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General background about this state

Kentucky Flag     Kentucky Great Seal


  Bowling Green

Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth and is the birthplace of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.

  • NICKNAME: The Bluegrass State
  • POPULATION: 4,395,295 (2013 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Frankfort
  • STATE BIRD: Cardinal
  • STATE FLOWER: Goldenrod
  • AREA: 40,409 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Eastern half: Eastern, - Western half: Central
  • ENTERED UNION: June 1, 1792
  • ALTITUDE: High, 4,145 ft. Black Mountain
  • CLIMATE: Hot summers, short winters with some snow; moderate rainfall.


Because of a glimpse a great American pioneer caught through a niche in the Cumberland Mountains, Kentucky became the gateway and the first stop in the march westward of the newborn American republic. "Nature was here a series of wonders and a fund of delight", reported Daniel Boone, who in 1775 led a party of early settlers over the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap to Boones borough. The wonders included Highland forests of huge  hardwood trees, fields of tall cane and a luxuriant growth of grass whose blossoms turned the land blue in spring. But the major natural wonder was the fertile soil of the bluegrass Basin-formed in ancient times by erosion of the phosphate limestone strata that lie beneath Kentucky.

The new settlers soon exploited the "fund of delight". They discovered that the high calcium content in the water and in the bluegrass soils enabled horses to develop strong tendons and "solid close-grained bones that take a polish like ivory", a fact since proved beyond challenge by thoroughbred Kentucky race horses like Man o' war, Whirlaway, Citation, and Oxbow. Out of the 135 Kentucky Derby winners, 100 of them were bred in Kentucky.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace near Hodgenville
Lincoln's Birthplace Memorial, Kentucky

Near the Bluegrass Basin some of the earliest Kentuckians found another delight; water which had percolated through the limestone ground produced a superior whisky in their mountain stills. Today approximately 95% of all bourbon whiskey is produced in Kentucky. In 2013 the state had 4.9 million barrels of bourbon that was aging a number that exceeds the current human population in the great Bluegrass state.



  • Mammoth Cave, with its 340 miles of mapped passageways, is the longest cave system in the world. Visitors have come to explore it since 1816.
  • Kentucky bluegrass gets its name not from the color of the grass (which is green) but from the bluish buds the grass produces in the spring and that make meadows look blue.
  • Pike County has produced more than 133 billion tons of coal, more than any other county in the country.
  • Corbin is home to the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant owned and operated by Colonel Sanders.
  • Fort Knox is home to more than 147.3 million troy ounces of gold, held in underground vaults, which is worth about $130 billion at 2012 prices. Stored in 8-foot-tall stacks, the standard gold bar weighs approximately 400 ounces or 27.5 pounds each. It is the largest amount of gold stored anywhere in the world. In addition to gold bullion, the Mint has stored valuable items for other government agencies. The Magna Carta was once stored there.
  • Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, and Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, were both born in log houses in Kentucky. Lincoln's birthplace was Sinking Spring Farm, southeast of Elizabethtown (1809); Davis's was in Fairview (1808).


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