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Tennessee, US (Population: 6,038,803)

State Capitol: Nashville

Major Cities: Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Johnson City, Kingsport, Franklin

State Nickname/Motto: Volunteer State – Agriculture and Commerce

Statehood Granted: June 1, 1796

History: The area now known as Tennessee was first settled by Paleo-Indians nearly 11,000 years ago. The names of the cultural groups that inhabited the area between first settlement and the time of European contact are unknown, but several distinct cultural phases have been named by archaeologists, including Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian whose cultures were the base for the Muscogee people who inhabited the Tennessee River Valley prior to Cherokee migration into the river's headwaters. When Spanish explorers first visited the area, led by Hernando de Soto in 1539–43, it was inhabited by tribes of Muscogee and Yuchi people. Because of European diseases devastating the Native tribes, leaving a population vacuum, and from expanding European settlement in the north, the Cherokee moved south into North and South Carolina and Georgia. As European colonists spread into the area, the native populations were forcibly displaced to the south and west, including all Muscogee and Yuchi peoples, the Chickasaw, and Choctaw. The frontier Fort Watauga served as a 1780 staging area for the Overmountain Men in preparation to trek over the Great Smoky Mountains, to engage, and to later defeat the British Army at the Battle of Kings Mountain in North Carolina.

Geography: Highest point: Clingmans Dome 6,643 feet. Tennessee lies adjacent to eight other states: Kentucky and Virginia to the north; North Carolina to the east; Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi on the south; and Arkansas and Missouri on the Mississippi River to the west. Tennessee ties Missouri as the states bordering the most other states. The state is trisected by the Tennessee River. Tennessee features six principal physiographic regions: the Blue Ridge, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region, the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Nashville Basin, and the Gulf Coastal Plain.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (98.8%), White (79.6%), Black or African American (16.4%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.3%), Asian (1.3%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.0%), Some other race (1.2%), Two or more races (1.2%), Hispanic or Latino (3.0%)*

Famous State People:

  • Davy Crockett (1786 - 1836) Frontiersman; born in Limestone.
  • Aretha Franklin (1942 - ) Gospel singer known as the "Queen of Soul;" born in Memphis.
  • Dolly Parton (1946 - ) Country singer and actress; born in Sevierville.
  • Morgan Freeman (1937 - ) Famous actor who has appeared in movies such as Driving Miss Daisy, Lean on Me, Amistad and others. Born in Memphis.
  • Al Gore, Jr. (1948 - ) 45th Vice president of the U.S.; raised in Carthage.
  • James Agee (1909 - 1955) Writer, poet; born in Knoxville.
  • Alvin York (1887 - 1964) World War I hero; born in Pall Mall.
  • Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) One of the most famous singers of all time that helped develop rock and roll; moved to Memphis in 1948.
  • Cybill Shepherd (1950 - ) Actress made famous from television’s Moonlighting and Cybill; born in Memphis.
  • Tina Turner (1939 - ) Singer. She won a Grammy award in 1972 and starred in the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome; born in Brownsville.
  • Lester Flatt (1914 - 1979) Bluegrass musician; born in Overton County.
  • Benjamin L. Hooks (1925 - ) Executive director of the NAACP, attorney, and clergyman; born in Memphis.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: American Baptist College, Aquinas College, The Art Institute of Tennessee- Nashville, Austin Peay State University, Belmont University, Bethel College, Bryan College, Carson-Newman College, Christian Brothers University, Columbia State Community College, Crichton College, Cumberland University, East Tennessee State University, Fisk University ,Freed-Hardeman University, Johnson Bible College, King College, Knoxville College, Lambuth University, Lane College, Lee University, LeMoyne-Owen College, Lincoln Memorial University, Lipscomb University, Martin Methodist College, Maryville College, Middle Tennessee State University ,Milligan College, Nashville School of Law, Rhodes College, Sewanee: The University of the South, Tennessee State University, Tennessee Temple University, Tennessee Wesleyan College, Trevecca Nazarene University, Tusculum College, Union University, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee System, Vanderbilt University

    State and National Parks: Bicentennial Mall State Park, Big Cypress Tree State Park, Big Hill Pond State Park, Big Ridge State Park, Bledsoe Creek State Park, Booker T. Washington State Park, Burgess Falls State Park, Cedars of Lebanon State Park, Chickasaw State Park, Cordell Hull State Park, Cove Lake State Park, Cumberland Mountain State Park, David Crockett State Park, Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park. Dunbar Cave State Park, Edgar Evins State Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Fort Loudoun State Park, Fort Pillow State Park, Frozen Head State Park, Harpeth River State Park, Henry Horton State Park, Harrison Bay State Park, Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park, Indian Mountain State Park, Johnsonville State Historic Park, Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, Long Hunter State Park, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, Montgomery Bell State Park, Mousetail Landing State Park, Nathan Bedford Forest State Park, Natchez Trace State Park, Norris Dam State Park, Old Stone Fort State Historic Park, Panther Creek State Park, Paris Landing State Park, Pickett State Park, Pickwick Landing State Park, Pinson Mounds State Park, Port Royal State Park, Radnor Lake State Park, Red Clay State Park, Reelfoot Lake State Park, Roan Mountain State Park, Rock Island State Park, Ross Creek Landing State Park, Sgt. Alvin C. York Historic Park, South Cumberland State Park, Standing Stone State Park, Sycamore Shoals State Park, Tims Ford State Park, T.O. Fuller State Park, Virgin Falls State Park, Warrior's Path State Park, Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Fort Donelson National Cemetery, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Natchez Trace Parkway, Obed Wild and Scenic River, Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, Shiloh National Cemetery, Shiloh National Military Park, Stones River National Battlefield, River National Cemetery, Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, Cherokee National Forest, Cumberland Gap Historical Park

    Misc: The earliest variant of the name that became Tennessee was recorded by Captain Juan Pardo, the Spanish explorer, when he and his men passed through a American Indian village named "Tanasqui" in 1567 while traveling inland from South Carolina. European settlers later encountered a Cherokee town named Tanasi or "Tanase" in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee. The town was located on a river of the same name (now known as the Little Tennessee River). It is not known whether this was the same town as the one encountered by Juan Pardo. The meaning and origin of the word are uncertain. Some accounts suggest it is a Cherokee modification of an earlier Yuchi word. It has been said to mean "meeting place", "winding river", or "river of the great bend". The modern spelling, Tennessee, is attributed to James Glen, the governor of South Carolina, who used this spelling in his official correspondence during the 1750s.

    *U.S. Census - 2005