Portal:Tennessee

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Tennessee is a state located in the Southern United States. Tennessee borders eight other states: Kentucky and Virginia to the north; North Carolina to the east; Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi on the south; and Arkansas and Missouri on the Mississippi River to the west.

Tennessee attained statehood in 1796, becoming the sixteenth state to join the Union.

The state is divided geographically and by law into three Grand Divisions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. Physiographically, East Tennessee includes the Blue Ridge area characterized by high mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountains and the Ridge and Valley region, in which numerous tributaries join to form the Tennessee River in the Tennessee Valley. The state's third- and fourth-largest cities, Knoxville and Chattanooga, are located in the Tennessee Valley.

To the west of East Tennessee lies the Cumberland Plateau, a region of flat-topped mountains separated by sharp valleys. West of the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee is the Highland Rim, an elevated plain that surrounds the Nashville Basin, characterized by rich, fertile farm country and high natural wildlife diversity. Nashville, the state's capital and second largest city, is in Middle Tennessee.

The landscape of West Tennessee is formed on the Gulf Coastal Plain, ranging from rolling hills just west of the Tennessee River to the region of lowlands, floodplains, and swamp land referred to as the Mississippi Delta region. Memphis, Tennessee's largest city, is on the banks of the Mississippi River in the southwestern corner of the state.

Tennessee is known as the "Volunteer State", a nickname earned during the War of 1812 because of the prominent role played by volunteer soldiers from Tennessee.

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Christ Church (left) and Thomas Hughes Library in Rugby, Tennessee

Rugby is a settlement in Morgan County, Tennessee, that was founded in 1880 by British author Thomas Hughes, who is best known for writing the novel Tom Brown's School Days. Rugby, Tennessee, is named for Rugby, Warwickshire, England, where Hughes had attended Rugby School, the school that furnished the setting for the book.

Rugby was set up as an experiment in utopian living. It was intended in part as a community for the younger sons of the English gentry, who, because of the accepted system of primogeniture, would inherit little or no property. The settlement flourished for only a short while.

About half the original buildings, many in Ruskinian gothic revival style, survive and have been restored. Rugby currently has a population of around 85. The area's natural beauty, historic architecture, and seasonal festivals attract a brisk tourist trade. (Read more...)

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York.jpg

Alvin York, born to an impoverished farming family in Fentress County, Tennessee on December 13, 1887, became the most decorated American soldier in World War I. For leading an attack against a German machine gun nest during fighting in France, killing 25 German soldiers and capturing 132 others, he was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor, the French Croix de Guerre and Legion of Honor, Italy's Croce di Guerra, and a War Medal from Montenegro.

When he was first drafted into the United States Army in 1917, York was a conscientious objector who opposed war on religious grounds. However, eventually he became convinced that warfare could be justified.

His heroic actions occurred during a mission to secure a German railroad line on October 8, 1918. York was one of 17 men who infiltrated behind enemy lines and overran the headquarters of a German unit, capturing a large group of German prisoners. The American unit then came under heavy machine gun fire, killing six of the Americans and wounding three others, including the sergeant in command. York, a corporal, took command of the other seven remaining men and succeeded in silencing the machine guns while continuing to guard the prisoners. By the end of the engagement, York and his seven men marched 132 German prisoners back to the American lines. York was promoted to sergeant and was awarded several medals for his heroism. (Read more...)

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ClarksvilleMural.jpg

Mural painted on the one remaining wall of a building in Clarksville, Tennessee, that was destroyed by the tornado that devastated the city's downtown on January 22, 1999.
Image credit: K. Johnson (2007)

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