Designed by a member of the Third Regiment of the Tennessee Infantry, the state's flag was officially adopted on April 17, 1905.
Its multifaceted design and colors pays homage to both the Confederate Battle Flag, and the flag of the United States of America.
The three white stars are widely believed to represent the three geographical divisions of the state. (East, Middle and West) In another interpretation, they are said to indicate that Tennessee was the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, after the original 13.
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The Roman numerals XVI, representing Tennessee as the 16th state to enter the United States, is found at the top of the seal.
The images of a plow, a bundle of wheat, a cotton plant, and the word "Agriculture" below the three images occupying the center of the seal. Wheat and cotton were and still are important cash crops grown in the State.
The lower half of the seal was originally supposed to display a boat and a boatman with the word "Commerce" underneath, but was changed to a flat-bottomed-riverboat without a boatman subsequently. River trade was important to the State due to three large rivers: the Tennessee River, the Cumberland River, and the Mississippi River; the boat continues to represent the importance of commerce to the State.
Surrounding the images are the words "The Great Seal of the State of Tennessee", and "Feb. 6th, 1796". The day and month have been dropped from later designs