State of Tennessee
The Volunteer State
Agriculture and Commerce
Anthem: Nine songs
Map of the United States with Tennessee highlighted
Map of the United States with Tennessee highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodSouthwest Territory
Admitted to the UnionJune 1, 1796 (16th)
(and largest city)
Largest metroGreater Nashville
 • GovernorBill Lee (R)
 • Lieutenant governorRandy McNally (R)
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. senatorsLamar Alexander (R)
Marsha Blackburn (R)
U.S. House delegation7 Republicans
2 Democrats (list)
 • Total42,143 sq mi (109,247 km2)
 • Land41,217 sq mi (106,846 km2)
 • Water926 sq mi (2,401 km2)  2.2%
Area rank36th
 • Length440 mi (710 km)
 • Width120 mi (195 km)
900 ft (270 m)
Highest elevation6,643 ft (2,025 m)
Lowest elevation178 ft (54 m)
 • Total6,833,793 (2,019 est.)[4]
 • Rank16th
 • Density159.4/sq mi (61.5/km2)
 • Density rank20th
 • Median household income
 • Income rank
Big Bender (archaic)
Volunteer (historical significance)
 • Official languageEnglish
 • Spoken languageLanguage spoken at home[6]
Time zones
East TennesseeUTC-05:00 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-04:00 (EDT)
Middle and WestUTC-06:00 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-05:00 (CDT)
USPS abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeUS-TN
Tennessee state symbols
Flag of Tennessee.svg
Living insignia
AmphibianTennessee cave salamander
Bobwhite quail
ButterflyZebra swallowtail
FishChannel catfish
Smallmouth bass
Passion flower
Tennessee echinacea
Lady beetle
Honey bee
MammalTennessee Walking Horse
ReptileEastern box turtle
TreeTulip poplar
Eastern red cedar
Inanimate insignia
DanceSquare dance
FirearmBarrett M82
FossilPterotrigonia (Scabrotrigonia) thoracica
GemstoneTennessee River pearl
Poem"Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee" by William Lawrence
SloganTennessee – America at its Best
Tennessee State Tartan
State route marker
Tennessee state route marker
State quarter
Tennessee quarter dollar coin
Released in 2002
Lists of United States state symbols

Tennessee (/ (About this soundlisten),[7][8] locally i/;[9] Cherokee: ᏔᎾᏏ, romanized: Tanasi) is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is the 36th largest and the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. Tennessee is bordered by eight states, with Kentucky to the north, Virginia to the northeast, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, Arkansas to the west, and Missouri to the northwest. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms the state's western border. Nashville is the state's capital and largest city, with a 2017 population of 667,560 and a 2017 metro population of 1,903,045. Tennessee's second largest city is Memphis, which had a population of 652,236 in 2017.[10]

The state of Tennessee is rooted in the Watauga Association, a 1772 frontier pact generally regarded as the first constitutional government west of the Appalachians.[11] What is now Tennessee was initially part of North Carolina, and later part of the Southwest Territory. Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the 16th state on June 1, 1796. Tennessee was the last state to leave the Union and join the Confederacy at the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861. Occupied by Union forces from 1862, it was the first state to be readmitted to the Union at the end of the war.[12]

Tennessee furnished more soldiers for the Confederate Army than any other state besides Virginia, and more soldiers for the Union Army than the rest of the Confederacy combined.[12] Beginning during Reconstruction, it had competitive party politics, but a Democratic takeover in the late 1880s resulted in passage of disenfranchisement laws that excluded most blacks and many poor whites from voting. This sharply reduced competition in politics in the state until after passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-20th century.[13] In the 20th century, Tennessee transitioned from an agrarian economy to a more diversified economy, aided by massive federal investment in the Tennessee Valley Authority and, in the early 1940s, the city of Oak Ridge. This city was established to house the Manhattan Project's uranium enrichment facilities, helping to build the world's first atomic bombs, two of which were dropped on Imperial Japan near the end of World War II. After the war, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory became a key center for nuclear research. In 2016, the element tennessine was named for the state.[14]

Tennessee's major industries include agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. Poultry, soybeans, and cattle are the state's primary agricultural products,[15] and major manufacturing exports include chemicals, transportation equipment, and electrical equipment.[16] The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nation's most visited national park, is headquartered in the eastern part of the state, and a section of the Appalachian Trail roughly follows the Tennessee-North Carolina border.[17] Other major tourist attractions include the Tennessee Aquarium and Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel in Chattanooga; Dollywood in Pigeon Forge; Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies and Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg; the Parthenon, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville; the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg; Elvis Presley's Graceland residence and tomb, the Memphis Zoo, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; and Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol.


Monument near the old site of Tanasi in Monroe County

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 an American Indian village named "Tanasqui" in 1567 while traveling inland from South Carolina. In the early 18th century, British traders 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), and appears on maps as early as 1725. It is not known whether this was the same town as the one encountered by Juan Pardo, although recent research suggests that Pardo's "Tanasqui" was located at the confluence of the Pigeon River and the French Broad River, near modern Newport.[18]

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".[19][20] According to ethnographer James Mooney, the name "can not be analyzed" and its meaning is lost.[21]

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. The spelling was popularized by the publication of Henry Timberlake's "Draught of the Cherokee Country" in 1765. In 1788, North Carolina created "Tennessee County", the third county to be established in what is now Middle Tennessee. (Tennessee County was the predecessor to current-day Montgomery County and Robertson County.) When a constitutional convention met in 1796 to organize a new state out of the Southwest Territory, it adopted "Tennessee" as the name of the state.


Tennessee is known as The Volunteer State, a nickname some claimed was earned during the War of 1812 because of the prominent role played by volunteer soldiers from Tennessee, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.[22] Other sources differ on the origin of the state nickname; according to The Columbia Encyclopedia,[23] the name refers to volunteers for the Mexican–American War. This explanation is more likely, because President Polk's call for 2,600 nationwide volunteers at the beginning of the Mexican–American War resulted in 30,000 volunteers from Tennessee alone, largely in response to the death of Davy Crockett and appeals by former Tennessee Governor and then Texas politician, Sam Houston.[24]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Tennessee
አማርኛ: ቴነሲ
Ænglisc: Tennessee
العربية: تينيسي
aragonés: Tennessee
arpetan: Tennessee
asturianu: Tennessee
Avañe'ẽ: Tenesi
Aymar aru: Tennessee suyu
azərbaycanca: Tennessi
تۆرکجه: تنسی ایالتی
বাংলা: টেনেসী
Bân-lâm-gú: Tennessee
башҡортса: Теннесси
беларуская: Тэнесі
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Тэнэсі
भोजपुरी: टेनेसी
Bikol Central: Tennessee
Bislama: Tennessee
български: Тенеси
Boarisch: Tennessee
བོད་ཡིག: ཐེན་ནེ་སི།
bosanski: Tennessee
brezhoneg: Tennessee
буряад: Теннесси
català: Tennessee
Чӑвашла: Теннесси
Cebuano: Tennessee
čeština: Tennessee
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Tennessee
corsu: Tennessee
Cymraeg: Tennessee
dansk: Tennessee
davvisámegiella: Tennessee
Deutsch: Tennessee
eesti: Tennessee
Ελληνικά: Τενεσί
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Tennessee
español: Tennessee
Esperanto: Tenesio
euskara: Tennessee
فارسی: تنسی
Fiji Hindi: Tennessee
føroyskt: Tennessee
français: Tennessee
Frysk: Tennessee
Gaeilge: Tennessee
Gaelg: Tennessee
Gagauz: Tennessee
Gàidhlig: Tennessee
galego: Tennessee
گیلکی: تئنسی
ગુજરાતી: ટેનેસી
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐍄𐌰𐌹𐌽𐌰𐌹𐍃𐌴𐌹
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Tennessee
хальмг: Теннесси
한국어: 테네시주
Hausa: Tennessee
Hawaiʻi: Kenekī
հայերեն: Թենեսի
हिन्दी: टेनेसी
hrvatski: Tennessee
Igbo: Tennessee
Ilokano: Tennessee
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: টেনেসি
Bahasa Indonesia: Tennessee
interlingua: Tennessee
Interlingue: Tennessee
Iñupiak: Tennessee
íslenska: Tennessee
italiano: Tennessee
עברית: טנסי
Jawa: Tennessee
Kabɩyɛ: Tenesii
Kapampangan: Tennessee
ქართული: ტენესი
қазақша: Теннесси
kernowek: Tennessi
Kiswahili: Tennessee
Kreyòl ayisyen: Tenèsi
kurdî: Tennessee
кырык мары: Теннесси
Ladino: Tennessee
لۊری شومالی: تئنئسی
Latina: Tennesia
latviešu: Tenesī
Lëtzebuergesch: Tennessee
lietuvių: Tenesis
Ligure: Tennessee
Limburgs: Tennessee
Lingua Franca Nova: Tennessee
lumbaart: Tennessee
magyar: Tennessee
मैथिली: टेनेसी
македонски: Тенеси
Malagasy: Tennessee
മലയാളം: ടെന്നസി
Māori: Tennessee
मराठी: टेनेसी
მარგალური: ტენესი
مصرى: تينيسى
مازِرونی: تنسی
Bahasa Melayu: Tennessee
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Tennessee
монгол: Теннесси
မြန်မာဘာသာ: တင်နက်ဆီပြည်နယ်
Dorerin Naoero: Tennessee
Nederlands: Tennessee
Nedersaksies: Tennessee
नेपाली: टेनेसी
नेपाल भाषा: टेनिसी
日本語: テネシー州
Napulitano: Tennessee
нохчийн: Теннесси
Nordfriisk: Tennessee
norsk: Tennessee
norsk nynorsk: Tennessee
occitan: Tennessee
олык марий: Теннесси
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Tennessi
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਟੈਨੇਸੀ
पालि: टेनिसी
پنجابی: ٹینیسی
Papiamentu: Tennessee
پښتو: تینسي
ភាសាខ្មែរ: តេណេសស៊ី
Piemontèis: Tenessì
Plattdüütsch: Tennessee
polski: Tennessee
português: Tennessee
română: Tennessee
rumantsch: Tennessee
Runa Simi: Tennessee suyu
русский: Теннесси
саха тыла: Теннесси
Gagana Samoa: Tenesi
संस्कृतम्: टेनेसी
sardu: Tennessee
Scots: Tennessee
Seeltersk: Tennessee
shqip: Tennessee
sicilianu: Tennessee
Simple English: Tennessee
slovenčina: Tennessee
slovenščina: Tennessee
ślůnski: Tennessee
کوردی: تێنێسی
српски / srpski: Тенеси
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Tennessee
suomi: Tennessee
svenska: Tennessee
Tagalog: Tennessee
தமிழ்: டென்னிசி
Taqbaylit: Tennessee
татарча/tatarça: Теннесси
తెలుగు: టేనస్సీ
тоҷикӣ: Теннессӣ
Türkçe: Tennessee
українська: Теннессі
اردو: ٹینیسی
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: Ténnéssi Shitati
Tiếng Việt: Tennessee
Volapük: Tennessee
文言: 田納西州
West-Vlams: Tennessee
Winaray: Tennessee
ייִדיש: טענעסי
Yorùbá: Tennessee
粵語: 田納西州
Zazaki: Tennessee
Zeêuws: Tennessee
žemaitėška: Tenesis
中文: 田纳西州