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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.



Kentucky is one of four states to call itself a commonwealth. Before the American War of Independence, this land was called Transylvania with its capital at Boonesborough. After the war, it became Kentucky County, Virginia and 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. A different version of the name is from the Indian word meaning "dark and bloody ground" which is believed to be due to the fact that many Native American tribes went there to hunt the game-rich forests and often fight each other there.

Law and government

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.See List of Kentucky Governors. The judicial branch of Kentucky is made up of trial courts, called District and Circuit Courts, an intermediate appellate court, called the Court of Appeals, and court of last resort, the Supreme Court.


See: List of Kentucky counties

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


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.


As of 2003, there were 4,117,827 people living in Kentucky

Racially, the population is:

The five largest ancestries in the state are: American (20.9%), German (12.7%), Irish (10.5%), English (9.7%), African American (7.3%).


Religiously, Kentucky is mostly Protestant.

  • Protestant 76%
  • Roman Catholic 13%
  • Other Christian 1%
  • Other Religions 0%
  • Non-Religious 9%

The three largest Protestant denominations in Kentucky are: Baptist (43% of the total state population), Methodist (7%), Presbyterian & Pentecostal & Churches of Christ (tied 2%).

Important cities and towns

Population > 100,000 (urbanized areas)

Population > 10,000 (urbanized areas)

Important suburbs and small towns


Colleges and universities



Community colleges

  • 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

Professional sports teams

The Minor League baseball teams are:

The Minor League hockey teams are:

  • Lexington Men O'War

The National Indoor Football League teams are:

  • Lexington Horsemen

Miscellaneous information

See also

External links

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