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The Kentucky Portal


The Commonwealth of Kentucky Listeni/kɨnˈtʌki/ is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state. 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 it became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th largest state in terms of total area, the 36th largest in land area, and ranks 26th in population.

Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State", a nickname based on the fact that native bluegrass is present in many of the pastures throughout the state, based on the fertile soil. It made possible the breeding of high-quality livestock, especially thoroughbred racing horses. 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 Lower 48 states; and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River. It is also home to the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the United States, the largest free-ranging elk herd east of Montana, and the nation's most productive coalfield. Kentucky is also known for thoroughbred horses, horse racing, bourbon distilleries, bluegrass music, automobile manufacturing, tobacco and college basketball.

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The History of slavery in Kentucky dates from the earliest permanent European settlements in the state until the end of the Civil War. Although Kentucky was generally classified as the Upper South or a Border state, rather than the Deep South, enslaved African-Americans made up a substantial percentage of the population. Early Kentucky history was built on the labor of slavery, and it was an integral part of the state. From 1790 to 1860 the slave population of Kentucky was never more than one quarter of the total population, with lower percentages after 1830. Slave populations were greatest in the central "bluegrass" region of the state, which was rich in farmland. In 1850, 23 percent of Kentucky's white males held enslaved African Americans.

Early visitors to Kentucky brought their slaves with them in the 1750s and 1760s. As permanent settlers started arriving in the late 1770s, they held slaves in the station (fort) based settlements. Settlers, often from Virginia, continued to rely on slave labor as they established more permanent farms.

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Creation Museum 5.png
Photo credit: Anthony 5429
The Creation Museum questions the validity of the theory of evolution.

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Frankfort serves as the state capital of the commonwealth of Kentucky, and is the county seat of Franklin County. The population was 27,741 at the 2000 census; by population, it is the 4th smallest state capital in the United States. James Wilkinson purchased in 1786 the 260-acre tract of land on the north side of the Kentucky River, which is now downtown Frankfort. Called by some the father of Frankfort, Wilkinson was an early promoter to make Frankfort the state capital.

The town of Frankfort probably received its name from an event that took place in 1780's when Indians attacked a group of pioneers from Bryan’s Station who were making salt at a ford in the Kentucky River. One of the pioneers, Stephen Frank, was killed and the crossing became known as “Frank’s Ford.” Later this name was shortened to Frankfort.

After Kentucky became a state, five commissioners were appointed on June 20, 1792, to choose a location for the state capital. They were John Allen and John Edwards (both from Bourbon County), Henry Lee (Mason County), Thomas Kennedy (Madison County), and Robert Todd (Fayette County). A number of communities competed for this honor, but Frankfort won by perseverance and, according to early histories, the offer of Andrew Holmes' log house as capitol for seven years, a number of town lots, £50 worth of locks and hinges, 10 boxes of glass, 1500 pounds of nails, and $3000 in gold.

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Bourbon County Confederate Monument

Kentucky Official Symbols

On this day in Kentucky history...

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Belle of Louisville is a steamboat owned and operated by the city of Louisville, Kentucky and moored at its downtown wharf next to the Riverfront Plaza/Belvedere during its annual operational period. Originally named the Idlewild, she was built by James Rees & Sons Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the West Memphis Packet Company in 1914 and was first put into service on the Allegheny River. Constructed with an all-steel superstructure and asphalt main deck, the steamboat is said to hold the all-time record in her class for miles traveled, years in operation, and number of places visited.

The Belle's offices are located within the Mayor Andrew Broaddus, also a National Historic Landmark.

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Tara Elizabeth Conner (born on 18 December 1985 in Dallas, Texas) is a beauty queen who is Miss USA 2006 and has also competed in the Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe pageants. Apart from her role as Miss USA, Conner has been employed as a model and waitress. She was a featured model on the HDNet series Bikini Destinations in 2004, posing for the cameras in Lake Tahoe. She has held the titles Miss Kentucky Teen USA 2002, Miss Kentucky USA 2006 and Miss USA 2006.

In late 2006, Conner became the center of a public scandal when news reports claim she had been drinking underage, tested positive for the use of cocaine, and kissed Miss Teen USA Katie Blair in public, among other things. She was allowed to retain her title and entered a drug rehabilitation program.


“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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