Tennessee, state in the south-central United States. It is bordered by Kentucky and Virginia (N), North Carolina (E), Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi (S), and, across the Mississippi R., Arkansas and Missouri (W).
Area, 42,244 sq mi (109,412 sq km).
Population (2000): 5,689,283, a 16.7% increase since the 1990 census
Largest city: Memphis
Leading Industries: Agriculture and Commerce
State bird: mockingbird
State flower: Iris.
State tree: Tulip poplar
West Tennessee, with its rich river-bottom lands, on which most of the state's cotton is grown, lies between the Tennessee and the Mississippi rivers. The average annual rainfall ranges from 40 to 50 in. (101.6-127 cm), and the climate ranges from humid continental in the north of the state to humid subtropical in the south; the rigors of a northern winter usually affect only the most mountainous parts of East Tennessee. Twenty-three state parks, covering some 132,000 acres (53,420 hectares) as well as parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park are in Tennessee.
The state also has many sites of historic interest, including the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson; the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site; Shiloh National Military Park; and Fort Donelson and Stones River national battlefields. Part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is also in Tennessee. The Natchez Trace National Parkway generally follows the old Natchez Trace. Nashville is the capital and the second largest city. The largest city is Memphis.
Although Tennessee is now primarily industrial, with most of its people residing in urban areas, many Tennesseans still derive their livelihood from the land. The state's leading crops are cotton, soybeans, and tobacco; cattle, dairy products, and hogs are also principal farm commodities. Tennessee's leading mineral, in dollar value, is stone; zinc ranks second (Tennessee leads the nation in its production). Industry is being continually diversified; the state's leading manufactures are chemicals and related products, foods, electrical machinery, primary metals, automobiles, textiles and apparel, and stone, clay, and glass items. Aluminum production has been important since World War I.
*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright © 2003