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State Flag | State Seal | State Nickname | Other Symbols Links

State Flag: ( click here - for enlarged view)

The three stars on the flag represent the three different land forms in Tennessee. Mountains in the east, highlands in the middle and lowlands in the west. On the flag these regions are bound together in an unbroken circle. The field is crimson with a blue background for the stars. The final blue strip relieves the sameness of the crimson field and prevents the flag from showing too much crimson when it is limp.

State Seal:

In 1796, the Constitution of the State of Tennessee provided for an official Great Seal. Although the style of the present seal has changed, the basic elements remain similar to the 1796 provisions. The design of the seal specified that there should be an image of a plow, a sheaf of wheat, and a cotton plant. These were placed under the Roman numerals XVI, representing Tennessee as the 16th state to enter the Union. Below the images, the word "Agriculture" should occupy the center of the seal. The lower half of the seal was originally supposed to display a boat and a boatman, and under this image was the word "Commerce". Surrounding all these images are the words "The Great Seal of the State of Tennessee", and "Feb. 6th, 1796", the date of the state's Constitution. As it happened, however, the design of the seal changed over time, officially and unofficially. A standardized seal was adopted in 1987 by the General Assembly. The current seal contains images similar to past seals, although notably different is the image representing Commerce. The boatman has disappeared, and the ship is now a larger rigged vessel. The current seal also contains just the year of statehood, 1796, rather than the full date as before.

State Nickname:

Tennessee has had several nicknames, but the most popular is "The Volunteer State." The nickname originated during the War of 1812, in which the volunteer soldiers from Tennessee, serving under Gen. Andrew Jackson, displayed marked valor in the Battle of New Orleans.

Other nicknames include the "Big Bend State," which refers to the Indian name of the Tennessee River; “The River with the Big Bend”; and "Hog and Hominy State," now obsolete but formerly applied because "the corn and pork products of Tennessee were in such great proportions between 1830 and 1840"; and "The Mother of Southwestern Statesmen," because Tennessee furnished the United States three presidents and a number of other leaders who served with distinction in high government office.

Tennesseans sometimes are referred to as "Volunteers," "Big Benders" and "Butternuts." The first two are derived from the nickname of the state, while the tag of "Butternuts" was first applied to Tennessee soldiers during the War Between the States because of the tan color of their uniforms. Later, it sometimes was applied to people across the entire state.

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