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Tennessee: Volunteer State
JOINED UNION: June 1, 1796
STATE BIRD: Mockingbird
STATE FLOWER: Iris
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Named after Cherokee Indian villages called "Tanasi"
1992 POPULATION: 5,023,990
RANK FOR POPULATION: 17
LAND AREA: 41,220 square miles
RANK IN SIZE IN UNION: 34
ECONOMY: Tobacco, chemicals, leather goods, textiles, electrical machinery, finance, insurance
HISTORY: Home to Cherokee and Chickasaw Indians, Tennessee was visited by Spanish explorers in 1541 and by English traders around 1673. The first permanent settlement was by Virginians in 1769. Tennessee was the last state to secede from the Union and some 30,000 of its men fought for the Union. Nashville, the state's capital, is the home of the Grand Ole Opry, showcase of country music.
Oldest American Mountains 1933
TENNESSEE VALLEY, APPALACHIA
When Congress voted for the Tennessee Valley Authority and brought electricity to the southern Appalachian Mountains, they brought the 20th Century into the oldest mountains in North America. The Appalachians were formed between 435 and 250 million years ago.
Named after the Apalachee Indians, the Appalachian Mountains are second only to the Rockies in length within North America, running about 2,000 miles from Canada to central Alabama. It is possible to walk the length of the Appalachians on a trail that passes through 14 states; it is called
the Appalachian Trail.
Mountain ranges that connect to form the Appalachian chain are the Notre Dame Mountains, White Mountains, Green Mountains, the Catskills, Blue Ridge Mountains, Allegheny Mountains, and the Great Smoky Mountains. This area separates rivers that flow into the Atlantic Ocean from those flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.
There are rich mineral deposits in these mountains and much mining. Coal mining is a major industry in the Kentucky portion of the Appalachians.
Early pioneers settled in these mountains and many stayed for generations. Sometimes the developments of the 20th Century passed them by. Some people in these areas are extremely poor, but they have also developed their own unique culture.
Bluegrass music, a form of dance called "clogging," moonshine whiskey, and religious sects that interpret the Bible in literal ways exist side-by-side with modern highways and movie theaters. With electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority, conditions here improved somewhat, but pockets of Southern Appalachia remain behind much of America in development.
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