Tennessee is a state in the US famous for many reasons. Found towards the South, this US state is the heart of some truly fascinating music history and is home to some of the most curious tourist attractions across the region.
Sandwiched between Kentucky and Mississippi, Tennessee is likely to appeal to anyone who wants to explore the fun side of the South. But how much do you actually know about the state? It’s time to clue up with these 20 interesting facts about Tennessee.
- One of Tennessee’s nicknames is the Volunteer State. That’s as a result of soldiers from the state performing particularly well during the Battle of New Orleans in the early 1800s.
- Shelby County, Tennessee, is particularly interesting if you love horses. The area has more equines per capita than anywhere else in the whole of the US.
- Tennessee is home to Memphis and the private home of Graceland, both of which have strong links to Elvis Presley, still regarded as the King of Rock and Roll, and the most successful recording artist in pop music history.
- Graceland remains the second-most popular private home estate in the US, at least based on yearly visits and tourist interest.
- The name Tennessee is thought to come from Spanish adventurer Juan Pardo, who derived it from a village of Native Americans in the region called Tanasqui. Therefore, the name is about as traditional as you can get!
- However, other sources suggest that the name comes from a Yuchi word which translates into ‘The Meeting Place’. Perhaps there is truth in both origin stories – you never know!
- There are around 95 counties spread across the state.
- Nashville is a name that might be familiar to many music fans. That’s because it is regarded as the capital of country music, and actually carries the nickname ‘Music City’. You’ll also find Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s own branded tourist attraction, out in Tennessee.
- Many famous people hail from Tennessee – Dolly Parton included – actors Morgan Freeman and Megan Fox, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, and singer-turned-actor Justin Timberlake hail from the state.
- Funnily enough, while Graceland has a home in Tennessee, Elvis was actually born in Mississippi. However, don’t go saying that to any Tennessee natives!
- Tennessee is home to the most popular national park in the whole of the USA – the Great Smoky Mountains park is visited more than any other location of its kind countrywide. The mountains are truly beautiful – it’s not hard to see why they are so popular.
- Tennessee boasts eight bordering states, a record that’s only matched with Missouri. Therefore, it’s a great launchpad for exploring much of the central and Southern US on road trips.
- Tennessee was the birthplace of the atomic bomb. Specifically, Oak Ridge, still referred to as the world’s energy capital, remains a hub for research.
- A monument in Greeneville is unique in that it celebrates soldiers who took part in the Civil War from both sides – both Union and Confederate servicepeople are honored here.
- Speaking of the Civil War, Tennessee was actually the last state to break free from the Union to start the conflict. Interestingly enough, it was also the first to find its way back into the Union at the fall of the Confederacy. It seems Tennessee was keen to try and keep the peace – or at least to find a balance.
- The largest city in Tennessee is Memphis, at least in terms of population, with recent figures claiming there to be more than 640,000 residents.
- The vast majority of people living in Tennessee are white nationals, however, it has a growing black population with around 17% citizens being African Americans.
- Tennessee imports a vast array of crops; however, the majority of its agriculture comes from the harvesting of soybeans. Beyond this, the state is also well-loved for its tobacco exports.
- Tennessee actually provided more soldiers to inter-state wars than any other territory. This, at least, goes some way to further explain its Volunteer State nickname.
- Many people in Tennessee refer to themselves as Butternuts. This dates back to the colors of the state’s Civil War uniforms.
Do you know any fun facts about Tennessee? Share them in the comments below!
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