Introduction - Kentucky FactsThe state of Kentucky is part of the Southeast region of the U.S. It is the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest presidents who ever lived. It is also home to the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox where millions of ounces of gold have been stored since 1937. Its seven bordering states include West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Illinois. The Appalachian mountains, the many historic hamlets, the Kentucky Derby and the scenic waterways are just a few examples of why both adults and kids want to come back year after year to visit this state. Discover more about what makes this state so special when you read the interesting and historical facts below.
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State of Kentucky Quick Facts
- Kentucky was the fifteenth state to join the union, but the first state west of the Appalachians to join.
- Kentucky officially became a state on June 1, 1792.
- The state capital of Kentucky is Frankfort.
- Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky.
- Kentucky is the 26th most populated state in the U.S. (source 2013 United States Census Bureau estimate).
- The population of Kentucky is 4,395,295 (source 2013 United States Census Bureau estimate).
- Kentucky is the 37th largest state (land area) in the U.S.
- The state flower of Kentucky is the Goldenrod.
- Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State.
- Residents of Kentucky are called Kentuckians.
- There are several major bodies of water in Kentucky. The Ohio River, Mississippi River, Kentucky River, Green River and Cumberland River are all major rivers while Lake Barkley, Lake Cumberland and the Kentucky Lake are all major lakes.
- My Old Kentucky Home is the state song of Kentucky.
State of Kentucky Interesting Facts
- At 4,145 feet (1,263 meters) above sea level, Black Mountain is Kentucky's highest point.
- On the first Saturday of every May, the famous Kentucky Derby is held in Louisville. It is the oldest horse race in the country. It has been held yearly since 1875.
- Colonel Sanders began selling the first Kentucky Fried Chicken in Corbin, Kentucky on the side of the road before the first official restaurant opened in Utah in 1952.
- Moonbows, which are rainbows produced by reflected moonlight as opposed to sunlight, are often seen at Cumberland Falls in Kentucky.
- Thunder Over Louisville, the annual kick-off to the Kentucky Derby is the largest annual fireworks display in all of North America.
- Before it became a national holiday in 1916, Mother's Day was first observed by a teacher named Mary S. Wilson in 1877 in Henderson Kentucky.
- Dating back to 1816, when it was first promoted, Mammoth Cave National Park is one of the oldest tourist attraction in the United States.
State of Kentucky Historical Facts
- The Shawnee and Cherokee Indians were known to favor hunting in and around what is now the state of Kentucky.
- Kentucky comes from the Iroquois Indian word meaning "land of tomorrow".
- Dating back to 1774, Harrodstown was the first permanent European settlement in the region and considered to be the oldest city in Kentucky.
- The War of 1812 was especially trying for the state of Kentucky. They saw more casualties from battle than all the other U.S. states combined.