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Tennessee ( (listen), locally ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is the 36th largest by area and the 16th most populous of the 50 states. It 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. Tennessee is geographically, culturally, and legally divided into East, Middle, and West Tennessee. Nashville is the state's capital and largest city, and anchors the state's largest metropolitan area. Shelby County is its most populous administrative division, and contains its second-largest city, Memphis. The state's population as of the 2020 United States census is approximately 6.9 million.

Tennessee has diverse terrain and landforms, and from east to west, contains a mix of topographic features characteristic of Appalachia, the Upland South, and the Deep South. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, which manifest into three distinct subregions—the Blue Ridge Mountains along the state's eastern border, which reach elevations above 6,000 feet (1,800 m) above sea level; the Ridge-and-Valley province, characterized by paralleling ridges and valleys in between; and the Cumberland Plateau, with long, flat prominences separated by deep valleys and gorges. Cavernous limestone bedrock, grassy plains, and steep and irregular rolling hills define the Highland Rim and Central Basin in the middle of the state, and the western part consists mostly of level sedimentary plains and swamplands of the Mississippi embayment. The state is twice bisected by the Tennessee River, and the Mississippi River forms its western border.

Tennessee is rooted in the Watauga Association, a 1772 frontier pact generally regarded as the first constitutional government west of the Appalachians. The state's name is derived from "Tanasi", a Cherokee town in the eastern part of the state that existed before the first European American settlement. 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. It earned the nickname "The Volunteer State" during the War of 1812, when many Tennesseans stepped in to help with the war effort. A slave state until the American Civil War, Tennessee was politically divided, with its western and middle parts supporting the Confederacy and the eastern parts harboring pro-Union sentiment. As a result, Tennessee was the last state to formally join the Confederacy and the first readmitted to the Union after the war. After Reconstruction, a Democratic takeover of the state's legislature in the late 1880s resulted in passage of disenfranchisement laws that excluded most blacks and many poor whites from voting, which existed until the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century.

During the 20th century, Tennessee transitioned from a predominantly agrarian economy to a more diversified one. This was aided in part by massive federal investment in the Tennessee Valley Authority and the city of Oak Ridge, which was established just outside of Knoxville to house the Manhattan Project's uranium enrichment facilities. This facility was used to help construct 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 of scientific research. In 2016, the element tennessine was named for the state, largely in recognition of the roles played by Oak Ridge, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Tennessee in its discovery. The state has also played a major role in the development of many forms of popular music, including country, blues, rock and roll, soul, and gospel.

Today, Tennessee's economy is dominated by the health care, music, automotive, chemical, electronics, banking, processed foods, and tourism industries. Cattle, soybeans, corn, poultry, and cotton are its primary agricultural products. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nation's most visited national park, is in eastern Tennessee, and a section of the Appalachian Trail roughly follows the Tennessee–North Carolina border. 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.

Tennessee community action[edit | edit source]

Community energy[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia: Solar power in Tennessee

Cycling activism[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia: Midnight Classic: an annual non-competitive bike ride in Memphis, Tennessee. The 17 miles (27 km) ride begins at midnight and travels through Overton Park, East Memphis, Midtown and Central Gardens. Currently in its 15th year, the race is the largest cycling tour in the Memphis area. More than 2,000 people attended the 2013 race, which took place on August 24th, 2013.

Education for sustainability[edit | edit source]

Sequatchie Valley Institute, see also Sequatchie Valley Institute cobb houses

Food activism[edit | edit source]

CAC Beardsley Community Farm, urban demonstration site promoting food security and sustainable urban agriculture through practice, education, and community outreach since 1998

Sustainable transport activism[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia: Hiking trails in Tennessee (category)

Resources[edit | edit source]

Citizens data initiative[edit | edit source]

Energy Profile for Tennessee

News and comment[edit | edit source]


The original heart of Memphis, Feb 17 [1]

Nashville Teens Mapped Their Daily Routes—And Got a New Bike Lane as a Result, Jan 12 [2]


As Primary Goal, Two Decades Old Community Farm in Tennessee Teaches People to Grow Food Sustainably, Nov 15 [3]

In former ‘Dirtiest City in America,’ clean transportation is thriving, Jul 11 [4]


External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]