- Tennessee is complex, historical and interesting! The Volunteer State is an awesome experience composed of stunning scenery, rich history, compelling music, delicious food and friendly folks.
- The TN Bicentennial stamp was issued in 1996 by the U.S.Postal Service to commemorate two centuries of statehood. A statue of President Andrew Jackson is silhouetted against the east side of the State Capitol at night. The State Capitol was built before the Civil War. The Governor's office is on the first floor, the General Assembly meets on the second floor, typically from January until mid-spring. The Capitol is open for tours. (View an antique postcard of the Capitol).
- Ten thousand years ago, Tennessee was inhabited by Native American people of various tribes.
The first white man known to have come to Tennessee was the Spanish explorer Hernando de
Soto in 1540. Sometime after de Soto's explorations, the native population diminished and the
area was largely used as a hunting ground by the Choctaw, Cherokee, Shawnee and
- The first permanent white settler was William Bean, who in 1769, built a cabin on
the Watauga River in northeast Tennessee. The first constitution ever written by white men in
America was drafted in 1772 by the Watauga Association at Sycamore Shoals near
Elizabethton, Tennessee. It was patterned after the constitution of the Iroquois League of
Nations, a "federal" system of government developed 200 years earlier for five eastern Native
- There are two official flowers for the state of Tennessee, the Iris and the Passion Flower. While there are several different colors among the iris, and the act naming the iris as the state flower did not name a particular color, by common acceptance the purple iris is considered the state flower.
- The passion flower, genus Passiflora, which grows wild in the southern part of the
United States and in South America, is also commonly known as the maypop, the
wild apricot and the ocoee. The last is the Indian name that has also been applied to
the Ocoee River and valley. The Indians prized the ocoee as the most abundant and
beautiful of all their flowers.
The passion flower received its name from the early Christian missionaries to South America, who saw in the various parts of the curiously constructed flower symbols of the Crucifixion -- the three crosses, the crown of thorns, nails and cords.
- The passion flower, genus Passiflora, which grows wild in the southern part of the United States and in South America, is also commonly known as the maypop, the wild apricot and the ocoee. The last is the Indian name that has also been applied to the Ocoee River and valley. The Indians prized the ocoee as the most abundant and beautiful of all their flowers.
- Tennessee has had several nicknames, but the most popular is "The Volunteer
State". The nickname originated during the War of 1812, in which the volunteer
soldiers from Tennessee, serving under Gen. Andrew Jackson, displayed marked
valor in the Battle of New Orleans.
- Other nicknames include the Big Bend State, which refers to the Indian name of the Tennessee River; "The River with the Big Bend"; also nicknamed "The Mother of Southwestern Statesmen," because Tennessee furnished the United States with three presidents and a number of other leaders who served with distinction in high government office.
- In 1829 Andrew Jackson was the first president from Tennessee.
- In 1845 James K. Polk was the second president from Tennessee.
- In 1865 Andrew Johnson was the third president from Tennessee.
- Tennessee was at first part of North Carolina, and then was known briefly as the
State of Franklin. It later became part of the "U.S. Territory South of the River
Ohio," and finally was admitted to the Union as the State of Tennessee--the
16th state--on June 1, 1796, and ranks 17th in population compared to other states.
- The state flag was designed by LeRoy Reeves of the Third Regiment, Tennessee
Infantry, who made the following explanation of his design:
- The three stars are of pure white, representing the three different land forms in Tennessee. Mountains in the east, highlands in the middle and lowlands in the west.
- They are bound together by the endless circle of the blue field, the symbol being three bound together in one -- an indissoluble trinity. The large field is crimson. The final blue bar relieves the sameness of the crimson field and prevents the flag from showing too much crimson when hanging limp. The white edgings contrast more strongly the other colors.
- Those familiar with Tennessee's geography and politics have no trouble identifying the meaning of the three stars. Culturally and geologically, East, Middle, and West Tennessee are as different as any three states could be. Yet non-Tennesseans are often confused about the symbolism of the tri-star flag.