Tennessee, a state in the southeastern United States. It stretches from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River, bordering eight states. Part of the story of Tennessee's varied geography and history is told by the many nicknames the state has acquired since its founding.

Tennessee is best known as the “Volunteer State”; this nickname honors the thousands of Tennesseans who volunteered and distinguished themselves in the War of 1812.

“Hog and Hominy State” is a nickname that stemmed from the predominance of pork and corn products in Tennessee's economy in the 1800's. Though the name is now obsolete, farming remains important, with soybeans, tobacco, corn, and cattle being the chief products.

The Civil War—fought more in Tennessee than any other state except Virginia—scarred the land and produced the nickname “Butternuts” for Tennesseans. It was first applied to Tennessee soldiers because of their tan-colored uniforms.

Tennessee is also known as “Big Bend State,” a reference to the looping course of the Tennessee River. It was in the Tennessee Valley during the depression of the 1930's that the vast redevelopment program of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was started as an attack on widespread poverty. Out of the program has come a degree of agricultural and industrial prosperity previously unknown in the state.

Tennessee has been the home of notable men since the days of the Revolution. Among them were the frontiersman Davy Crockett; Presidents Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson; the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest; the hero of the Texas war for independence from Mexico, Sam Houston; and World War I hero Alvin C. York.

Tennessee'sTennessee's state bird is the mockingbird.
Tennessee in brief
General information
Statehood: June 1, 1796, the 16th state.
State abbreviations: Tenn. (traditional); TN (postal).
State capital: Nashville, the capital since 1826. Earlier capitals were Knoxville (1792-1812, 1817), Kingston (1807, for one day), Nashville (1812-1817), and Murfreesboro (1818-1826).
State motto: Agriculture and Commerce.
Popular name: The Volunteer State.
State songs: "Rocky Top." Words and music by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. "The Tennessee Waltz." Words by Pee Wee King; music by Redd Stewart. “My Homeland, Tennessee.” “When It's Iris Time in Tennessee.” “My Tennessee.”
Symbols of Tennessee
State bird: Mockingbird.
State flower: Iris.
State tree: Tulip poplar.
State flag and seal: The state flag, adopted in 1905, has three white stars on a blue circle in the center of the flag. The stars represent East, Middle, and West Tennessee. The background of the flag is red with a vertical blue stripe on the right side. On the state seal, a plow, a sheaf of wheat, and a cotton plant symbolize the importance of agriculture. The riverboat represents commerce. The date 1796 is the year the first state Constitution was approved. The current state seal came into use during the term of Governor William G. Brownlow (1865-1869) and was officially adopted in 1987.
Land and climate
Area: 42,146 mi2 (109,158 km2), including 926 mi2 (2,400 km2) of inland water.
Elevation: Highest--Clingmans Dome, 6,643 ft (2,025 m) above sea level. Lowest--182 ft (55 m) above sea level in Shelby County.
Record high temperature: 113 degrees F (45 degrees C) at Perryville on July 29 and Aug. 9, 1930.
Record low temperature: –32 degrees F (–36 degrees C) at Mountain City on Dec. 30, 1917.
Average July temperature: 78 degrees F (26 degrees C).
Average January temperature: 38 degrees F (3 degrees C).
Average yearly precipitation: 52 in (132 cm).
People
Population: 5,689,283.
Rank among the states: 16th.
Density: 135 per mi2 (52 per km2), U.S. average 78 per mi2 (30 per km2).
Distribution: 64 percent urban, 36 percent rural.
Largest cities in Tennessee: Memphis (650,100); Nashville (545,524); Knoxville (173,890); Chattanooga (155,554); Clarksville (103,455); Murfreesboro (68,816).
Economy
Chief products
Agriculture: beef cattle, broilers, corn, cotton, dairy products, greenhouse and nursery products, soybeans, tobacco.
Manufacturing: chemicals, computer and electronic products, machinery, processed foods and beverages, transportation equipment.
Mining: cement, coal, crushed stone.
Government
State government
Governor: 4-year term.
State senators: 33; 4-year terms.
State representatives: 99; 2-year terms.
Counties: 95.
Federal government
United States senators: 2.
United States representatives: 9.
Electoral votes: 11.
Sources of information
For information about tourism, write to: Department of Tourist Development, 312 8th Avenue North, 25th Floor, Nashville, TN 37243. The Web site at http://www.tnvacation.com/ also provides information.
For information on the economy, write to: Department of Economic and Community Development, 312 Eighth Avenue North, 11th Floor, Nashville, TN 37243-0405.
The state’s official Web site at http://www.state.tn.us also provides a gateway to much information on Tennessee’s economy, government, and history.