• Population- 5,689,283
  • Capital- Nashville
  • Largest cities– Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville
  • Time zone- east Tennessee is Eastern and middle/west is Central
  • Date of Admission to the Union- June 1, 1796
  • Slogan- “The stage is set for you”
  • State website URL- www.tennessee.gov

Tennessee is geographically located in the East South Central region of the United States. West Tennessee, defined by the Mississippi River and Tennessee River, the rolling hills and streams of Middle Tennessee, and the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, make for three geographically diverse regions in a state only 440 miles across.

The Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto is the first European explorer known to the region (1540). France ceded control of Louisiana at the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763--an area that extended west to the Mississippi and included present-day Tennessee. Tennessee became the 16 th state of the nation 20 years after the American Revolution on June 1, 1796. Andrew Jackson served as its first congressman.

From 1838-39, some 17,000 Cherokees were displaced and forced to march to Indian Territory west of Arkansas. The march westward is known as the “Trail of Tears” for the 4,000 Cherokee lives that perished during this epoch. Two decades later Tennessee would be the grounds for many of the Civil War’s biggest battles: Fort Donelson, Shilo, Stones River, Chattanooga, Franklin and Nashville. Visitors can walk the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail or visit one of the many historic Civil War battlefield and cemetery sites.

Important economic industries include textiles, cotton, cattle and electrical power. Yet, Tennessee is more popularly known as the home of Graceland (the 14-acre Elvis estate), storied Beale Street in Memphis, officially declared “Home of the Blues” in 1977, the state’s claim to country, blues and bluegrass music legends (B.B. King, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton), and Nashville’s the Grand Ole Opry (Howdy!!) and Country Music Hall of Fame.