Happy Birthday Tennessee

Tennessee State Capitol - Nashville, TN (photo contributed)

On June 1, 1796 Tennessee Became The 16th State

On June 1, 1796, the Southwest Territory was admitted to the Union, as the State of Tennessee. It is just 112 miles wide, but stretches 432 miles from North Carolina in the east to the Mississippi River in the west. It borders with Missouri and Arkansas in the west.

John Sevier became Tennessee’s first Governor. Sevier served as governor for three terms for a total of six years as Tennessee’s Governor, before term limits prevented him from seeking a fourth consecutive term.

Tennessee’s two largest cities, Memphis and Nashville, are known as centers of blues and country music, respectively, and have played host to the likes of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, B.B. King and Dolly Patron. East Tennessee’s larger cities are Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Some interesting facts about Tennessee

  • Rhea County was formed in 1807, it is named for Tennessee politician, John Rhea. A portion of the Trail of Tears ran through Rhea County as part of the United States government’s removal of the Cherokees in the 1830s. Rhea County later made history in 1925 when twenty-four-year-old John Scopes, was arrested and put on trial in for violating Tennessee state law by teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution as part of his public high school curriculum. The “Monkey Trial,” as it became known, garnered national attention and publicized scientific evidence for evolution, but resulted in a guilty verdict for Scopes, who was fined $100. It was not until 1968 that the Supreme Court asserted that any law banning the teaching of evolution in public schools was unconstitutional.


  • Future President Andrew Jackson founded the city of Memphis on May 22, 1819, along with John Overton and James Winchester. They named it after the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis—meaning “place of good abode”—which was located at the head of the Nile River Delta.


  • William Strickland, the engineer and architect of the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, died in 1854 during the building’s construction. At his request, he was entombed within the structure’s walls.


  • In 1878, a yellow fever epidemic swept through Memphis, claiming the lives of around 5,000 people. Although many neighboring towns and cities throughout the South established quarantines to prevent the disease from spreading, a majority of residents fled Memphis after news of the outbreak was first reported.


  • The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville began as a live music show called the “WSM Barn Dance” by announcer George Hay in 1925. One of the state’s most popular tourist attractions, it is also the longest-running radio show in U.S. history.


  • The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most visited national park. While Memphis the home of Elvis Presley’s Graceland. It is one of the most visited private residences in America–second only to the White House.

Tennessee is a total of 42,144 square miles in size

Tennessee State Bird is the Mockingbird

Tennessee State Flower is the Iris

Tennessee State Tree is a Tulip Popular

Tennessee State Nickname is the Volunteer State


Learn more about the State of Tennessee


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