23 Interesting And Fun Facts About Tennessee [Explained]

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Tennessee is well-known for its vibrant music culture, good whiskey, and the Great Smoky Mountains. There are so many facts about Tennessee that will catch one’s fancy. From its history to culture, parks, and famous people, you can’t get tired of learning about The Volunteer State.

Quick Facts And Statistics About Tennessee

  • Capital: Nashville
  • Population: 6.975 Million (16th Populous State in the U.S)
  • Land Area: 42,143 sq mi / 109,247 kmĀ² (36th Largest in U.S)
  • Nickname: The Volunteer State
  • Abbreviation: TN
  • Statehood: June 1, 1796 (16th U.S State)
  • State Bird: Northern Mockingbird
  • State Flower: Iris

Historical Facts About Tennessee State

The state has a long and illustrious history; it is no surprise that there are many exciting facts about Tennessee regarding its past.

The Spanish Were the First Europeans to Arrive in Tennessee

In 1541, Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer, became the first person outside North America to visit Tennessee. He said the land belonged to Spain, but it would be more than 100 years before Europeans started to live there.

In Tennessee, Charles Charleville built a small fort called Fort Lick in 1714. He traded furs with the Indian tribes in the area for a long time. The city of Nashville would be built on this land in the end.

One of the most interesting facts about Tennessee is that after France and Britain fought the French and Indian war in 1763, Britain took control of the land. They added it to the North Carolina colony. At the same time, they made a law that said no colonists could live west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Yellow Fever Epidemic Swept Through Memphis in 1878

One of the things synonymous with facts about Tennessee State is that it sometimes brings back sad memories. In 1878, there was a significant outbreak of yellow fever that killed about 5,000 people in Memphis.

Most of Memphis’s people left as soon as they heard about the epidemic, even though several nearby towns and cities in the South established quarantines to stop the disease from spreading.

There Was a Civil War Between the Union and the Confederacy in 1861

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Some Tennessee facts are that of war, and this one isn’t different. When the Civil War started in 1861, Tennessee was split over which side to join. In the end, they decided to leave. In June 1861, Tennessee was the last state in the south to join the Confederacy.

Men from Tennessee went to defend the country during the Civil War, with 187,000 joining the Confederacy and 51,000 joining the Union.

Tennessee was the site of several important Civil War battles, such as the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Chattanooga, and the Battle of Nashville.

By the time the war ended, the Union controlled most of Tennessee. When President Abraham Lincoln was killed, Andrew Johnson, from Tennessee, took over as president, making it one of the most critical Tennessee facts.

The First Known Inhabitants of the State Were Paleo-Indians

I bet you never knew this is one of the facts about Tennessee state. Paleo-Indians, the oldest descendants of Native Americans, came to Tennessee about 12,000 years ago, maybe during or after the last continental glacier melted.

The development of stone tools, known as “lithic flaking,” is where the name of this era comes from.

According to popular belief, big-game hunters traveled from North Asia to the Americas via a land bridge connecting the two continents across the Bering Strait (Beringia).

President Andrew Jackson Founded the City of Memphis

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This is one of the Tennessee facts that isn’t talked about enough. On May 22, 1819, Future president Andrew Jackson and two others named John Overton and James Winchester laid the foundations for Memphis.

They gave it the name Memphis, an old Egyptian word that means “place of excellent dwelling,” after the city that had stood there. Memphis was situated at the mouth of the Nile River Delta.

Martin Luther King Junior Was Assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee

This is an infamous incident and one of the depressing Tennessee facts to hear.

Martin Luther King Jr. was sadly shot by James Earl Ray at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. The leader greatly affected the Civil Rights Movement, and his work earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Interesting Facts About Tennessee For Travelers

If you’re considering visiting Tennessee, here are some useful facts about TN you should know.

It Has One of the Most Visited National Parks in the U.S

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the famous landmarks in Tennessee and it is not hard to see why. The park deserves this distinction more than any other national park in the country.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park maintains the lead as the most-visited national park in the country by a significant margin over second place – Yellowstone National Park. It received 12.1 million visitors in 2020 which is double that of Yellowstone.

It Is Where Mountain Dew Originated

One of the exciting facts about TN is the Appalachian staple which has been around since the 1940s. Barney and Ally Hartman, who worked in the beverage bottling industry, began selling their sweet beverage in Knoxville, Johnson City, and Nashville.

Pepsi-Cola bought Mountain Dew in 1964 and began selling it in countries worldwide because it was so popular. It’s one of the fantastic Tennessee facts you might not know, but Mountain Dew is one of the things that Tennessee is known for.

It is the Birthplace of Country Music

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This is undoubtedly one of the facts about Tennessee state that most people will agree on. In the early days of the recording business, Ralph Peer of Victor Records decided to record local musicians in Bristol.

There, he signed two contracts leading to records that were popular all over the country. Country music was made possible by those first contracts and the recordings that came out of them.

In 1998, Congress passed a resolution calling Bristol the “Birthplace of Country Music.” This was done to keep this vital piece of music history alive. The city has a museum and an annual music festival that draws country music fans.

It Has the Largest Underground Lake in the U.S

With over 13 acres of water, the Lost Sea is the largest deposit of underground lake water in the United States and the second-largest non-subglacial underground lake worldwide. The Lost Sea is also the largest underground lake in the world that is not beneath a glacier.

Tennessee Has the World’s Longest Tree House

This is one of the fun facts about Tennessee for kids that love tree houses.

Crossville, Tennessee, is home to the world’s tallest tree house, which Minister Horace Burgess constructed. The height of the home is around one hundred feet, and its floor space is approximately ten thousand square feet.

Recycled materials were used in the construction of the house. The public is welcome to see any part of the home. About 250,000 nails are used to help hold the building together during construction.

Memphis, Tennessee, is Home to Graceland

Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley, can be found in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, in the United States. The property is visited by a total of 650,000 people every year.

This makes it the second most visited home in the US, after the White House. Now you know why it is one of the facts about Tennessee that cannot be left out of this list.

Memphis is located on Elvis Presley Boulevard and is about 4 miles (6.4 km) north of the state line between Tennessee and Mississippi.

Cultural Facts About Tennessee

Here are some culturally interesting facts about Tennessee that you should know.

It is the Birthplace of America’s First Female Senator

Now, this is one of the facts about Tennessee that the state is proud of. Hattie Caraway was the first woman in the United States to be elected (and re-elected) for a full term as a U.S. Senator for Arkansas. And she comes from Bakersville, Tennessee.

Cotton Candy Originated Here

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This is one Tennessee trivia that most people don’t know of. A dentist and a candy maker from Nashville came up with the idea for the sweet treat. Dr. William Morrison and John Wharton made the first markers.

They made a machine that melted sugar crystals and blew them through a screen to make thin threads. It was first shown at the St. Louis Fair in 1904 and sold many.

It is the Mule Capital of the World

The city of Columbia, Located in Tennessee, is famously known as the “Mule Capital of the World,” and its annual Mule Day Parade attracts hundreds of mules yearly. One of the weird facts about Tennessee in this regard is that the parade includes contests for the title of “Mule Day Queen,” as well as a mule pull.

Home To One Of The Largest Music Festivals

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Tennessee is known for its music scene so you can imagine the state also hosts many music and arts festivals. Bonnaroo, which takes place in Manchester on 700 acres of farmland, is one of the largest festivals that can be found anywhere in the world. This is typically a 4-day event held annually.

Olympic Medalist Wilma Rudolph is From Tennessee

Wilma Rudolph, a black sprinter from Tennessee, went home with three gold medals in Track and Field events at the 1960 Olympic Games. She was sick as a child, getting pneumonia, scarlet fever, and polio (infantile paralysis) before she was five.

But with her strong will and medical help, she could walk again without assistance, compete in the Olympics, and win medals. This has to be one of the most inspiring Tennessee facts.

You Must Be at Least 18 Years Old to Play Pinball in Tennessee

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This is one of the significant facts about Tennessee state. If you are younger than 18, you will not be allowed entry into the Nashville arcade. Pinball is a coin-operated game, so the legal minimum age to play is 18.

Other Fun Facts About Tennessee

Host To The Longest Running Live Radio Programme

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The longest live radio show on the air is found in Nashville, the capital of Tennessee. Since its beginning in 1925, the Grand Ole Opry has been airing weekend broadcasts.

Much of Coca-Cola’s Success May Be Traced Back to Tennessee

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The company’s website claims that the drink was first served as a fountain drink in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1886. However, in 1899, two Chattanooga lawyers launched a bottling firm.

After hearing their proposal, Coca-Cola’s president agreed to sell the bottling rights to the lawyers for a dollar. Long after the dollar had recovered, Chattanooga would become home to the world’s first bottling plant. Some Tennessee facts are unique, and this is one of them.

Tennessee Has Some Great Beaches

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Despite being a landlocked state, Tennessee does have some beautiful beaches on offer. They feature stunning views of the mountains and the ocean, and they are perfect for a relaxing day by the water. Throughout the state, you can find a diverse array of landscapes surrounding the best beaches in Tennessee.

About 10,000 Caves and Caverns Can Be Found Here

On the surface, Tennessee is stunning, but many visitors may easily overlook some fun facts about Tennessee and its true hidden beauty. Yes, we are talking about the underground caves.

Cave explorers come from all over the United States to explore the state’s 10,000 caves and caverns, many of which date back thousands of years and have been discovered by spelunkers. Some of the most popular ones are the Craighead Caverns and the Raccoon Mountain Caverns.

Kingston Was the Capital of Tennessee for a Day

In 1807, Kingston served as the state’s capital for one day. According to the state’s Wikipedia page, the general assembly had to meet because of a treaty with the Cherokee. This is one of the interesting facts about Tennessee because of its significance.

Discovering More Fun Facts About Tennessee

These are just some of the many fun facts about Tennessee. The state has a lot more to offer and explore.

Nashville is the beating heart of the country music scene. Tennessee is a great place to live because it has many things to do and places to visit. The state’s economy is strong, and people who live there say that the cost of living is one of the lowest in the country. 

Plan a trip to the Volunteer State to learn more about its history and culture and discover its wonders yourself. You are sure to find more fascinating facts about Tennessee.


PIN THESE FUN FACTS ABOUT TENNESSEE FOR LATER

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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