State: Tennessee – TN

Published on October 8th, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography


Tennessee is a U.S. State located in the Southeastern United States. It is the 17th most populated and 36th largest of the 50 U.S. States. Today we’ll be looking at this state in detail to bring you new and exciting information.

We’ll take a look at a broad overview, followed by the geography, climate, and state symbols of this place. Before we begin, let’s take a look at some crucial information:

  • State Abbreviation: TN
  • Capital: Nashville
  • Largest city: Memphis
  • Area: 42,143 square miles (ranked 36th)
  • Population: 6,549,352 (Ranked 17th)
  • Highest point: Cingmans Dome (6,643 ft)
  • Prior to Statehood: Southwest Territory
  • Admitted to the Union: June 1, 1796 (16th)
  • Time zones: Eastern UTC -5/-4 (Eastern TN) Central UTC -6/-5 (Middle and Western TN)
  • State flag 
  • Official Website: tennessee.gov
  • Nickname: The Volunteer State
  • Motto: Agriculture and Commerce
  • State Bird: Mockingbird, Bobwhite Quail
  • Butterfly: Zebra Swallowtail
  • Fish: Channel catfish, Smallmouth bass
  • Flower: Iris, Passion Flower, Tennessee Echinacea
  • Insect: Firefly, Lady beetle, Honey bee
  • Mammal: Tennessee Walking Horse, Raccoon
  • Reptile: Eastern box turtle
  • Tree: Tulip Poplar, Eastern Red Cedar

map of Tennessee in the United States

TN State Overview

This state is bordered by Kentucky and Virginia to the north, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, and Arkansas and Missouri to the west. The eastern part of the state is taken up in most part by the Appalachian Mountains.

The western border is defined by the Mississippi River. The capital and second largest city in the state is Nashville with a population of 601,222. The Watauga Association, a 1772 frontier pact, is the basis for the government. This is widely regarded as the first constitutional government west of the Appalachian mountains.

This area was originally part of North Carolina and later became the Southwest Territory. TN was the last to leave the Union and join the confederacy during the U.S. Civil War in 1861. Conversely, it was occupied by Union forces and became the first state to be readmitted to the Union at the end of the war.

During the Civil War, TN provided more soldiers for the Confederacy and the Union than any other state. The economy transitioned from agriculture to a more diversified approach when the federal government began investing in the Tennessee Valley Authority. In the 1940’s the government also funded the city of Oak Ridge.

It was here where the scientist and families of the Manhattan Project developed the world’s first atomic bomb that was used to end World War II. TN is also responsible for developing many forms of popular music, including rock and roll, blues, and country.

Beale Street in Memphis is considered by many to be the birthplace of the blues. Musicians like W.C. Handy were performing in clubs here as early as 1909. Memphis is also the location of Sun Records, where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Charlie Rich started their careers.

Rock and roll began to emerge here in the 1950’s. The 1927 Victor recording sessions in Bristol are commonly referred to as the beginnings of country music. There are three museums that represent the forms of music that TN was responsible for cultivating:

  • The Memphis Rock N’ Soul Museum
  • The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
  • The International Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Today, the major industries include agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. The main agricultural products here are poultry, soybeans, and cattle. Major exports include chemicals, transportation equipment, and electrical equipment.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the state.

map of Tennessee

Geography and Climate

The state is divided into three geographical divisions: East, Middle, and West. In addition, there are six principal physiographic regions:

  • Blue Ridge
  • Appalachian Ridge
  • Valley Region
  • Cumberland Plateau
  • Highland Rim
  • Nashville Basin
  • Gulf Coastal Plain

There are more caves here than in any other state with over 9,600 discovered to date. The East region contains the Blue Ridge area where there are high mountains and rugged terrain.

Several subranges are also here including the Great Smoky Mountains, the Bald Mountains, the Unicoi Mountains, the Unaka Mountains, the Roan Highlands, and the Iron Mountains.

The Middle section of the state houses the Highland Rim, and the Nashville Basin, which is known for its tobacco production. Some of the last American Chestnut trees are located here. There are attempts in place to breed blight resistant trees so they don’t go extinct.

The West region is where the Coastal Plain can be found, along with the Tennessee River and the Mississippi River. Much of this land was owned by the Indian Chickasaw tribe until the Chickasaw Cession of 1818. There are fifty-four state parks which cover 132,000 acres in total.

Much of the state has a humid subtropical climate, with the exception of areas with high elevation in the Appalachians, which have a mountain temperate climate. The Gulf of Mexico brings winds from the south that regulate the state’s precipitation.

In general, there are hot summers and cool winters, with plenty of rainfall throughout the year. The driest season occurs between August and October. During the summer, temperatures will be hot and humid, averaging roughly 90 degree Fahrenheit. The highest recorded temperature is 113 degree Fahrenheit.

Tennessee State Symbols

The main symbols of the state are the flag and the seal. The flag itself is an emblem placed on a red background with a strip of blue on the fly. The emblem itself is composed of three stars in a blue circle. This same emblem is used in several logos including the First Tennessee Bank, the Tennessee Titans in the National Football League, and the Nashville Predator of the National Hockey League.

The flag itself was designed by Colonel LeRoy Reeves of the National Guard in 1905. The three stars are meant to represent the three Grand Divisions of the state (East, Middle and West). The blue bar is purely for design purposes.

The circle around the stars represents the unity of the three divisions. The roman numerals on the seal (XVI) represents it being the 16th state. The image on the seal is of a plow, a bundle of wheat, a cotton plant, and the word “Agriculture” under the three. These are important cash crops in the state.

Final Thoughts

Before you head on over to one of our other pages, be sure to check out our list of Tennessee state facts to round out your knowledge of this place. Thanks for reading and be sure to share your own information in the comments below!

printable-map-tennessee



About the Author
Brandon Ramsey

Brandon Ramsey is the head author and editor of The Time Now Blog. Be sure to follow us via social media!


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