Sparta is a city in White County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 4,599 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of White County.
The Calfkiller River flows through the community.
Seven sites in Sparta are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sparta was established in 1809 as a county seat for White County, which had been created in 1806. The city was named after the ancient Greek city-state Sparta.
Sparta nearly became the capital of the state of Tennessee, as, early in the history of Tennessee, the state legislature voted to choose a location for the permanent state capital. The final vote resulted in a near tie between Sparta and Nashville. Sparta lost to Nashville by one vote.
Sparta grew quickly due to its location along the stage road between Knoxville and Nashville. In the 1830s, brothers Barlow and Madison Fisk built the Sparta Rock House, which served as an inn along the stage road. The Rock House, strategically situated in an area where the Cumberland Plateau gives way to the Calfkiller valley, was a common stopover for figures important to the early history of the state, including Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston. The building is now a state historic site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.