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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, 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 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 Wilderness Road was the principal route used by settlers to reach Kentucky for more than fifty years. In 1775, Daniel Boone blazed a trail for the Transylvania Company from Fort Chiswell in Virginia through the Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky. It was later lengthened, following Native American trails, to reach the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville. The Wilderness Road was steep and rough, and could only be traversed on foot or horseback. Despite the adverse conditions, thousands of people used it. In 1792, the new Kentucky legislature provided money to upgrade the road. In 1796, an improved all-weather road was opened for wagon and carriage travel. The road was abandoned around 1840, although modern highways follow much of its route.

Because of the threat of Native American attacks, the road was so dangerous that most pioneers traveled well armed. Robbers and criminals also could be found on the road, ready to pounce on weaker pioneers. Although the Transylvania Company had purchased the region from the Cherokee, and the Iroquois had ceded it at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, other tribes, such as the Shawnee, still claimed it and lived there.

During the American Civil War, both the Union Army and the Confederate States Army used the Road. An early battle (Camp Wildcat), stymied the first attempt by the Confederates to seize control of neutral Kentucky. The Cumberland Gap changed hands four times throughout the war. The southern armies used the road for marches into Virginia. General Ulysses S. Grant came down the road for the Union campaign in Tennessee in 1864. Grant was so taken by the Road that he said, "With two brigades of the Army of the Cumberland I could hold that pass against the army which Napoleon led to Moscow."

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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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Newport is a city in Campbell County, Kentucky, United States, at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking Rivers. Settled about 1791, Newport was incorporated as a town in 1795 and in 1850 received a city charter. In 1900, 28,301 people lived in Newport, Kentucky; in 1910, 30,309; in 1920, 29,317; and in 1940, 30,631. The population was 17,048 at the 2000 census. It is one of two county seats of Campbell County. Newport is part of the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio Metro Area which comprises over 2 million inhabitants. Today, Newport is becoming the entertainment community of the fast-growing Northern Kentucky area while its neighboring cities--Bellevue and Covington--become the business centers.

Newport is located within a transition zone and is proximal to the extreme northern limit of the humid subtropical climate of the Southeastern United States.

Did you know...

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Kentucky Official Symbols

On this day in Kentucky history...

  • (1899):Beulah Annan, suspected murderer whose story would inspire the musical "Chicago" is born in Owensboro, Kentucky.

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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Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is a 14,000 acre (57 km²) arboretum, forest, and nature preserve located in Clermont, Kentucky (south of Louisville, Kentucky, United States). It was founded in 1929 by Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, a German immigrant and successful brewer whose whiskey distillery business established the I.W. Harper brand. He purchased the land in 1928 at $1 an acre because most of it had been stripped for mining iron ore.

The property includes a 240-acre (0.97 km²) arboretum containing over 1,900 labeled species and cultivars of trees, shrubs, and other plants. The arboretum includes over 185 cultivars of American holly species. Other major collections include maples, crab apples, conifers (including dwarf conifers), oaks, buckeyes, ginkgoes, ornamental pears, and dogwoods. Specific attractions within the arboretum include the sun and shade trail, quiet garden, and garden pavilion.

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Richard Mentor Johnson (October 17, 1780 – November 19, 1850) was the ninth Vice President of the United States, serving in the administration of Martin Van Buren. He was the only vice-president ever elected by the United States Senate under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment. Johnson also represented Kentucky in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and began and ended his political career in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

During his tenure in Congress, Johnson became affiliated with the War Hawks, a group of legislators who clamored for action against the British for the impressment of American sailors. Congress approved war with the British in June 1812, and immediately following the adjournment of the session, Johnson returned to Kentucky where he raised a force of three hundred volunteers. The volunteers divided themselves into three companies and chose Johnson as their leader, granting him the rank of major. When Johnson's men consolidated with another battalion, Johnson was chosen to lead the entire group and was given the rank of colonel. The combined force began a march to Upper Canada, but on learning of the surrender of General William Hull at the Battle of Detroit, the battalion turned and patrolled Indian lines, preventing their advance into American frontier settlements.

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