When it comes to the United States, there is an endless amount of fascinating information on the magical and unique state of Tennessee.
Not only is it one of the older states in America with a rich and interesting history, it’s also a state that’s full of cultural diversity, economic abundance, and full of breathtaking national parks and natural areas that entice tourists and visitors from all around the world.
In the sections below, we’ve outlined over 100 of the most interesting facts relating to this great state in an accessible, bite-sized list so that you can be ready for your next vacation or relocation, or simply become more endowed with the most essential Tennessee knowledge.
Table Of Contents:
- Tennessee Quick Facts
- Tennessee History Facts
- Tennessee Geographic Facts
- Tennessee Weather Facts
- Tennessee Wildlife Facts
- Tennessee Country Music Facts
- Tennessee Random/Weird Facts
Tennessee Quick Facts
|Nickname:||The Volunteer State|
|Statehood:||June 1, 1796|
|State Population:||7,051,339 (2022)|
|State Motto:||“Agriculture and Commerce”|
|State Slogan:||“Tennessee - America at Its Best!”|
|Current Governor:||Bill Lee|
|State Rank by Population:||15th|
|State Rank by Size:||36th|
|Number of Counties:||95|
|State Fish:||Smallmouth Bass|
|State Reptile:||Eastern Box Turtle|
|State Tree:||Tulip Poplar|
|State Butterfly:||Zebra Swallowtail|
|State Gem:||Tennessee River Pearl|
|State Fossil:||Pterotrigonia (Scalloped Hammer)|
|State Horse:||Tennessee Walking Horse|
|State Songs:||“The Tennessee Waltz” and “Rocky Top”|
|State Dance:||Square dance|
Tennessee History Facts
1. While there were likely many others for over 10,000 years and there is evidence of indigenous settlement dating back to around 1200, the first named inhabitants of the region we now know as Tennessee were the Yuchi people who gave the state its name – “Tanasi” most likely the Yuchi word for the Tennessee River.
2. The first European expedition to Tennessee was led by Spanish conquistador, Hernando DeSoto in 1540.
3. Later on, other tribes such as the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Creek began to inhabit Tennessee in the early 18th Century, as well as French traders.
4. The first permanent European settlement of Tennesse was a small village of English settlers which eventually became Johnson City.
5. While Tennessee officially became a state in 1776, it took on many geographical forms, its land partially annexed by North Carolina and the Southwest Territory, and part of its land becoming the now non-existent State of Franklin.
6. Tennessee has many historical ties to the American Revolution. Under British rule, colonists were not allowed to travel beyond the Appalachian Mountains which prompted several battles including The Battle of Long Island Flats.
7. Tennessee became a member of the Confederate States of America (CSA) in June 1861.
8. By 1862, after several important battles within Tennessee including the Battle of Shiloh and the Battle of Stones River, the Union Army successfully occupied a majority of the state, while struggling to hold the eastern part of the state.
9. In 1865, Tennessee became the first state to leave the Confederacy and officially rejoin the Union.
10. Three presidents were from Tennessee — Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson.
11. As Tennessee entered the Industrial Revolution, the state became known for being a powerhouse in the industries of agriculture — particularly tobacco, manufacturing, and eventually education and entertainment.
12. Tennessee is known as “The Volunteer State” due to the number of military veterans it produces.
13. Over 300,000 Tennesseans enlisted to serve in WWII.
14. Over 49,000 Tennesseans volunteered to serve in the Vietnam War.
15. Over 167,000 Tennesseans volunteered to serve in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.
16. Tennessee played an unparalleled role in the Civil Rights Movement. Several famous civil rights leaders organized in Tennesse, most famously Kelly Miller Smith and James Lawson.
17. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, TN at the Loraine Hotel where The Memphis Civil Rights Museum now operates.
18. Tennessee, particularly Nashville and Memphis, are known for their historic role in music history. Several iconic music pioneers were from Tennessee including Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, and Tina Turner.
19. There were several well-known inventions developed in Tennessee including the touchscreen, the atomic bomb, cotton candy, and the tow truck.
Tennessee Geographic Facts
20. Tennessee occupies approximately 42,144 square miles.
21. Tennessee is bordered by eight states — Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Missouri.
22. Tennessee is the 36th largest state in terms of land mass.
23. Tennessee is considered to have three individual regions — East Tennessee, West Tennessee, and Middle Tennessee.
24. The Mississippi River, the United States' longest river, borders Tennessee to the west.
25. Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the state at an elevation of 6,643 feet.
26. There are over 60,417 miles of streams, rivers, and creeks in the State of Tennessee.
27. The largest lake by area in Tennessee is Kentucky Lake at approximately 160,309 acres. It is also the 25th largest lake in the United States.
28. There are 56 State Parks in Tennessee.
29. There are 13 National Parks in Tennessee, including Great Smokey Mountains National Park, the most popular National Park in the United States.
30. There are six major mountain ranges in Tennessee — the Bald Mountains, the Great Smokey Mountains, the Stone Mountains, the Holston Mountains, the Unaka Mountains, and the Unicoi Mountains.
31. There are 1,799 named mountains in Tennessee.
32. There are 95 counties in Tennessee.
33. The largest county in Tennessee by area is Shelby County at over 763 square miles.
34. The largest city in Tennessee by area is Nashville at over 526 square miles.
35. The average elevation in Tennessee is 982 feet.
Tennessee Weather Facts
36. The average temperature in Tennessee is 56.45 degrees Fahrenheit.
37. The average high temp in Tennessee is 69.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
38. The average low temperature in Tennessee is 43.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
39. Tennessee gets an average of 42.73 inches of rain per year.
40. Tennessee gets an average of 9 inches of snow per year.
41. The hottest month on average in Tennessee is July with an average high temperature of 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
42. The coldest month on average in Tennessee is January with an average low temperature of 24 degrees Fahrenheit.
43. There are an average of 207 sunny days in Tennessee per year.
44. There is an average of 116 days per year of precipitation in Tennessee.
45. The average UV index in Tennessee is 4.6.
46. Tennessee has an average of 0.5 days below freezing per year.
47. The most humid month in Tennessee is July with an average of 68.6% humidity.
48. The least humid month on average in Tennessee is January with an average of 29.1% humidity on average.
49. The average amount of time snow will stay on the ground in Tennessee is two days annually.
50. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Tennessee was 113 degrees Fahrenheit on August 9th, 1930.
51. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Tennessee was -32 degrees Fahrenheit on December 30th, 1917.
52. The hottest location on average in Tennessee is Memphis with an average annual temperature of 62.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
53. The coldest location on average in Tennessee is Mountain City with an average annual temperature of 52.1 degrees Fahrenheit.
54. On average, Tennessee has a growing season of 190 days.
55. Tennessee gets an average of 31 tornadoes per year.
Tennessee Wildlife Facts
56. Over 70 different species of mammals are native to Tennessee, including the American black bear, the American beaver, bobcats, and coyotes.
57. There are nearly 70 species of reptiles native to Tennessee including alligators, lizards, and turtles.
58. There are 21 known species of amphibians native to Tennessee including the Eastern spadefoot, the American toad, and the Northern cricket frog.
59. One of the most diverse native populations of fish make their home in Tennessee — over 300 species. Common among these are catfish, walleye, and trout.
60. Tennessee is home to over 400 bird species. Commonly seen are the house finch, Carolina wrens, and the tufted titmouse.
61. There are over 1,200 species of insects that make their home in Tennessee. Among these are camel crickets, carpenter bees, and the common ladybug.
62. There are 38 species of trees native to Tennesee including the American beech, river birch, and white ash.
63. There are over 40 endangered species according to the International Universities Climate Alliance, including the gray bat, the spruce-fir moss spider, and the Allegheny woodrat.
64. There are 543 endangered plants native to Tennessee listed by the Tennessee Natural Heritage Inventory Program. These include piratebush, blue-lobed grapefern, and Northern shorthusk.
65. The largest animal in Tennessee is the American black bear. The average weight of an adult male American black bear can reach over 600 lbs.
66. The smallest mammal in Tennessee is the American pygmy shrew with an average weight of .14 oz.
67. The fastest animal in Tennessee is the peregrine falcon which can travel over 240 miles per hour.
68. There are four venomous snakes native to Tennessee — the copperhead, the timber rattlesnake, the cottonmouth, and the pygmy rattlesnake.
69. The most deadly of these is the timber rattlesnake with roughly 18 total confirmed deaths in the United States.
70. There are five poisonous spider species native to Tennessee. These include the black widow, false black widow, brown recluse, brown spider, and the black-footed yellow sac spider.
Tennessee Country Music Facts
71. Tennessee is widely considered to be the worldwide home of country music. Nearly every country artist in history has recorded or performed in Tennessee.
72. More specifically, Bristol, Tennessee got its moniker “The Birthplace of Country Music” due to a legendary 1927 recording session called “The Bristol Sessions.” These sessions are also referred to as “The Big Bang of Country Music.”
73. The largest fiddlers’ convention in the world is also held in Bristol, Tennessee.
74. The International Rock-A-Billy Museum is located in Jackson, Tennessee.
75. Nashville, Tennessee has a higher concentration of music industry establishments than anywhere else in the country, which earned its nickname “Music City.
76. Two of the largest and most widely-known recording studios in the country are based in Tennessee. Sun Studio, which recorded artists such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins is based in Memphis. RCA Studios is based in Nashville and has recorded artists such as Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn.
77. The largest and oldest continually running country music establishment in the world is based in Tennessee — the Grand Ole Opry. It has been hosting live country performances for nearly 100 years.
78. The Grand Ole Opry also has recorded a radio broadcast every Saturday for over 4,000 consecutive Saturdays.
79. The music industry in Nashville alone generates $15.6 billion dollars a year.
80. There are nearly 200 recording studios based in Tennessee, most of which are concentrated in Nashville.
81. There are over 43,000 music industry jobs in Nashville.
82. The Country Music Awards, widely considered the most prestigious award ceremony in the country music world, is located in Nashville.
83. The Country Music Awards have had over 55 award ceremonies since its conception.
84. The list of country musicians from Tennessee is extensive. Some of the more well-known country artists from Tennessee include Eddy Arnold, Billy Ray Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Chet Atkins, and Dolly Parton.
85. The Country Music Hall of Fame is located in Nashville, Tennessee.
86. The Johnny Cash Museum, one of the world's most loved country music museums is located in Nashville, Tennessee.
87. Many country musicians including Johnny Paycheck, George Jones, and Tammy Wynette are buried at Woodlawn Cemetary in Nashville, Tennessee.
88. The Music City Walk of Fame, located in Nashville, features Tennessee musicians who contributed to the country music genre.
Tennessee Random/Weird Facts
89. One of Nashville’s most recognizable landmarks is The Nashville Parthenon — a full-scale replica of The Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Inside The Nashville Parthenon, you can find an art museum featuring beautiful paintings and exhibits on the history of The Parthenon.
90. Bell Witch Cave, a historic landmark located in Adams, Tennessee, is believed to be haunted by spirits and is the origin of many ghost stories.
91. One of the world's most well-known whiskey brands, Jack Daniels Distillery, is located ironically in the dry county of Moore County.
92. The world’s largest underground lake is located in Sweetwater, Tennessee.
93. The official Tennessee government website allows Tennessee residents to adopt a Tennessee walking horse, the state horse of Tennessee.
94. You can find the set of the Evil Dead franchise in Morristown, Tennessee.
95. Every year at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, you can find one of the world's largest gathering of lightning bugs.
96. Knoxville, Tennessee is home to the infamous “Body Farm” at the William M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Center where students can learn the science of human body decomposition.
97. The infamous “Secret City” utilized by the Manhattan Project to test the effects of the atomic bomb is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
98. The Lost Cove Settlement, an abandoned ghost town is located in Erwin, Tennessee.
99. A bizarre art installation similar to Slab City in California called the Crystal Shrine Grotto is located in Memphis, Tennessee.
100. Silky O’Sullivans in Memphis, Tennessee is a bar featuring a live feeding show for beer-drinking goats. The bar also features a tower for the goats to climb and perform tricks on.
101. There is a full-sized replica of the Titanic located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Inside the ship, you can find a series of exhibits on the history of this fatal shipwreck.
102. There is a salt and pepper shaker museum featuring over 20,000 unique salt and pepper shakers located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
- Tennessee State Library and Archives
- Tennessee Encyclopedia
- Tennessee Historical Society
- Tennessee Municipal League
- Tennessee Virtual Archive
- Tennessee Department of Labor
- Tennessee Encyclopedia
- Nashville Public Library
- Tennessee Encyclopedia
- Memphis Civil Rights Museum
- Musicians Hall of Fame
- Encyclopedia Britannica
- Encyclopedia of World Geography
- Tennessee Department of Enviroment and Conservation
- Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide
- Tennessee State Parks
- National Park Service
- World Atlas
- Tennessee Trivia
- Tennessee Department of Transportation
- World Climate
- Cool Weather
- Urban Farmer
- National Weather Service
- North American Nature
- Atlas of Reptiles in Tennessee
- Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
- Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
- Bird Watching Academy
- University of Tennessee
- International Universities Climate Alliance
- Tennessee Natural Heritage Inventory Program
- Insect Identification
- AZ Animals
- Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
- Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
- Grand Ole Opry
- Country Music Awards
- The Famous People
- The Birthplace of Country Music
- Sun Studio
- Country Music Hall of Fame
- Johnny Cash Museum
- Woodlawn Cemetary
- City of Nashville
- Historic Bell Witch Cave
- Jack Daniel’s Distillery
- The Lost Sea
- Tennessee Department of Revenue
- Atlas Obscura