Middle 5: The Top Ten List

Several Tennessee state flags


We’ve put together a list of things we think every Tennessean should know:

1. In 1796 Tennessee became the 16th state in the United States. But most of what we now call Tennessee was still Native American land back then.

2. Tennessee’s flag is red, with a circle in the middle that has three stars in it. The three stars represent East, Middle and West Tennessee — Tennessee’s three “grand divisions.

3. The name “Tennessee” was originally the name of a Cherokee Indian village in Monroe County (once spelled “Tanase”). Unfortunately, the site of Tanase is now underwater.

Kingston was actually the state capital of Tennessee for one day.

4. Nashville hasn’t always been the state capital. Earlier in Tennessee’s history, the capital was Knoxville, Kingston and Murfreesboro.

5. Three American presidents came from Tennessee — those being Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson. However, none of the three were actually born in Tennessee. All three of them were born in the Carolinas and quickly corrected the situation by moving to Tennessee.

A view of Chattanooga from atop Lookout Mountain

6. Nashville has the highest population of any city in Tennessee, followed by Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

7. If you had to pick a single thing Tennessee is known for, that would be music. In fact, a few years ago the federal government began a program under which quarters were designed to honor each state. There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that Tennessee’s quarter should reflect the state’s musical heritage.

On the Tennessee quarter, shown here, the fiddle represents East Tennessee, the guitar reflects Middle Tennessee, and the trumpet represents West Tennessee.

8. Tennessee’s two U.S. Senators are Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn, both of whom are Republicans.  If you don’t know the name of your Congressman, you need to learn that immediately. Click here to find out.

Members of the Tennessee National Guard in Afghanistan

9. Tennessee is known as the Volunteer State because the state has a long history of its citizens volunteering for military duty.

10. The governor of Tennessee is Bill Lee. He was elected in 2017.

Click here to take an interactive quiz on this MIDDLE CIVICS section.