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Portal:Kentucky

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Introduction

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Kentucky (/kənˈtʌki/ (About this soundlisten) kən-TUK-ee), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States. Although styled as the "State of Kentucky" in the law creating it, (because in Kentucky's first constitution, the name state was used) Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth (the others being Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts). Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 Kentucky split from it and became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th most extensive and the 26th most populous of the 50 United States.

Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State", a nickname based on the bluegrass found in many of its pastures due to the fertile soil. One of the major regions in Kentucky is the Bluegrass Region in central Kentucky, which houses two of its major cities, Louisville and Lexington. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world's longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park, the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the contiguous United States, and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River.

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The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky, as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive (Kentucky Campaign) during the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi won a tactical victory against primarily a single corps of Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Union Army of the Ohio. The battle is considered a strategic Union victory, sometimes called the Battle for Kentucky, because Bragg withdrew to Tennessee soon thereafter, leaving the critical border state of Kentucky in Union hands for the remainder of the war. Following the Battle of Perryville, the Union maintained control of Kentucky for the rest of the war. Historian James M. McPherson considers Perryville to be part of a great turning point of the war, "when battles at Antietam and Perryville threw back Confederate invasions, forestalled European mediation and recognition of the Confederacy, perhaps prevented a Democratic victory in the northern elections of 1862 that might have inhibited the government's ability to carry on the war, and set the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation which enlarged the scope and purpose of the conflict."

Considering the casualties for the engaged strengths of the armies, the Battle of Perryville was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, and the largest battle fought in the state of Kentucky.

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Pewee Valley Confederate Cemetery 006.jpg
Photo credit: C. Bedford Crenshaw
Pewee Valley Confederate Cemetery is the only Confederate cemetery sanctioned by the state of Kentucky.

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Elizabethtown is the county seat of Hardin County. The population was 22,542 at the 2000 census. Hardin County was established in 1793 and named for Colonel John Hardin, an Indian fighter who had been killed by Native Americans while on a peace mission with tribes in Ohio. It did not take long for the settlement to become an active community. In just a few years, professional men and tradesmen came to live in the area. In 1793, Colonel Hynes had thirty acres of land surveyed and laid off into lots and streets to establish Elizabethtown. Named in honor of the wife of Andrew Hynes, Elizabethtown was legally established on July 4, 1797.

On December 27, 1862, General John Hunt Morgan and his 3,000-man cavalry attacked Elizabethtown. During the battle more than 100 cannon balls were fired into the town. Although he successfully captured Elizabethtown, his goal was to disrupt the railroad. He proceeded north along the route of the railroad burning trestles and destroying sections of the track. After the battle, one cannon ball was lodged in the side of a building on the Public Square.

The town is regionally referred to as "E-town." It is notable as one of two larger towns (the other being Bowling Green) along I-65 between Louisville and Nashville. The movie Elizabethtown (2005) was named after the town, even though the majority of the movie was filmed in Versailles and Louisville because Elizabethtown has lost most of its historic buildings in recent years due to development and sprawl.

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Kentucky Official Symbols

Quotes

"I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." -- Abraham Lincoln

"I was brought up to believe that Scotch whisky would need a tax preference to survive in competition with Kentucky bourbon." -- Hugo Black

"Tough girls come from New York. Sweet girls, they're from Georgia. But us Kentucky girls, we have fire and ice in our blood. We can ride horses, be a debutante, throw left hooks, and drink with the boys, all the while making sweet tea, darlin'. And if we have an opinion, you know you're gonna hear it." -- Ashley Judd

"Soon after, I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune." -- Daniel Boone

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Ashland is the name of the estate of the nineteenth-century Kentucky statesman Henry Clay, located in Lexington, Kentucky in the Bluegrass region of central Kentucky. It is a registered National Historic Landmark.

Henry Clay came to Lexington from Virginia in 1797. He began buying land for his estate in 1804. The Ashland farm--which during Clay's lifetime was outside of the city limits--at its largest consisted of over 600 acres (2.4 km²). It is unclear whether Clay named the estate or retained a prior name, but he was referring to his estate as "Ashland" by 1809. The name derives from the ash forest that stood at the site. Clay and his family resided at Ashland from c. 1806 until his death in 1852 (his widow, Lucretia, moved out in 1854).

When granddaughter Anne Clay McDowell came to Ashland in 1883, she and her husband remodeled and modernized the house, updating it with gas lighting (later, electricity), indoor plumbing, and telephone service.

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Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. (born February 20, 1942), is the senior United States Senator from Kentucky. A Republican, he was chosen by his peers as the Minority Leader in November 2006, making him the top-ranking Republican in the 110th Congress, which convened in January 2007.

McConnell is a member of the Baptist Church. He married Elaine Chao, the current Secretary of Labor, in 1993, and has three grown daughters from his first marriage. McConnell's first wife worked as a librarian for a small college in the Northeast.

In 1992, McConnell teamed with the University of Louisville to create the McConnell Center.

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