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What is now Tennessee was initially part of North Carolina, and later part of the Southwest Territory.Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the 16th state on June 1, 1796.
(Tennessee County was the predecessor to current-day Montgomery County and Robertson County.) When a constitutional convention met in 1796 to organize a new state out of the Southwest Territory, it adopted "Tennessee" as the name of the state.
In the 20th century, Tennessee transitioned from an agrarian economy to a more diversified economy, aided by massive federal investment in the Tennessee Valley Authority and, in the early 1940s, the city of Oak Ridge.
This city was established to house the Manhattan Project's uranium enrichment facilities, helping to build the world's first atomic bombs, two of which were dropped on Imperial Japan near the end of World War II.
Tennessee is known as The Volunteer State, a nickname some claimed was earned during the War of 1812 because of the prominent role played by volunteer soldiers from Tennessee, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.
Other sources differ on the origin of the state nickname; according to the Columbia Encyclopedia, the name refers to volunteers for the Mexican–American War.
In the early 18th century, British traders encountered a Cherokee town named Tanasi (or "Tanase") in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee.