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Welcome to Kentucky

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Kentucky State Flag
Kentucky State Flag
Kentucky State Seal
Kentucky State Seal
Kentucky Location
Kentucky Location


Kentucky (the Commonwealth of Kentucky) is a southern state of the United States of America and was the 15th state admitted to the Union.

Kentucky and its residents are probably most well known for thoroughbred horses and racing, local whiskey distilleries, and unbridled fanaticism for basketball. The two principal rivals in the state are the University of Kentucky (blue, Wildcats) and the University of Louisville (red, Cardinals).

Several US Navy ships have been named USS Kentucky in honor of the state. The USS Paducah also served as a naval vessel.

State nicknames Bluegrass State
Capital Frankfort
Largest City Louisville
Governor (2004) Ernie Fletcher
- Total
- Land
- Water
- % water
Ranked 37th
104,749 km˛
102,989 km˛
1,760 km˛
- Total (2000)
- Density
Ranked 25th
Admittance into Union
- Order
- Date

June 1, 1792
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4 Central: UTC-6/-5 eastern counties in Eastern Timezone, western counties in Central Timezone
36°30'N to 39°9'N
81°58'W to 89°34'W
- Highest
- Mean
- Lowest
225 km
610 km

1,262 meters
230 meters
78 meters
ISO 3166-2 US-KY
State Wild Animal Grey Squirrel
State Bird Cardinal
State Flower Goldenrod
State Song "My Old Kentucky Home" by Stephen Collins Foster-1853
State Bluegrass Song "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by Bill Monroe-1947
State Tree Tulip tree (formerly the Kentucky coffeetree)
State Horse Thoroughbred
State Fish Kentucky Bass
State Butterfly Viceroy Butterfly
State Gemstone Fresh Water Pearl
State Fossil Brachiopod
State Motto "United We Stand, Divided We Fall"


Kentucky BluegrassKentucky is one of four states to call itself a commonwealth. At one time, Kentucky was a county of Virginia. Ten constitutional conventions took place at the courthouse of Constitution Square in Danville, Kentucky between 1784 and 1792. In 1790, Kentucky delegates accepted Virginia's terms for separation, and the state constitution was drafted at the final convention in April 1792. On June 1, 1792, Kentucky became the fifteenth state in the union and Isaac Shelby, a Revolutionary War hero, was named the first Governor of the Commonwealth Of Kentucky.

On May 20, 1861 during the American Civil War, Kentucky proclaimed its neutrality in the conflict but was forced to take the side of the Union on September 3 when Confederate forces under General Leonidas Polk invaded.

Kentucky’s name is possibly derived from the Cherokee word for "meadowland" after the bluegrass pastures that lured early pioneers to the state.


The capital of Kentucky is Frankfort and its governor is Ernie Fletcher (Republican). Kentucky's two U.S. senators are Jim Bunning (Republican) and Mitch McConnell (Republican). The Kentucky Constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, the judicial, and the executive. Kentucky's General Assembly has two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives.


Kentucky, also known as The Bluegrass State, borders the Midwest and Deep South. It touches West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

Its northern border is the low-water mark on the north side of the Ohio River. Its western border is the Mississippi River. Other major rivers in Kentucky include the Tennessee River, the Cumberland River, the Green River and the Licking River.

There are five main regions, the Cumberland Mountains and Cumberland Plateau in the southeast, the north-central Bluegrass Region, the south-central and western Pennyroyal Plateau, also sometimes termed "Pennyrile", the western coal-fields area, and the far-west Jackson Purchase.

The largest cities in Kentucky in terms of geographic area are the two merged city/county governments of Lexington-Fayette and Louisville Metro, although Louisville and its metropolitan area both have a much larger population than Lexington and its metro area. Northern Kentucky, an assemblage of smaller cities across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio, also has a large metropolitan population.

Significant Natural Attractions

  • Cumberland Falls State Park
  • Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Red River Gorge Geological Area
  • Land Between the Lakes


The total gross state product for 1999 was $113 billion, placing Kentucky 26th in the nation. Its Per Capita Personal Income is $24,294, 40th in the nation. Kentucky's agricultural outputs are horses, cattle, tobacco, dairy products, hogs, soybeans, and corn. Its industrial outputs are transportation equipment, chemical products, electric equipment, machinery, food processing, tobacco products, coal, and tourism.


According to the national census, there were 4,041,769 people living in Kentucky in 2000. The population was 89.3% white, 7.3% African American, 1.5% Hispanic, 0.7% Asian, and 0.2% Native American.

Important Cities and Towns

Population > 10,000
Important Suburbs and Small Towns
Cities Population >100,000

Colleges and Universities

Community colleges
  • Alice Lloyd College
  • Asbury College
  • Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Bellarmine University
  • Berea College
  • Brescia College
  • Campbellsville University
  • Centre College
  • Clear Creek Baptist Bible College
  • Cumberland College
  • Georgetown College
  • Kentucky Christian College
  • Kentucky Mountain Bible College
  • Kentucky Wesleyan College
  • Lexington Theological Seminary
  • Lindsey Wilson College
  • Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  • Louisville Technical Institute
  • Mid-Continent University
  • Midway College
  • Pikeville College
  • Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Spalding University
  • Spencerian College
  • Sullivan University
    • Louisville
    • Frankfort
    • Lexington
  • Thomas More College
  • Transylvania University
  • Union College
  • Ashland Community College
  • Ashland Technical College
  • Bowling Green Technical College
  • Central Kentucky Technical College
  • Elizabethtown Community College
  • Elizabethtown Technical College
  • Gateway Community and Technical Colleges
  • Hazard Community College
  • Henderson Community College
  • Hopkinsville Community College
  • Jefferson Community College
  • Jefferson Technical College
  • Lexington Community College
  • Madisonville Community and Technical Colleges
  • Mayo Technical College
  • Maysville Community College
  • Owensboro Community College
  • Owensboro Technical College
  • Prestonsburg Community College
  • Rowan Technical College
  • Somerset Community College
  • West Kentucky Community and Technical College
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Kentucky State University
  • Morehead State University
  • Murray State University
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisville
  • Western Kentucky University

Professional Sports Teams

The Minor League baseball teams are:

  • Florence Freedom
  • Louisville Bats
  • Lexington Legends

The Minor League hockey teams are:

  • Lexington Men O'War

The National Indoor Football League teams are:

  • Lexington Horsemen
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