Tennessee (abbr.: TN or Tenn.), state of the United States of America, 109,412 km2, with 4.9 million inhabitants; Capital: Nashville.
Tennessee consists of six different areas, the first three of which belong to East Tennessee: 1. The eastern mountain region along the eastern border, mainly formed by the Unaka and Great Smoky Mountains (part of the Appalachians), consists mainly of granite. The ‘Smokies’ are largely located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Clingmans Dome, 2025 m, highest point in the state). 2. The 50 to 100 km wide valley of the southwest flowing Upper Tennessee and its tributaries. 3. In the west, the valley changes abruptly into the approximately 350 m higher Cumberland Plateau, also part of the Appalachians. 4. To the west this plateau merges into a lower, almost flat area, the Highland Rim, which occupies much of central Tennessee. 5. The Highland Rim saves approx. 125 m deep elliptical lowland plain, the Nashville Basin, one of the state’s most fertile agricultural areas (“Garden of Tennessee”). 6. West Tennessee consists of an undulating plain that spans the area between the Tennessee (which re-enters the state here and bisects the state from south to north) and the Mississippi, and from which extends at the edge of the Mississippi Valley a loess range of hills, the so-called Bluffs, exalted. The Mississippi (which forms the border with Missouri and Arkansas) has created numerous dead arms (bayou’s) and swamps here. There are no significant natural lakes, but a large number of reservoirs, such as Watts Barlake, Chickamauga Lake and Kentucky Lake in the Tennessee River, and Lake Barkley, Old Hickory Lake and Dale Hollow Lake in the Cumberland River in the north of the state.
The average population density is 45 inhabitants. per km2. Approximately 61% of the population lives in urban areas. The largest cities are: Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. See top cities in Tennessee.
The vast majority of the workforce works in industry. The main other occupational categories are services, retail and agriculture (still in first place in 1940). The main crops grown are cotton, tobacco, grains and soybeans; further to potatoes, vegetables and fruit; livestock accounts for about 50% of agricultural income and includes sheep, cattle and pigs. The forest area comprises about 40% of the total area of the state. Sawwood is the main product. The main mineral is coal. Tennessee is the country’s first producer of clay, zinc, and pyrite. Other minerals include phosphate, copper, marble, mica and cement. The manufacture of chemical products (including plastics) is the main industry.
Most visitors flock to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for its scenic beauty, and the cities of Nashville and Memphis for its music. The state has a large number of natural caves. Historical monuments mainly remind of the Civil War.
Tennessee was originally home to the Cherokee and Shawnee. It is assumed that Hernan(do) de Soto was the first European to explore the area in 1541, but substantial exploration did not take place until the end of the 17th century by the French, who descended the Mississippi (including La Salle) and the English, who came east. The entire area fell to the English at the end of the Seven Years’ War (1763). In 1769, the first permanent settlement was founded, from Virginia. In 1784, settlers in eastern Tennessee formed the state of Franklin, which existed until 1789. In 1790 the whole area was organized as a territory, in 1796 as a Union state (Tennessee was the 16th state to accede). West Tennessee developed into a quintessential southern cotton area with slavery, the mountainous east to a land of small farmers. Politically, this led to a sharp contradiction, which became apparent when the American Civil War broke out. The west stood behind the secession, the east fought on the side of the Union under the leadership of the future President A. Johnson.
Next to Virginia, Tennessee was the area where the fighting was most intense (Battles of Shiloh, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Nashville). After the war, Tennessee escaped occupation by the North because it immediately signed the 14th Amendment. The fact that there was later resistance to the North can be deduced from the fact that Tennessee, like the other Southern states, showed a close connection with the Democratic party (with the exception of the mountain people) and at the end of the 19th century the segregation measures against the Negroes. The generally poor and backward area experienced a major boom with the Tennessee Valley Authority (1933), which was created as part of the New Deal. Politically, the state also emerged from its rigidity;
The moderation of the state was confirmed in the calm way in which the integration of the schools was generally accepted after the Supreme Court decision in 1954. Important to the revival of Tennessee was the cultural impetus emanating from the capital Nashville and the Vanderbilt University has been located there since 1873. An important group of poets, the Fugitives, manifested themselves here in the 1920s. In their classic work I’ll take my stand (1930) they preached an agrarian idealism with a conservative tint, but their performance represented a powerful renewal that made itself felt throughout the South. During this same period, Nashville developed as a center for country-and-western music.
Tennessee National Parks
Badlands National Park
In 1978 this area was declared a national park, because it has beautiful gorges, small hills and countless gullies. The name Badlands was coined by the Indians and trappers because that’s what they called the dry deep gorges in the highlands of South Dakota. The area has become famous for the discovery of fossils of animals from prehistoric times. Today, the bison is back grazing in Badlands National Park after a long absence. Some other animals that occur are the prairie dog, deer, eagles and hawks. In the summer you have to watch out for the prairie rattlesnake, because this snake is poisonous. The park entrance can be found at the Cedar Pass Visitor Center.
Wind Cave National Park
This park can be found on the southern side of the Black Hills. The park was established in 1903 and takes its name from caves through which a lot of air is pushed by the change in atmospheric pressure. Now and then you can hear a real wind blowing through the cave with a whistling sound. The rest of the park consists of mixed grasses, various wild flower species and a quarter of the park consists of pine forests. Summers are very hot in the park and temperatures can reach up to 35 degrees Celsius during the day and winters are exceptionally harsh. The park is accessible through the town of Hot Springs in the south and through an entrance in the east. You can spend the night at the campsites in the park or in the town of Hot Springs, which also has restaurants.