. The first was adopted in 1796, the year Tennessee was admitted to the union, and the second in 1834. Since 1826,
Nashville Nashville is the Capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Tennessee, most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. ...
has been the capital of Tennessee. The capital was previously in three other cities. Knoxville, Tennessee, Knoxville was the capital from statehood in 1796 until 1812, except for September 21, 1807, when the legislature met in Kingston, Tennessee, Kingston for a day. The capital was relocated to Nashville in 1812, where it remained until it was relocated back to Knoxville in 1817. The next year, the capital was moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Murfreesboro, where it remained until 1826. Nashville was officially named Tennessee's permanent capital in 1843.


Executive and legislative branches

Like the federal government, Tennessee's government has three branches. The executive branch is led by the Governor of Tennessee, governor, who holds office for a four-year term and may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. The governor is the only official elected statewide. The current governor is Bill Lee (Tennessee politician), Bill Lee, a Republican Party (United States), Republican. The governor is supported by 22 cabinet-level departments, most headed by a commissioner the governor appoints. The executive branch also includes several agencies, boards, and commissions, some of which are under the auspices of one of the cabinet-level departments. The bicameralism, bicameral legislative branch, the
Tennessee General Assembly The Tennessee General Assembly (TNGA) is the state legislature (United States), state legislature of the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is a part-time bicameral legislature consisting of a Tennessee Senate, Senate and a Tennessee House of Represent ...
, consists of the 33-member Tennessee Senate, Senate and the 99-member Tennessee House of Representatives, House of Representatives. Senators serve four-year terms and House members serve two-year terms. Each chamber chooses a Speaker, who is elected by a joint session of the legislature. The Speaker of the Senate also serves as the Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee, lieutenant governor, a practice found only in one other state, and the House Speaker is third in line for the governorship. The legislature can override a veto by a simple majority, and the state has no "pocket veto". The legislature convenes at noon on the second Tuesday in January and meets for a total of 90 days over two sessions, usually adjourning in late April or early May. Special sessions may be called by the governor or by two-thirds of the members of both chambers.


Judicial system

Tennessee's highest court is the Tennessee Supreme Court, state Supreme Court. It has a List of justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court, chief justice and four associate justices. No more than two justices can be from the same Grand Divisions of Tennessee, Grand Division. The Supreme Court of Tennessee appoints the state's Tennessee Attorney General, Attorney General, a practice only found in Tennessee. Both the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Court of Appeals and the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals have 12 judges, who are evenly from each Grand Division. Under the Tennessee Plan, the governor appoints justices on all three courts to eight-year terms; they must be retention election, retained by the voters during the first general election after appointment and at the end of their term. Tennessee is divided into 31 judicial districts, each with a circuit and chancery court, and a district attorney and judges elected to eight-year terms. Separate criminal courts serve 13 of the 31 judicial districts; circuit courts handle criminal cases in the remaining districts. Local courts include general sessions, juvenile and domestic, and municipal courts. Tennessee maintains four dedicated law enforcement agencies: the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). The Highway Patrol is the primary entity that enforces highway safety regulations and general non-wildlife state laws. It is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Safety. The TWRA is an independent agency tasked with enforcing all wildlife, boating, and fishery regulations outside of state parks. TDEC enforces state environmental laws and regulations. The TBI is the primary state-level criminal investigative department. State park rangers are responsible for all activities and law enforcement inside the Tennessee State Parks system. Capital punishment in Tennessee, Capital punishment is legal in Tennessee and has existed at various times since statehood. Lethal injection is the primary means of execution, but electrocution is also allowed.


Local

Tennessee is divided into List of counties in Tennessee, 95 counties, with 92 county governments that use a county commission legislative body and a separately elected county executive. The governments of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson (Nashville), Moore County, Tennessee, Moore (Lynchburg, Tennessee, Lynchburg), and Trousdale County, Tennessee, Trousdale (Hartsville, Tennessee, Hartsville) are consolidated city-county, consolidated with their county seats. Each county elects a sheriff, property assessor, trustee, register of deeds, and county clerk. Tennessee has more than 340 municipalities. Most cities and towns use the Mayor–council government#Weak-mayor government form, weak mayor-council (mayor-aldermen), Mayor–council government#Strong-mayor government form, strong-mayor council, City commission government, city commission, or Council–manager government, council–manager forms of government. Local law enforcement is divided between county sheriff's offices and municipal police departments. In every county except Davidson, the sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer.


Federal

Tennessee sends Tennessee's congressional districts#Current districts and representatives, nine representatives to the United States House of Representatives. The current delegation consists of seven Republican Party (United States), Republicans and two Democratic Party (United States), Democrats. Its United States Senate, U.S. senators are Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, both Republicans. Tennessee is under the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over three United States district court, district courts in the state: the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Eastern, United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Middle, and United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Western districts.


Tribal

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is Tennessee's only federally recognized Tribe (Native American), Native American tribe. It owns in Henning, Tennessee, Henning, which the tribe placed into federal trust in 2012. This is governed directly by the tribe.


Politics

Tennessee's politics are currently dominated by the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party. Republicans currently hold the state's U.S. Senate seats, 7 out of 9 Congressional seats, 73 out of 99 state house seats, and 27 out of 33 state senate seats. Democratic Party (United States), Democratic strength is largely concentrated in Nashville, Memphis, and parts of Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Clarksville. Several suburban areas of Nashville and Memphis also contain significant Democratic minorities, but these areas are still safely Republican. Tennessee is one of thirteen states which holds its presidential primaries on Super Tuesday. Tennessee does not require voters to declare a party affiliation when registering. The state is one of eight states which require voters to present a form of voter identification laws in the United States, photo identification. Between the end of the Civil War and the mid-20th century, Tennessee was part of the Democratic Solid South but had the largest Republican minority of any former Confederate state. During this time, East Tennessee was heavily Republican and the western two thirds mostly voted Democratic, with the latter dominating the state. This division was related to the state's pattern of Unionist and Confederate loyalism during the Civil War. Tennessee's Tennessee's 1st congressional district, 1st and Tennessee's 2nd congressional district, 2nd congressional districts, based in the Tri-Cities and Knoxville, respectively, are among the few historically Republican districts in the South. The first has been in Republican hands continuously since 1881, and Republicans or their antecedents have held it for all but four years since 1859. The second has been held continuously by Republicans or their antecedents since 1855. During Reconstruction, freedmen and former free Blacks were granted the right to vote; most joined the Republican Party. Numerous African Americans were elected to local offices, and some to state office. Following Reconstruction, Tennessee continued to have competitive party politics, but in the 1880s, the White-dominated state government passed
Jim Crow laws Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into racial or other Ethnicity, ethnic groups in daily life. Racial segregation can amount to the intern ...
, one of which imposed a poll tax requirement for voter registration. These served to Disfranchisement after Reconstruction era, disenfranchise most African Americans, and their power in state and local politics was markedly reduced. After the disenfranchisement of Blacks, the Republican Party became a primarily White sectionalism, sectional party supported mostly in East Tennessee. In the early 1900s, the state legislature approved legislation allowing cities to adopt a city commission government, commission form of government based on at-large voting as a means to limit African American political participation. It was not until after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that African Americans were able to regain their full voting rights. Between the end of Reconstruction and the mid-20th century, Tennessee voted consistently Democratic in Presidential elections, except for two nationwide Republican landslide victory, landslides in the 1920s. Tennesseans narrowly supported Warren G. Harding over Ohio Governor James M. Cox, James Cox in 1920, and more decisively voted for Herbert Hoover over New York Governor Al Smith in 1928. For most of the second half of the 20th century, Tennessee was a swing state in presidential elections. During this time, Democratic presidential nominees from Southern states, including Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, tended to fare better in Tennessee than their Northern counterparts, especially among split-ticket voters outside the metropolitan areas. In the 1950s, Tennessee twice voted for Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Allied Commander of the Armed Forces during World War II. Howard Baker, first elected in 1966, became the first Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee since Reconstruction. The elections of Winfield Dunn as governor and Bill Brock to the U.S. Senate in 1970 further helped make the Republican Party competitive among Whites in statewide elections. In the 2000 United States presidential election in Tennessee, 2000 presidential election, Vice President Al Gore, who had previously served as a Democratic U.S. Senator from Tennessee, failed to carry his home state, an unusual occurrence but indicative of strengthening Republican support. Beginning in the early 21st century, Tennessee transitioned into a solid Republican state, primarily due to rural White voters who have rejected the increasing modern liberalism in the United States, liberalism of the Democratic Party. In 2004 United States presidential election in Tennessee, 2004, Republican President George W. Bush increased his margin of victory in the state to 14% from 4% in 2000. In 2007, Ron Ramsey became the first Republican Speaker of the State Senate since Reconstruction, and the following year the Republicans gained control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. Voters, however, continued to elect Moderate (politics), moderate Republicans, such as centrists Bill Haslam and Lamar Alexander, until the late 2010s with the rise of Trumpism in the GOP at a nationwide scale. Since 2016, Tennessee has been the most populous state to vote Republican by more than 60% in presidential elections, and in 2020 United States presidential election in Tennessee, 2020 voted Republican by the largest margin of any state by the number of votes.


Sports

Tennessee is home to four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, major professional sports franchises: the Tennessee Titans have played in the National Football League (NFL) since 1997, the Nashville Predators have played in the National Hockey League (NHL) since 1998, the Memphis Grizzlies have played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) since 2001, and Nashville SC has played in Major League Soccer (MLS) since 2020. The state is also home to eight minor league teams. Four of these are Minor League Baseball clubs. The Nashville Sounds, which began play in 1978, and Memphis Redbirds, which began in 1998, each compete in the Triple-A East at the Triple-A (baseball), Triple-A level, the highest before Major League Baseball. The Tennessee Smokies, which have played continuously since 1972, and Chattanooga Lookouts, which have played continuously since 1976, are members of the Double-A (baseball), Double-A classification Double-A South. Tennessee has three minor league Association football, soccer teams. Memphis 901 FC has played in the second-tier USL Championship since 2019. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC has been a member of the third-tier USL League One since 2019. Founded in 2009, Chattanooga FC began playing in the third-tier National Independent Soccer Association in 2020. The state has one minor league ice hockey team: the Knoxville Ice Bears, which began play in 2002 and are members of the Southern Professional Hockey League. The state is home to 12 NCAA Division I programs. Four of these participate in the top level of college football, the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Bowl Subdivision. In Knoxville, the Tennessee Volunteers college teams play in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In Nashville, the Vanderbilt Commodores are also members of the SEC. The Memphis Tigers are members of the American Athletic Conference, and Murfreesboro's Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders play in Conference USA. Nashville is also home to the Belmont Bruins and Tennessee State Tigers and Lady Tigers, Tennessee State Tigers, both members of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC), and the Lipscomb Bisons, members of the ASUN Conference. Tennessee State plays football in Division I's second level, the NCAA Division I#Football Championship Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, while Belmont and Lipscomb List of NCAA Division I non-football programs, do not have football teams. The OVC also includes the Austin Peay Governors and Lady Govs, Austin Peay Governors from Clarksville, the UT Martin Skyhawks from Martin, and the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles from Cookeville. The Chattanooga Mocs and Johnson City's East Tennessee State Buccaneers are full members, including football, of the Southern Conference. Tennessee is also home to the Bristol Motor Speedway, which features Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Cup Series racing two weekends a year, routinely selling out more than 160,000 seats on each date. The Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, which previously held Xfinity Series, Nationwide and IndyCar Series, IndyCar races until it was shut down in 2011, reopened to host the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021. Tennessee's only graded stakes horserace, the Iroquois Steeplechase, is held in Nashville each May. The WGC Invitational is a PGA Tour golf tournament that has been held in Memphis since 1958.


See also

* Index of Tennessee-related articles * Outline of Tennessee


Notes


References


Citations


Bibliography

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Further reading

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External links


Official website

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Tennessee State Library and Archives

Tennessee Blue Book

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture

Tennessee State Agency Databases
by the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association
TNGen Web Project
free genealogy resources for the state
Tennessee QuickFacts
by the U.S. Census Bureau
Tennessee scientific resources
by the U.S. Geological Survey
Tennessee state data
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Tennessee State Profile and Energy Estimates
by U.S. Energy Information Administration
Tennessee Code Annotated
by LexisNexis
Tennessee Landforms
* * * {{coord Tennessee, 1796 establishments in the United States Southern United States State of Franklin States and territories established in 1796 States of the Confederate States States of the United States U.S. states with multiple time zones Contiguous United States