History of Kentucky
The U.S. State of Kentucky was admitted as the 15th state of the union on June 1st, 1792. Officially, Kentucky is one of four states designated as a “Commonwealth.” Although a state designated with the term does not signify any difference between itself and any other state, it is representative as the region’s strong connection to England and its history as a British Colony.
During the 16th century, the area of modern day Kentucky was home to several well-known Native American tribes like the Iroquois and Algonquin. By the 17th century, after French explorers made their way through Kentucky and documented the local Native American population, the area went largely uninhabited by both Native Americans and Europeans for some time. By the 1700’s, the area of Kentucky was a part of the colony of Virginia. It wasn’t until after the American Revolution, when the United States of America materialized, that the people of Virginia petitioned for Kentucky to break away from Virginia and apply for statehood. After several years and ten constitutional conventions, Kentucky was finally granted permission to break away from Virginia and subsequently, its application for statehood was pushed forward with its official admission to the union on June 1st, 1792.
Present – Kentucky
Currently, Kentucky ranks 37th out of the fifty states in terms of land mass and 26th in terms of population. A 2017 estimate by the United States Census Bureau put the population of Kentucky at 4,454,189, with the largest populations not in its capital of Frankfort, but in central Kentucky, within the Louisville metropolitan area and the city of Lexington.
Aside from its nickname, “The Bluegrass State,” Kentucky is known for its bourbon, fried chicken, horse races, bluegrass music, and college sports. Nearly 95% of the world’s bourbon comes straight from Kentucky and when you pair that with KFC, the world’s second-largest fast food restaurant chain, you could say that Kentucky is a household name.
While Kentucky still boasts a strong agriculture industry, more recently its economy has expanded into the real of auto manufacturing and renewable energy. Nearly 25% of electricity used in the U.S. is dependent on enriched uranium rods produced in Kentucky, along with its two massive coal fields.
Kentucky is currently home to eight publicly funded state universities. The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville are among the top research institutions in the state with their Division I NCAA Basketball teams garnering national attention. In addition to sports, the culture of the state does much to attract visitors and tourists each year. Kentucky maintains a large presence in the arts and cuisine through the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, the St. James Court Art Festival, which is among the largest outdoor art festivals in the nation, the Beer Cheese Festival, and Tater Day, to celebrate the sweet potato in the town of Benton.
Known for its signature Bluegrass genre of music, Kentucky is home to many renowned Bluegrass musicians. Renfro Valley houses the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, where Kentucky’s Country and Bluegrass music scenes got their start. One can be sure when walking through Louisville or Lexington the odds of you hearing some authentic Kentucky Bluegrass tunes are pretty good!