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List of states
Capital: Nashville
State motto: Agriculture and Commerce
Official language : English
Surface: 109,151 km²
Residents: 6,651,194 (estimated in 2016) (58 U / km²)
Member since: June 1, 1796
Time zone: UTC − 5 / −4; Central: UTC − 6 / −5
The highest point: 2025 m ( Clingmans Dome )
Average Height: 275 m
Deepest point: 54 m Mississippi River
Governor : Bill Lee ( R )
Post  / Office /  ISO TN / / US TN
Map of Tennessee
Map of Tennessee
Tennessee geographic map
Tennessee geographic map

Tennessee ( English pronunciation  [ ˌtɛnəˈsiː ] ; Cherokee : ᏔᎾᏏ Ta-Na-Si ) is a federal state of the United States of America and one of the southern states . The name Tennessee comes from Tanasi , the name of an Indian settlement on the Little Tennessee River . One of Tennessee's nicknames is Volunteer State - "state of volunteers". It dates from the time of the British-American War , in which numerous Tennessee citizens fought for their country as volunteers . Please click to listen!Play

Tennessee is famous for the blues , the birth of rock 'n' roll ( Memphis ) and country music ( Nashville ), and for its whiskey ( Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel ).


Soapstone artifacts from the Archaic Period (around 8000–2000 BC), Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Townsend

Paleo-Indians settled what is now Tennessee 12,000 years ago . In addition to projectile points, the skeleton of a mastodon was found in Williamson County with cut marks typical of this earliest period.

The archaeological site Icehouse Bottom south of Fort Loudoun in Monroe County dates from the Archaic Period (approx. 8000–1000 BC) and dates back to around 7500 BC. Can be dated BC. Other sites from this period, but much younger, include Rose Island, just a few miles downstream from Icehouse Bottom, and the Eva site in Benton County . It is assigned to the Big Sandy culture and was between 2000 and 1000, possibly 500 BC. Inhabited.

One of the Pinson Mounds

From the Woodland period (1000 BC-1000 AD) the Pinson Mounds in Madison County and Old Stone Fort in Coffee County were excavated, both of which arose in the first half of the 1st millennium AD . The Pinson Mounds are among the largest mounds of the Middle Woodland Period in the southeastern United States. At least 12 mounds belong to this structure. The Old Stone Fort site is an extensive ceremonial site with an intricate access route. At the time it was located on a peninsula that was hardly accessible.

From the era of the Mississippi culture (around 1000-1600) come villages on most of the rivers in the state, including Chucalissa near Memphis, Mound Bottom in Cheatham County , the Shiloh Mounds in Hardin County and the Toqua site in Monroe County. Excavations at the McMahan Mound Site in Sevier County - there was a mound 73 m wide from around 1200 to 1500 - and at Townsend in Blount County - where archaeologists unearthed a village palisade from around 1200 - clarified this Picture of these mound builders in Tennessee.

From 1539 to 1543, the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto traversed the area east of the Mississippi River . It is disputed which tribes the archaeological remains of the 16th and 17th centuries can be assigned to. In the 18th century, only the Cherokee lived permanently in Tennessee. The Chickasaw Although controlled the west of the present-day state, but there is no evidence that they made there more than to hunt. The Shawnee and Creek briefly occupied some areas, but there are virtually no archaeological traces.

At the beginning of the colonization by European colonists, most of the indigenous people were displaced south and west, especially the Muskogee and Yuchi tribes . Until the state was established, the area was under the administration of North Carolina and was known as the Southwest Territory . The Southwest Territory was considered a lawless area for a very long time due to the failure of the North Carolina government to establish adequate administration.

From 1785 to 1788 the first attempt was made to found a state in the USA. The state of Franklin was founded in the east of what is now Tennessee . After five years of fighting with the North Carolina government and frequent Indian raids, the Greeneville government collapsed and the area returned to North Carolina control. On June 1, 1796, Tennessee joined the United States as the 16th state through Senate- approved charter. From 1838 to 1839 the remaining 17,000 or so Cherokee were deported to western Arkansas . This forced march, about 4,000 Indians came in which to death is known as Trail of Tears known (Trail of Tears).

On June 8, 1861, after a referendum that was successful in the second attempt, Tennessee was the last of the southern states to break away from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America on July 2 . In certain areas there was a clear majority of opponents of secessionism who, after the referendum at a meeting in Greeneville , decided that East Tennessee should remain in the United States without being able to assert themselves against Nashville. During the war, several battles took place on the soil of Tennessee, such as the Battle of Chattanooga , the Battle of Nashville and the Battle of Franklin. After the American Civil War , the state adopted a new constitution on February 22, 1865 , which abolished slavery , and ratified the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution on July 18, 1866. Tennessee became the first of the breakaway states to who rejoined the United States (July 24 of the same year).

In the 20th century, Tennessee experienced an enormous economic boom. In particular, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory made Tennessee an important industrial location in the USA. In the 1960s and 1970s, the state was the focus of the civil rights movement that fought against the racial segregation that was prevalent at the time . From the point of view of the fighters for equality, Tennessee was one of the most backward states. It wasn't until 1967 that the Supreme Court forced Tennessee to be one of the last states in the United States to lift the ban on mixed marriages . In 1975 the United States Supreme Court ruled Tennessee's law illegal that ordered the pseudoscience of Intelligent Design and the theory of evolution to be given an equal share of time in biology classes in Tennessee state schools.


Boundary sign on Interstate 65

Neighbore states

Tennessee is bounded to the north by the states of Kentucky and Virginia , to the east by North Carolina and to the south by Georgia , Alabama and Mississippi and to the west by Arkansas and Missouri . This makes Tennessee (together with Missouri, which also borders eight states) the US state with the largest number of neighboring states. The Tennessee River flows through the state .


Tennessee consists of three different major regions, both in terms of landscape and culture and economy, which also play a role in the administrative structure of the state in various places, the so-called "Grand Divisions" of East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee ( West Tennessee). While East Tennessee is dominated by the Appalachian Mountains , Central Tennessee has rolling hills and fertile river valleys, and the capital, Nashville , is located in Central Tennessee . West Tennessee, located between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi , already belongs geographically to the Gulf Coast Plain . Each of the three “divisions” covers approximately one third of the national territory.

The major regions are defined by state law, the Tennessee Code names the individual counties of each “division”. The regions are of legal importance, for example, if a certain proportional representation between them must be observed when filling judges (e.g. at the Tennessee Supreme Court ) or on boards of directors. The three “divisions” (also called the “three Tennessees”) are symbolically represented in the three stars of the state flag.


Population development
Census Residents ± in%
1790 35,691 -
1800 105.602 195.9%
1810 261,727 147.8%
1820 422.823 61.6%
1830 681.904 61.3%
1840 829.210 21.6%
1850 1,002,717 20.9%
1860 1,109,801 10.7%
1870 1,258,520 13.4%
1880 1,542,359 22.6%
1890 1,767,518 14.6%
1900 2,020,616 14.3%
1910 2,184,789 8.1%
1920 2,337,885 7%
1930 2,616,556 11.9%
1940 2,915,841 11.4%
1950 3,291,718 12.9%
1960 3,567,089 8.4%
1970 3,923,687 10%
1980 4,591,120 17%
1990 4,877,185 6.2%
2000 5,689,283 16.7%
2010 6.346.105 11.5%
Before 1900

1900-1990 2000

The United States Census Bureau estimated the population as of July 1, 2011 at 6,456,243 - an increase of 1.7 percent compared to the previous year, when the United States Census 2010 provided more accurate survey data. The center of Tennessee's population is in the city of Murfreesboro in Rutherford County .

20 percent of Tennessee's residents were (as of 2008) born outside of the southern states, in 1990 it was only 13.5 percent. People from the northern and western USA in particular moved to Tennessee, attracted primarily by the booming healthcare sector and the automotive industry, especially the North American headquarters of the Japanese automaker Nissan in Nashville, which at the time was one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions the United States was.

In the 2010 census, respondents stated the following origin (in the original: "racial", for example "racial"):

In that year, 4.6% of residents said they belonged to Hispanics or Latinos (regardless of skin color). In 2011, 36.3% of under-year-olds in the state belonged to one of the minorities defined as: Hispanic, African American, Asian American, Native American, or Native of Alaska or Hawaii.

In 2000, the five most frequently mentioned races were American (17.3%), African American (13.0%), Irish (9.3%), English (9.1%) and German (8.3%). Most of those who named "American" as their origin are of English or "Scottish-Irish" origin, although the latter can also include Calvinist emigrants from other parts of Europe. Another estimate is that approximately 21–24% of Tennessee residents are predominantly English. In the 1980 census, 45% of the population stated that the majority of them were of English descent.

Biggest cities

Kingsport (Tennessee) Hendersonville (Tennessee) Bartlett (Tennessee) Franklin (Tennessee) Johnson City (Tennessee) Jackson (Tennessee) Murfreesboro (Tennessee) Clarksville (Tennessee) Chattanooga (Tennessee) Knoxville (Tennessee) Nashville Memphis (Tennessee)
Population density in Tennessee with a focus on Memphis (west), Nashville (center) and Chattanooga / Knoxville (east)

The population of Tennessee is mainly concentrated in three corridors: on the one hand around Memphis in the west, on the other hand around Nashville in the center and the third along the Tennessee River with Chattanooga in the far south and Knoxville in the east of the state.


The most important religious communities in 2010:

1,483,356 Southern Baptist Convention , 375,693 United Methodist Church , 292,248 non-denominational Protestantism, 290,349 Churches of Christ members , over 230,000 Pentecostal movement , 222,343 Catholic Church

There are many other denominations, mainly Protestant ones.

Universities (selection)

Vanderbilt University , Kirkland Hall


Presidential election results
year republican Democrats
2016 60.72% 1,522,925 34.72% 870.695
2012 59.42% 1,462,330 39.04% 960.709
2008 56.85% 1,479,178 41.79% 1,087,437
2004 56.80% 1,384,375 42.53% 1,036,477
2000 51.15% 1,061,949 47.28% 981.720
1996 45.59% 863,530 48.00% 909.146
1992 42.43% 841,300 47.08% 933,521
1988 57.89% 947.233 41.55% 679.794
1984 57.84% 990.212 41.57% 711.714
1980 48.70% 787.761 48.41% 783.051
1976 42.94% 633.969 55.94% 825.879
1972 67.70% 813.147 29.75% 357.293
1968 37.85% 472,592 28.13% 351.233
1964 44.49% 508.965 55.50% 634.947
1960 52.92% 556,577 45.77% 481.453

Tennessee was the center of the black civil rights movement in the 1960s , which culminated in the 1968 assassination attempt on Martin Luther King in Memphis . The political landscape of Tennessee changed earlier than in the other southern states. Thanks to the Tennessee Valley Authority , earlier industrialization and thus a more modern social order was more possible than in Mississippi or Alabama, for example . The conservative Democrats of the southern states lost their position of power here already during the time of the civil rights movement. The establishment of the Republicans began with the 1952 presidential election . Since then, the Democrats have only won in 1964, 1976, and with Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Al Gore's home state , which is now largely influenced by the Bible Belt , is considered predominantly conservative. It can therefore now be referred to as the Red State . In the Electoral College Tennessee provides eleven electors. In 1980 there were ten.

In the US Senate , the state is represented by the two Republicans Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander . The Tennessee delegation to the 116th Congress House of Representatives consists of seven Republicans and two Democrats. Governor has been Republican Bill Lee since January 2019 , who replaced his fellow party member Bill Haslam .


Tennessee General Assembly

The Tennessee General Assembly consists of:


death penalty

There have been at least seven executions in Tennessee since 1976, the last being in December 2019. As of January 2016, 73 people sentenced to death were incarcerated. Governor Bill Haslam is a proponent of the death penalty . After delivery bottlenecks in drug cocktail for lethal injection has come (the currently used in Tennessee Execution), signed Haslam on 22 May 2014, a law that the electric chair explained again to the primary method for the case that the execution by lethal injection due a lack of medication cannot be enforced.

Culture and sights


National park location view
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • North Carolina , Tennessee
  • 9,008,830 visitors (2011)
  • founded June 15, 1934
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
United States map
Great Smoky Mountains Overlook.JPG


The state of Tennessee is home to teams in three of the major sports leagues. The Tennessee Titans ( National Football League ) play their home games at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. In the Bridgestone Arena playing NHL - Hockey Team of the Nashville Predators . The NBA - Basketball team the Memphis Grizzlies is FedExForum at home.

Economy and Infrastructure

The real gross domestic product per capita (per capita real GDP) was USD 49,430 in 2016 (national average of the 50 US states: USD 57,118; national ranking: 35). The unemployment rate was 3.1% in November 2017 (national average: 4.1%).

Decisive economic impulses came from the Tennessee Valley Authority , which led to the expansion of electricity generation, infrastructure and industrialization.

The main industries are

  • Chemical industry
  • Mechanical and automotive engineering
  • Textile industry
  • Timber industry
  • Cultivation of tobacco, cotton, soybeans, corn
  • forestry
  • Mining (coal, pyrite, zinc ore, phosphate)
  • Tourism (especially Great Smoky Mountains National Park )


Well-known companies based in Tennessee include the freight service provider FedEx and the paper manufacturer International Paper , which are also based in Memphis, as is the second largest after-sales auto parts supplier AutoZone with 1200 employees at its headquarters. The cinema chain Regal Entertainment Group is based in Knoxville, and the chemical company Eastman Chemical , which has been spun off from Kodak, is based in Kingsport. Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar is represented in Nashville with its finance division, insurance company Unum with its headquarters in Chattanooga and Japanese automaker Nissan with its North American headquarters in Franklin . In 2008, Volkswagen also opened an assembly plant in the state in which the VW Passat is produced. The two whiskey manufacturers Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel , whose distilleries are located in Tennessee, are also internationally known .



The Hernando de Soto Bridge spans the Mississippi in Memphis.

The Interstate 40 , which of Barstow (California) to Wilmington (North Carolina) leads, crosses the state in east-west direction, connecting the metropolitan Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville. These highways cross smaller interstates: I 240 in Memphis, I-440 in Nashville, I-140 from Knoxville to Alcoa and I-640 in Knoxville.

I-24 is an east-west connection within the state and runs from Chattanooga to Clarksville. I-26 runs from Kingsport (Tennessee) in a southeast direction to Charleston (South Carolina) , but initially serves as a north-south crossing in Tennessee. Interstate 22 is a project that is still being planned or under construction to connect Memphis with Birmingham, Alabama .

In north-south direction, Interstates 55 (from Chicago to LaPlace (Louisiana) , in Tennessee along the Mississippi near Memphis), 65 (from Gary (Indiana) to Mobile (Alabama) , in Tennessee near Nashville), 75 (from Miami to the Canadian border in the state of Michigan , in Tennessee as a connection from Chattanooga to Knoxville) and 81 , which starts on I-40 near Dandridge (Tennessee) and leads in a northeast direction to the Canadian border in the state of New York . I-155 is an offshoot from Missouri that ends north of Memphis, while I-275 is an offshoot of I-75 in Knoxville. I-75 in Tennessee is officially named Albert Arnold Gore Sr. Memorial Highway after the Democratic politician .


Memphis and Newbern are served by the Amtrak City of New Orleans train , which runs from Chicago to New Orleans .

air traffic

The two airports with international connections are Nashville International Airport and Memphis International Airport . In national air traffic, the McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport , the Tri-Cities Regional Airport in the extreme northeast of the state and the McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport in Jackson are also important. Memphis Airport serves as the aviation hub for FedEx and is the world's largest cargo airport (as of 2012).


Major waterways are the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers.


Tennessee is the namesake of the radioactive chemical element Tenness , which was first produced artificially in 2010 and was named after this state in June 2016.

Web links

Commons : Tennessee  - collection of pictures, videos, and audio files
Wikivoyage: Tennessee  Travel Guide
Wiktionary: Tennessee  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Archeology and the Native Peoples of Tennessee ( Memento July 2, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), Frank H. McClung Museum, University of Tennessee, permanent exhibition.
  2. Jay Franklin: Archaic Period , in: The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture , 2002.
  3. Robert Main Fort, Mary Kwas: Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park , in: The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture ., 2002
  4. ^ Charles Faulkner: Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park , in: The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture , 2002.
  5. Gerald Schroedl: Mississippian Culture , in: The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture , 2002.
  6. ^ Iva Butler: Archaeologists Pack Up Townsend Dig , in: The Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times , February 17, 2001.
  7. Carter (III), Samuel (1976). Cherokee sunset: A nation betrayed: a narrative of travail and triumph, persecution and exile. New York: Doubleday, 232.
  8. James B. Jones, Jr: Tennessee in the Civil War: Selected Contemporary Accounts of Military and Other Events, Month by Month. McFarland, Jefferson 2014, ISBN 978-0-7864-6129-5 , p. 4.
  9. Intelligent Design Judgment
  10. ^ Table of Contents . In: Tennessee Code Unannotated: Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 2 (Grand Divisions and State Capital) .
  11. ^ US Census Bureau _ Census of Population and Housing . Retrieved February 28, 2011
  12. Extract from Census.gov . Retrieved February 28, 2011
  13. Excerpt from factfinder.census.gov.Retrieved February 28, 2011
  14. Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012 ( CSV ) In: 2012 Population Estimates . United States Census Bureau , Population Division. December 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
  15. ^ Population and Population Centers by State: 2000 . United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
  16. COREY DADE: Tennessee Resists Obama Wave . In: Wall Street Journal , November 22, 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  17. Tennessee Quick Facts from the US Census Bureau . Quickfacts.census.gov. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  18. ^ Rich Exner: Americans under age 1 now mostly minorities, but not in Ohio: Statistical Snapshot . In: The Plain Dealer , June 3, 2012. 
  19. Angela Brittingham, G. Patricia de la Cruz: Ancestry: 2000 (PDF; 480 kB) US Census Bureau. June 2004. C2KBR-35. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  20. David Hackett Fischer : Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America . Oxford University Press, New York 1989, ISBN 0-19-503794-4 , pp. 633-639.
  21. Dominic J. Pulera: Sharing the Dream: White Males in a Multicultural America . Continuum, New York 2004, ISBN 0-8264-1643-8 , p. 57.
  22. Ancestry of the Population by State: 1980 - Table 3 (PDF; 1.8 MB). Accessed December 9, 2011.
  23. thearda.com
  24. www.270towin.com
  25. Süddeutsche Zeitung: Tennessee introduces electric chair from May 23, 2014
  26. ^ US Department of Commerce, BEA, Bureau of Economic Analysis: Bureau of Economic Analysis. Retrieved August 27, 2017 (American English).
  27. ^ Unemployment Rates for States. Retrieved January 17, 2018 .
  28. www.autozoneinc.com: Support Center , accessed October 27, 2013.

Coordinates: 35 ° 50 ′  N , 86 ° 22 ′  W