Commonwealth of Kentucky
ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Possibly derived from the Wyandot Indian word Kah-ten-tah-teh (land of tomorrow).
NICKNAME: The Bluegrass State.
ENTERED UNION: 1 June 1792 (15th).
SONG: "My Old Kentucky Home."
MOTTO: United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
FLAG: A simplified version of the state seal on a blue field.
OFFICIAL SEAL: In the center are two men exchanging greetings; above and below them is the state motto. On the periphery are two sprigs of goldenrod and the words "Commonwealth of Kentucky."
TREE: Tulip poplar.
LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January, plus one extra day; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Washington's Birthday, 3rd Monday in February; Good Friday, March or April, half-day holiday; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November, plus one extra day; Christmas Day, 25 December, plus one extra day.
TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT; 6 AM CST = noon GMT.
LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
Located in the eastern south-central United States, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the smallest of the eight south-central states and ranks 37th in size among the 50 states.
The total area of Kentucky is 40,409 sq mi (104,659 sq km), of which land makes up 39,669 sq mi (102,743 sq km) and inland water 740 sq mi (1,917 sq km). Kentucky extends about 350 mi (563 km) e-w; its maximum n-s extension is about 175 mi (282 km).
Kentucky is bordered on the n by Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio (with the line roughly following the north bank of the Ohio River); on the ne by West Virginia (with the line formed by the Big Sandy and Tug Fork rivers); on the se by Virginia; on the s by Tennessee; and on the w by Missouri (separated by the Mississippi River). Because of a double bend in the Mississippi River, about 10 sq mi (26 sq km) of sw Kentucky is separated from the rest of the state by a narrow strip of Missouri.
After 15 years of litigation, Kentucky in 1981 accepted a US Supreme Court decision giving Ohio and Indiana control of at least 100 feet (30 meters) of the Ohio River from the northern shore. This in effect returned Kentucky's border to what it was in 1792, when Kentucky entered the Union.
The total boundary length of Kentucky is 1,290 mi (2,076 km). The state's geographic center is in Marion County, 3 mi (5 km) nw of Lebanon.
The eastern quarter of the state is dominated by the Cumberland Plateau, on the western border of the Appalachians. At its western edge, the plateau meets the uplands of the Lexington Plain (known as the Bluegrass region) to the north and the hilly Pennyroyal to the south. These two regions, which together make up nearly half the state's area, are separated by a narrow curving plain known as the Knobs because of the shapes of its eroded hills. The most level area of the state consists of the western coalfields bounded by the Pennyroyal to the east and the Ohio River to the north. In the far west are the coastal plains of the Mississippi River; this region is commonly known as the Purchase, having been purchased from the Chickasaw Indians.
The highest point in Kentucky is Black Mountain on the southeastern boundary in Harlan County, at 4,139 ft (2,162 m). The lowest point is 257 ft (78 m), along the Mississippi River in Fulton County. The state's mean altitude is 750 ft (229 m).
The only large lakes in Kentucky are artificial. The biggest is Cumberland Lake (79 sq mi/205 sq km); Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, and Dale Hollow Lake straddle the border with Tennessee.
Including the Ohio and Mississippi rivers on its borders and the tributaries of the Ohio, Kentucky claims at least 3,000 mi (4,800 km) of navigable rivers—sometimes said to have more water than any other state except Alaska. Among the most important of Kentucky's rivers are the Kentucky, 259 mi (417 km); the Cumberland, partly in Tennessee; the Tennessee, also in Tennessee and Alabama; and the Big Sandy, Green, Licking, and Tradewater rivers. All, except for a portion of the Cumberland, flow northwest into the Ohio and thence to the Mississippi. Completion in 1985 of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, linking the Tennessee and Tombigbee rivers in Alabama, gave Kentucky's Appalachian coalfields direct water access to the Gulf of Mexico for the first time.
Drainage through porous limestone rock has honeycombed much of the Pennyroyal with underground passages, the best known of which is Mammoth Cave, now a national park. The Cumberland Falls, 92 ft (28 m) high and 100 ft (30 m) wide, are located in Whitely County.
Kentucky has a moderate, relatively humid climate, with abundant rainfall.
The southern and lowland regions are slightly warmer than the uplands. In Louisville, the normal monthly average temperature ranges from 33°f (1°c) in January to 78°f (25°c) in July. The record high for the state was 114°f (46°c), registered in Greensburg on 28 July 1930; the record low, −37°f (−40°c), in Shelbyville on 19 January 1994.
Average daily relative humidity in Louisville ranges from 58% to 81%. The average annual precipitation at Louisville is about 43.6 in (110 cm); snowfall totals about 16 in (41 cm) a year.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Kentucky's forests are mostly of the oak/hickory variety, with some beech/maple stands. Four species of magnolia are found, and the tulip poplar, eastern hemlock, and eastern white pine are also common; the distinctive "knees" of the cypress may be seen along riverbanks. Kentucky's famed bluegrass is said to be actually blue only in May when dwarf iris and wild columbine are in bloom. Rare plants include the swamp loosestrife and showy gentian. In April 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed eight Kentucky plant species as threatened or endangered, including Braun's rock-cress, Cumberland sandwort, running buffalo clover, and Short's goldenrod.
Game mammals include the raccoon, muskrat, opossum, mink, gray and red foxes, and beaver; the eastern chipmunk and flying squirrel are common small mammals. At least 300 bird species have been recorded, of which 200 are common. Blackbirds are a serious pest, with some roosts numbering 5-6 million; more desirable avian natives include the cardinal (the state bird), robin, and brown thrasher, while eagles are winter visitors. More than 100 types of fish have been identified.
Rare animal species include the swamp rabbit, black bear, raven (Corvus corax), and mud darter. In April 2006, a total of 31 animal species occurring within the state (vertebrates and invertebrates) were on the threatened and endangered species list of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. These included three species of bat (Indiana, Virginia big-eared, and gray), the bald eagle, puma, piping plover, Kentucky cave shrimp, and three species of pearly mussel.
The National Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet, with broad responsibility, includes the departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection, and Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, as well as the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. The Environmental Quality Commission, created in 1972 to serve as a watchdog over environmental concerns, is a citizen's group of seven members appointed by the governor.
The most serious environmental concern in Kentucky is repairing and minimizing damage to land and water from strip-mining. Efforts to deal with such damage are relatively recent. The state has had a strip-mining law since 1966, but the first comprehensive attempts at control did not begin until the passage in 1977 of the Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
Also active in environmental matters is the Department of Environmental Protection, consisting of four divisions. The Division of Water administers the state's Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water acts and regulation of sewage disposal. The Division of Waste Management oversees solid waste disposal systems in the state. The Air Pollution Control Division monitors industrial discharges into the air and other forms of air pollution. Most air pollution has declined since the 1970s, with lead air concentrations down by 97% since 1970. A special division is concerned with Maxey Flats, a closed nuclear waste disposal facility in Fleming County, where leakage of radioactive materials was discovered.
There are 15 major dams in Kentucky, and more than 900 other dams. Flooding is a chronic problem in southeastern Kentucky, where strip-mining has exacerbated soil erosion.
In 2003, Kentucky had 149 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 14 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including Maxey Flats Nuclear Disposal in Hillsboro. In 2005, the EPA spent over $1.8 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $16.8 million for the state clean water revolving fund program and $3.4 million for implementation of nonpoint source management programs. In 2003, 90.6 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state.
Kentucky ranked 26th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 4,173,405 in 2005, an increase of 3.2% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Kentucky's population grew from 3,685,296 to 4,041,769, an increase of 9.7%. The population was projected to reach 4.35 million by 2015 and 4.48 million by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 104.7 persons per sq mi.
In 2004 the median age was 37.3. Persons under 18 years old accounted for 23.6% of the population while 12.5% was age 65 or older.
During the early decades of settlement, population grew rapidly, from a few hundred in 1780 to 564,317 in 1820, by which time Kentucky was the sixth most populous state. By 1900, however, when the population was 2,147,174, growth had slowed considerably. For most of the 20th century, Kentucky's growth rate was significantly slower than the national average.
As of 2004, Louisville-Jefferson County had an estimated population of about 556,332. Lexington-Fayette had an estimated population of 266,358. The population of the Louisville (Kentucky-Indiana) metropolitan area was estimated at 1,200,847; the Lexington metropolitan area had 424,661.
Though a slave state, Kentucky never depended on a plantation economy. In 1830, almost 25% of the population was black. After the Civil War, a lack of jobs and migration to the industrial cities of the Midwest in the 1890s may have accounted for a dwindling black population. In 2000 the black population of Kentucky was relatively low at 295,994 (7.3%). In 2004, 7.5% of the population was black. Kentucky was a center of the American (or Know-Nothing) Party, a pre-Civil War movement whose majority were staunchly anti-immigration and anti-Catholic. With relatively little opportunity for industrial employment, Kentucky attracted small numbers of foreign immigrants in the 19th and 20th cen-turies. The state had 80,271 foreign-born residents in 2000 (2% of the total population), up from 34,119 in 1990. Among persons reporting a single ancestry in the 2000 census, a total of 391,542 claimed English descent, 514,955 German, 424,133 Irish, and 66,147 French.
In 2000, the Asian population was estimated at 29,744, and the American Indian population was estimated at 8,616. The 2000 census reported 3,818 Koreans, 6,771 Asian Indians (up from 2,367 in 1990), 3,683 Japanese, 3,596 Vietnamese (up from 1,340 in 1990), and 5,397 Chinese (up from 3,137). In 2004, 0.9% of the population was Asian, and American Indians accounted for 0.2% of the population. In 2000, a total of 59,939 (1.5%) state residents were Hispanic or Latino, up from 33,000 (0.8%) in 1990, with 31,385 reporting Mexican ancestry and 6,469 Puerto Rican ancestry. In 2004, 1.9% of the population was of Hispanic or Latino origin. Pacific Islanders numbered 1,460 in 2000. In 2004, 1% of the population reported origin of two or more races.
Kentucky was a fought-over hunting ground for Ohio Shawnee, Carolina Cherokee, and Mississippi Chickawaw Indians. Place-names from this heritage include Etowah (Cherokee) and Paducah (Chickasaw).
Speech patterns in the state generally reflect the first settlers' Virginia and Kentucky backgrounds. South Midland features are best preserved in the mountains, but some common to Midland and Southern are widespread.
Other regional features are typically both South Midland and Southern. After a vowel, the /r/ may be weak or missing. Coop has the vowel of put, but root rhymes with boot. In southern Kentucky, earthworms are redworms, a burlap bag a tow sack or the Southern grass sack, and green beans snap beans. A young man may carry, not escort, his girlfriend to a party. Subregional terms appear in abundance. In the east, kindling is pine, a seesaw is a ridyhorse, and the freestone peach is an openstone peach. In central Kentucky, a moth is a candlefly.
In 2000, 96.1% of all residents five years old and older spoke only English at home, down from 97.5% in 1990.
The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Other West Germanic languages" includes Dutch, Pennsylvania Dutch, and Afrikaans.
|Population 5 years and over||3,776,230||100.0|
|Speak only English||3,627,757||96.1|
|Speak a language other than English||148,473||3.9|
|Speak a language other than English||148,473||3.9|
|Spanish or Spanish Creole||70,061||1.9|
|French (incl. Patois, Cajun)||12,499||0.3|
|Other West Germanic languages||3,616||0.1|
Throughout its history, Kentucky has been predominantly Protestant. A group of New Light Baptists who, in conflict with established churches in Virginia, immigrated to Kentucky under the leadership of Lewis Craig and built the first church in the state in 1781, near Lancaster. The first Methodist Church was established near Danville in 1783; within a year, Roman Catholics had also built a church, and a presbytery of 12 churches had been organized. There were 42 churches in Kentucky by the time of statehood, with a total membership of 3,095.
Beginning in the last few years of the 18th century, the Great Revival sparked a new religious fervor among Kentuckians, a development that brought the Baptists and Methodists many new members. The revival, which had begun among the Presbyterians, led to a schism in that sect. Presbyterian minister Barton W. Stone organized what turned out to be the era's largest frontier revival meeting, at Cane Ridge (near Paris), in August 1801. Differences over doctrine led Stone and his followers to withdraw from the Synod of Kentucky in 1803, and they formed their own church, called simply "Christian." The group later formed an alliance with the sect now known as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
As of 2000, Evangelical Protestantism was predominant with the single largest denomination within the state being the Southern Baptist Convention with 979,994 adherents; there were 17,528 new baptized members in 2002. The next largest Protestant denomination is the United Methodist Church, which had 208,720 adherents in 2000, but reported only 152,727 members in 2003. The Christian Churches and Churches of Christ had 106,638 adherents in 2000 and the Roman Catholic Church had about 382,042 members in 2004. There were an estimated 11,350 Jews in Kentucky in 2000 and about 4,696 Muslims. Over 1.8 million people (46.6% of the population) were not counted as members of any religious organization in the 2000 survey.
Statewide transportation developed slowly in Kentucky. Although freight and passengers were carried by river and later by rail during the 19th century, mountains and lack of good roads made land travel in eastern Kentucky so arduous that the region was for a long time effectively isolated from the rest of the state.
The first railroad in Kentucky, the Lexington and Ohio, opened on 15 August 1832 with a 26-mi (42-km) route from Lexington to Frankfort. Not until 1851 did the railroad reach the Ohio River. In November 1859, Louisville was connected with Nashville, Tennessee, by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad; heavily used by the Union, it was well maintained during the Civil War. Railroad construction increased greatly after the conflict ended. By 1900, Kentucky had three times the track mileage it had in 1870. As of 2003, Kentucky had 2,823 rail mi (4,545 km), of which 2,299 miles were Class I track. In that same year, there were five Class I railroads operating in the state. Coal was the top commodity originating in the state shipped by the railroads. Rail service to the state, nearly all of which was freight, was provided by 15 railroads. As of 2006, there were four Amtrak stations in Kentucky.
The trails of Indians and buffalo became the first roads in Kentucky. Throughout the 19th century, counties called on their citi-zens to maintain some roads although maintenance was haphazard. The best roads were the toll roads. This system came to an end as a result of the "tollgate war" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries—a rebellion in which masked Kentuckians, demanding free roads, raided tollgates and assaulted their keepers. Not until 1909, however, was a constitutional prohibition against the spending of state funds on highways abolished. In 1912, a state highway commission was created, and by 1920, roads had improved considerably. In 2004, Kentucky had 77,366 mi (124,559 km) of public roads and 2.8 million licensed drivers. In that same year, there were some 1.855 million automobiles, about 1.415 million trucks of all types, and around 2,000 buses registered in the state.
Until displaced by the railroads in the late 1800s, the Ohio River and its tributaries, along with the Mississippi, were Kentucky's primary commercial routes for trade with the South and the West. The Kentucky Port and River Development Commission was created by the legislature in 1966 to promote river transportation. Louisville, on the Ohio River, is the chief port. In 2004, traffic through the port totaled 7.799 million tons. Paducah is the outlet port for traffic on the Tennessee River. In that same year, Kentucky had 1,591 mi (2,561 km) of navigable inland waterways. In 2003, waterborne shipments totaled 99.332 million tons.
In 2005, Kentucky had a total of 208 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 149 airports, 58 heliports, and 1 STOLport (Short Take-Off and Landing). The largest of these was Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, with 10,864,547 enplanements in 2004, making it the 22nd-busiest airport in the United States.
Six distinctive Indian cultures inhabited the region now known as Kentucky. The earliest nomadic hunters occupied the land for several thousand years, and were followed by the seminomadic Woodland and Adena cultures (1000 bc-ad 1000). Remains of the Mississippian and Fort Ancient peoples (ad 1000–1650) indicate that they were farmers and hunters who often dwelled in stockaded villages, subsisting on plentiful game and fish supplemented by crops of beans, corn, and squash.
No Indian nations resided in central and eastern Kentucky when these areas were first explored by British-American surveyors Thomas Walker and Christopher Gist in 1750 and 1751. The dominant Shawnee and Cherokee tribes utilized the region as a hunting ground, returning to homes in the neighboring territories of Ohio and Tennessee. Early descriptions of Kentucky generated considerable excitement about the fertile land and abundant wildlife. The elimination of French influence after the French and Indian War intensified pressures to open the region to American settlement—pressures that were initially thwarted by Britain's Proclamation of 1763, barring such western migration until Native American interests could be protected. This artificial barrier proved impossible to maintain, however, and the first permanent white settlement in Kentucky was finally established at Harrodstown (now Harrodsburg) in 1774 by a group of settlers from Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The most ambitious settlement scheme involved the Transylvania Land Company, a creation of North Carolina speculator Richard Henderson, assisted by the famed woodsman Daniel Boone. Henderson purchased a huge tract of land in central Kentucky from the Cherokee and established Fort Boonesborough. The first political meeting by whites in Kentucky, held at Fort Boonesborough on 23 May 1775, provided for rule by the Transylvania proprietors and a representative assembly. Henderson then sought approval for creation of a 14th colony, but the plan was blocked by Virginians determined to claim Kentucky as a possession of the Old Dominion. On 1 December 1776, the new state of Virginia incorporated its new County of Kentucky.
Kentucky's image soon changed from "western Eden" to "dark and bloody ground," as it became the scene of frequent clashes between Ohio-based Indians and the growing number of white settlements dotting the central Bluegrass region. Nevertheless, immigrants continued to come westward, down the Ohio River and through the Cumberland Gap. Kentucky became the principal conduit for migration into the Mississippi Valley. By the late 1780s, settlements were gaining in population, wealth, and maturity, and it was obvious that Kentucky could not long remain under the proprietorship of distant Virginia. Virginia yielded permission for the drafting of a Kentucky state constitution, and in June 1792, Kentucky entered the Union as the 15th state.
Over the next several decades, Kentucky prospered because of its diverse agricultural and processing industries. Although there were 225,483 slaves in the state in 1860, Kentucky was spared the evils of one-crop plantation agriculture. Nevertheless, its economy was tightly linked to the lower South's, a tie facilitated by the completion in 1829 of a canal around the Ohio River falls at Louisville. Hemp was one such connection; the plant was the principal source of rope and bagging used to bind cotton bales. Kentucky was also a major supplier of hogs, mules, workhorses, prepared meats, salt, flour, and corn for the plantation markets of the South. The state became a center for breeding and racing fine thoroughbred horses, an industry that thrives today on Bluegrass horse farms as virtually the state symbol. More important was the growing and processing of tobacco, an enterprise accounting for half the agricultural income of Kentucky farmers by 1860. Finally, whiskey began to be produced in vast quantities by the 1820s, culminating in the standardization of a fine, aged amber-red brew known throughout the world as bourbon, after Bourbon County.
Despite this economic development, several social and cultural problems disturbed the state. Much of the agricultural productivity came from farms employing slave labor, while the less affluent majority of white families often dwelled on less fertile upland farms. Efforts were repeatedly made to consider the slavery question. Leaders such as Henry Clay, Reverend Robert J. Breckinridge, and the fiery antislavery advocate Cassius Marcellus Clay urged an end to the "peculiar institution." Because of racial phobias and hostility to "Yankee meddling," the appeal was rejected. During the Civil War, Kentuckians were forced to choose sides between the Union, led in the north by Kentucky native Abraham Lincoln, and the Confederacy, led in the South by Kentucky native Jefferson Davis.
Although the state legislature finally opted for the Union side, approximately 30,000 men went south to Confederate service, while up to 100,000—including nearly 24,000 black soldiers—served in the Union army. For four years the state was torn with conflict over the collapse of slavery and wracked with guerrilla warfare and partisan feuds. Vigilantism and abuse of black people continued into the turbulent Reconstruction period, until legisla-tive changes in the early 1870s began to restrain Ku Klux Klan violence and bring increased civil rights to black people.
The decades to 1900 saw other progress. Aided by liberal tax exemptions, railroad construction increased threefold, and development of timber and coal reserves began in eastern Kentucky. Industrial employment and productivity increased by more than 200%, drawing rural folk into the growing cities of Louisville and Lexington. In 1900, Kentucky ranked first among Southern states in per capita income.
An economic and political crisis was developing, however, that would send shock waves across the state. Farmers, especially western Kentucky "dark leaf" tobacco farmers, were feeling the brunt of a prolonged price depression. The major national farm protest movements—the Grange, the Farmers' Alliance, and the Populist Party—all found support here, for by 1900 a third of all Kentucky farmers were landless tenants, and the size of the average family farm had fallen below 10 acres (4 hectares). Calls for currency inflation, reform of corporate monopolies, and improved rights for industrial workers reached a climax in the gubernatorial election of 1899. Republican William S. Taylor narrowly defeated the more reform-minded Democrat William Goebel and was sworn into office. Democrats, claiming electoral fraud, instituted a recount. On 30 January 1900, Goebel, a state senator, was shot while approaching the capitol; as he lingered near death, the legislature, controlled by Democrats, declared him governor. Goebel died immediately thereafter, and his lieutenant governor, J. C. W. Beckham, was administered the oath of office. Further bloodshed was averted, the courts upheld the Goebel-Beckham election, and "Governor" Taylor fled the state.
Goebel's assassination weighed heavily, however. The state was polarized, outside investment plummeted, and Kentucky fell into a prolonged economic and moral depression. By 1940, the state ranked last among the 48 states in per capita income and was burdened by an image of clan feuding and homicide, poverty, and provincial courthouse politics. The Great Depression hit the state hard, though an end to Prohibition revived the dormant whiskey industry.
|Kentucky Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 1948–2004|
|YEAR||ELECTORAL VOTE||KENTUCKY WINNER||DEMOCRAT||REPUBLICAN||STATES' RIGHTS DEMOCRAT||PROHIBITION||PROGRESSIVE||SOCIALIST|
|*Won US presidential election|
|AMERICAN IND.||SOC. WORKERS|
|2000||8||*Bush, G. W. (R)||638,898||872,492||—||4,173||2,896||23,192|
|WRITE-IN (Brown)||CONSTITUTION (Peroutka)||INDEPENDENT (Nader)|
|2004||8||*Bush, G. W. (R)||712,733||1,069,439||13||2,213||2,619||8,856|
Kentucky changed greatly after World War II. Between 1945 and 1980, the farm population decreased by 76% and the number of farms by 53%. In later decades, after tobacco was revealed to be a public health hazard, many farmers turned to raising other crops. Although Kentucky remained relatively poor, positive change was evident even in rural communities—the result of better roads, education, and government programs. The state's poverty rate fell steadily over the decades, from 22.9% in 1969 to 13.5% in 1998, when it ranked as the 18th-poorest state in the nation (a great improvement from earlier in the century). However, in 2003–04, the state's poverty rate had increased to 16%, up from 14.3% in 2002–03. The national poverty rate in 2003–04 was 12.6%.
In response to lawsuits by a coalition of school districts, Kentucky's supreme court ruled in 1990 that the state's public education system was unconstitutional and ordered the legislature to design a new system of school funding and administration. In response, the Kentucky Education Reform Act was passed that year and implemented over the next five years. But more questions regarding the constitutionality of school programs, or prospective programs, lay ahead. By 2000 legislators were considering a proposal that would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in classrooms, alongside other historical documents. The proposal was part of a larger movement that urged officials to allow public schools to teach the role of religion in American history and culture. At the same time, many Kentuckians supported the return of prayer to schools. By 2003, federal judges had ordered the Ten Commandments be removed from school classrooms and court-houses in several Kentucky counties, ruling that the postings of the commandments had violated the separation between church and state.
The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant was a point of concern for state environmentalists in 2000. Senior Kentucky environmental officials complained that the US Department of Energy (DOE) had used security clearances to prevent state environmental inspectors from getting full access to the plant, which enriches uranium for nuclear-reactor fuel. The plant was also the site of a massive cleanup effort in 2000, as DOE officials crushed drums that once contained uranium. Critics charged that the drums had been left in the open for decades and rain water had washed radioactivity into the environment.
Republican Ernie Fletcher was elected governor in 2003. By 2005 he had set about to make Kentucky more business-friendly, to create a flexible tax code, encourage healthy lifestyles (the governor is a physician), provide for quality education for Kentucky's children, and improve the transportation infrastructure. He reorganized the state government, eliminating some cabinet positions, and worked to make sure state resources were being used efficiently.
Kentucky's current and fourth constitution was adopted on 28 September 1891. By January 2005, it had been amended 41 times. Earlier constitutions were adopted in 1792, 1799, and 1850.
The state legislature, called the General Assembly, consists of the House of Representatives, which has 100 members elected for two-year terms, and the Senate, with 38 members elected for staggered four-year terms. A constitutional amendment approved by the voters in November 1979 provided for the election of legislators in even-numbered years, a change scheduled for completion by November 1988. The assembly meets in regular sessions of no more than 60 legislative days, beginning Tuesday after the first Monday in January of each even-numbered year. Only the governor may call special sessions, which are not limited in length. Except for revenue-raising measures, which must be introduced in the House of Representatives, either chamber may introduce or amend a bill. Most bills may be passed by voting majorities equal to at least two-fifths of the membership of each house. Measures requiring an absolute majority in each house include those that appropriate money or create a debt or enact emergency measures to take effect immediately. Proposed amendments to the constitution require a three-fifths vote of each house. A majority of the members of each house is required to override the governor's veto. If the governor neither vetoes nor signs a bill, it becomes law after 10 days when the legislature is in session, and 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature when it is not in session.
A member of the Senate must have been a citizen of Kentucky for six years preceding election, a representative for two. A senator must be at least 30 years old and a representative at least 24 years old. Legislators must have been residents in their districts for at least one year prior to election. The constitutional limit of $12,000 for salaries of public officials, which is thought to apply to legislators, has been interpreted by the courts in terms of 1949 dollars and thus may be increased considerably—and has been. In 2004 most legislators in Kentucky probably received less than $14,000 per year based on per diem in-session salaries of $166.34.
The elected executive officers of Kentucky are the governor and lieutenant governor (elected jointly), secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, auditor of public accounts, and commissioner of agriculture. All serve four-year terms; a constitutional amendment allows a second term for those offices. The governor and lieutenant governor must be at least 30 years old, US citizens, and citizens and residents of Kentucky for six years. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $127,146.
A three-fifths majority of each house plus a voting majority of the electorate must approve any proposed constitutional amendment. Before a constitutional convention may be called, two regular sessions of the General Assembly must approve it, and the call must be ratified at the polls by a majority voting on the proposal and equal to at last one-fourth the number of voters who cast ballots in the last general election.
To vote in Kentucky, one must be a US citizen, be at least 18 years old, have been a resident in the county for at least 28 days prior to election day, and not able to claim the right to vote elsewhere. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.
A rift was created in Kentucky politics by the presidential election of 1824, which had to be determined in the US House of Representatives because neither John Quincy Adams nor Andrew Jackson won a majority of the Electoral College. Representative Henry Clay voted for Adams, despite orders by the Kentucky General Assembly to support Jackson, thereby splitting the state into two factions: supporters of Clay, who became Whigs, and supporters of Jackson, who became Democrats. The Whigs dominated Kentucky politics until Clay's death in 1852, after which, as the Whigs divided over slavery, most Kentuckians turned first to the Native American (or Know-Nothing) Party and then to the Democrats. Regional divisions in party affiliation during the Civil War era, according to sympathy with the South and slavery (Democrats) or with the Union and abolition (Republicans), have persisted in the state's voting patterns. In general, the poorer mountain areas tend to vote Republican, while the more affluent lowlanders in the Bluegrass and Pennyroyal tend to vote Democratic.
Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush won the state by large margins in both 2000 and 2004—57% to Democrat Al Gore's 41% (2000) and 59.5% to Democrat John Kerry's 39.7% (2004). In 2004 there were 2,819,000 registered voters. In 1998, 61% of registered voters were Democratic, 32% Republican, and 7% unaffiliated or members of other parties. The state had eight electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election.
In 1983, Martha Layne Collins, a Democrat, defeated Republican candidate Jim Bunning to become Kentucky's first woman governor. Republican Ernie Fletcher was elected governor in 2003. In mid-2005, Republicans held 21 seats in the state Senate, Democrats held 15; and an Independent held 1. The Democrats dominated the House of Representatives, with 57 seats to the Republicans' 43. At the national level, Kentucky was represented by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, reelected in 2002; and Republican Senator Jim Bunning, first elected in 1998 and reelected in 2004. As of 2004, Kentucky voters had elected five Republicans and one Democrat to the US House.
The form of Kentucky's county government is of English origin. The chief governing body is the fiscal court, consisting of the county judge and district magistrates or commissioners. Other elected officials are the sheriff, jailer, attorney, and court clerk. All are elected for four-year terms. As of 2005, the state had 120 counties.
In 2005, Kentucky had 424 municipalities. Cities are assigned by the state's General Assembly to six classes, based on population. The two largest cities, categorized as first-class, are Louisville and Lexington. The mayor or other chief executive officer in the top three classes must be elected; in the bottom classes, the executive may be either elected by the people or appointed by a city council or commission. Mayors serve four-year terms; members of city legislative boards, also provided for in the state constitution, are generally elected for terms of two years.
Other units of local government in Kentucky include special districts (720 in 2005), such as districts for sewer and flood control and area-development districts for regional planning. The state had 176 public school districts in 2005.
In 2005, local government accounted for about 159,190 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.
To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Kentucky operates under executive order; the homeland security director is designated as the state homeland security advisor.
Educational services are provided through the Department of Education. The Council on Postsecondary Education oversees the state-supported colleges, universities, and technical schools. The Human Rights Commission and the Commission on Women are administered by the governor's office. Transportation services are administered by the Transportation Cabinet. Health, welfare, and other human services are provided primarily by the Health and Family Services Cabinet. Among the agencies that provide public protection services are the Department of Military Affairs, the Public Protection Department, and the Consumer Protection and Education Division. Corrections and parole were transferred in 1981 from the Department of Justice to the Corrections Department. The Department of State Police is part of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.
Housing rights for members of minority groups are provided by the Commission on Human Rights. The Cabinet for Economic Development oversees industrial and community development programs. Also assisting in community development are programs within the Office of Local Government, which was organized as an independent agency of the office of the governor in 1982.
Natural resource protection services are provided by the separate departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, and by the Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement. The Commerce Cabinet deals with Kentucky's parks, tourism, cultural heritage, and arts.
Labor services are administered by the Labor Department; its areas of concern include labor-management relations, occupational safety and health, and occupational injury and disease compensation. Other cabinets include those for finance and administration and personnel.
In accordance with a constitutional amendment approved in 1975 and fully implemented in 1978, judicial power in Kentucky is vested in a unified court of justice. The highest court is the Kentucky Supreme Court, consisting of a chief justice and six associate justices. It has appellate jurisdiction and also bears responsibility for the budget and administration of the entire system. Justices are elected from seven supreme court districts for terms of eight years; they elect one of their number to serve for the remaining term as chief justice.
The Court of Appeals consists of 14 judges, 2 elected from each supreme court district. The court divides itself into panels of at least 3 judges that may sit anywhere in the state. The judges also serve eight-year terms and elect one of their number to serve a four-year term as chief judge.
Circuit courts, with original and appellate jurisdiction, are held in each county. There are 56 judicial circuits. Circuit court judges are elected for terms of eight years. In 1999, there were 108 circuit court judges. In circuits with more than one judge, the judges elect one of their number as chief judge for a two-year term. Under the revised judicial system, district courts, which have limited and original jurisdiction, replaced various local and county courts. There is no mandatory retirement age.
As of 31 December 2004, a total of 17,814 prisoners were held in Kentucky's state and federal prisons, an increase from 16,622 of 7.2% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 1,560 inmates were female, up from 1,411 or 10.6% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Kentucky had an incarceration rate of 412 per 100,000 population in 2004.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Kentucky in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 244.9 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 10,152 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 105,209 reported incidents or 2,537.7 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Kentucky has a death penalty, of which lethal injection is the sole method of execution for those sentenced after 31 March 1998. Inmates sentenced prior to that date may select lethal injection or electrocution. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state has executed only two persons. There were no executions in 2005 or 2006 (as of 5 May). As of 1 January 2006, Kentucky had 37 inmates on death row.
In the past, Kentucky had a reputation for lawlessness. In 1890, more homicides were reported in Kentucky than in any other state except New York. Blood feuds among Kentucky families were notorious throughout the country. However, crime rates have diminished to a comparatively low level.
In 2003, Kentucky spent $144,012,593 on homeland security, an average of $35 per state resident.
The US Department of Defense had 22,861 personnel in Kentucky in 2004, including 17,039 active-duty military and 3,762 civilians. US Army installations in the state include Ft. Knox (site of the US gold depository) near Louisville, and Ft. Campbell (partly in Tennessee). Kentucky received $4.1 billion in prime federal defense contracts in 2004, and $2.4 billion in defense payroll spending.
There were 359,845 veterans of US military service in Kentucky as of 2003, of whom 46,266 served in World War II; 40,025 in the Korean conflict; 111,844 during the Vietnam era; and 57,006 during the Gulf War. Expenditures on Kentucky veterans amounted to more than $1.0 billion in 2004.
As of 31 October 2004, the Kentucky State Police employed 943 full-time sworn officers.
During the frontier period, Kentucky first attracted settlers from eastern states, especially Virginia and North Carolina. Prominent among early foreign immigrants were people of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry, who tended to settle in the Kentucky highlands, which resembled their Old World homelands.
Kentucky's black population increased rapidly during the first 40 years of statehood. By the 1830s, however, slavery had become less profitable in the state, and many Kentucky owners either moved to the Deep South or sold their slaves to new owners in that region. During the 1850s, nearly 16% of Kentucky's slave population—more than 43,000 blacks—were sold or moved from the state. A tiny percentage of Kentucky's blacks, probably fewer than 200, emigrated to Liberia under the auspices of the Kentucky Colonization Society.
The waves of European immigration that inundated many states during the late 19th century left Kentucky virtually untouched. In 1890, Kentucky's population was nearly 98% native-born. At that time, there were more than 284,000 blacks in the state—a number that was to fall precipitously until the 1950s because of migration to industrial cities in the Midwest.
Until the early 1970s there was a considerable out-migration of whites, especially from eastern Kentucky to industrial areas of Ohio, Indiana, and other nearby states. The state's net loss to migration from 1960 to 1970 totaled 153,000 persons. This tide of out-migration was temporarily reversed during the 1970s, with Kentucky recording a net migration gain of 131,000 persons. From 1980 to 1990, net loss to migration totaled about 22,000. Between 1990 and 1998, Kentucky had net gains of 90,000 in domestic migration and 14,000 in international migration. In 1998, 2,017 foreign immigrants arrived in the state. Between 1990 and 1998, Kentucky's overall population increased 6.8%. In the period 2000–05, net international migration was 27,435 and net internal migration was 32,169, for a net gain of 59,604 people.
Among the many interstate regional commissions in which Kentucky participates are the Breaks Interstate Park Compact with Virginia, Appalachian Regional Commission, Interstate Mining Compact Commission, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact, Southern Growth Policies Board, Ohio River Basin Commission, Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, Southeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact, Southern Regional Energy Board, Southern States Energy Board, and Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority. Kentucky also participates in the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Council of State Governments, founded in 1925 to foster interstate cooperation, has its headquarters in Lexington. Kentucky received $5.251 billion in federal grants in fiscal year 2005, an estimated $5.555 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $5.647 billion in federal grants in fiscal year 2007.
Between statehood and the Civil War, Kentucky was one of the preeminent agricultural states, partly because of good access to river transportation down the Ohio and the Mississippi to southern markets. Coal mining had become an important part of the economy by the late 19th century. Although agriculture is still important in Kentucky, manufacturing has grown rapidly since World War II and was, by the mid-1980s, the most important sector of the economy as a source of both employment and personal income. Kentucky leads the nation in the production of bituminous coal and whiskey, and ranks second in tobacco output.
In contrast to the generally prosperous Bluegrass area and the growing industrial cities, eastern Kentucky, highly dependent on coal mining, has long been one of the poorest regions in the United States. Beginning in the early 1960s, both the state and federal governments undertook programs to combat poverty in Appalachian Kentucky. Personal income is much lower, and unemployment higher, than in the rest of the state. In 1997, 38 of the 49 Appalachian counties received Local Government Economic Development Fund (LGEDF) aid from the coal severance tax. The Kentucky Rural Development Act, covering all 49 Appalachian counties, gives liberal tax incentives to new manufacturing startups in those areas that have had higher unemployment rates than the state during the previous five years, or a have current rate that is at least twice the state average. During the 1990s, declines in Kentucky's traditional sectors—tobacco, textiles, apparel, and coal mining—was compensated for by job growth in motor vehicle manufacturing, fabricated metals, appliances, and other durable goods. The establishment of a major UPS hub in Kentucky plus growth in agricultural research and commercialization activity helped further the state's economic transformation. Manufactures reached more than 27.5% of gross state product by 1998, when overall growth reached 6%. Growth in 1999 and 2000 averaged 4.35%, and then dropped to 2.6% in 2001 in the context of the national recession. Manufacturing output, which had grown 10.6% from 1997 to 2000, fell 1.9% in 2001, and to 25.2% as a percent of total state output. In 2002, job losses in manufacturing slowed while employment in service-producing sectors strengthened. Kentucky was one of only five states where employment grew more than 1% in 2002.
Kentucky's gross state product (GSP) in 2004 totaled $136.446 billion, of which manufacturing contributed the largest portion at $28.708 billion (21% of GSP), followed by real estate at $12.306 billion (9% of GSP), and health care and social services at $10.484 billion (7.6% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 317,115 small businesses in Kentucky. Of the 83,046 businesses that had employees, a total of 80,595 or 97% were small companies. An estimated 8,807 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 8% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 8,597, down 20.4% from 2003. There were 319 business bankruptcies in 2004, down 2.4% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 722 filings per 100,000 people, ranking Kentucky 11th in the nation.
In 2005 Kentucky had a gross state product (GSP) of $140 billion which accounted for 1.1% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 27 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Kentucky had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $27,265. This ranked 44th in the United States and was 82% of the national average of $33,050. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.1%. Kentucky had a total personal income (TPI) of $112,925,244,000, which ranked 27th in the United States and reflected an increase of 5.7% from 2003. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 4.9%. Earnings of persons employed in Kentucky increased from $81,381,470,000 in 2003 to $85,767,091,000 in 2004, an increase of 5.4%. The 2003–04 national change was 6.3%.
The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 2002–04 in 2004 dollars was $37,396, compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 15.4% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Kentucky numbered 2,022,000, with approximately 123,600 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 6.1%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 1,843,500. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Kentucky was 12.1% in December 1982. The historical low was 4% in March 2000. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 4.7% of the labor force was employed in construction; 14.1% in manufacturing; 20.7% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 4.8% in financial activities; 9.4% in professional and business services; 12.9% in education and health services; 9.2% in leisure and hospitality services; and 17% in government.
Although a small number of trade unions existed in Kentucky before the 1850s, it was not until after the Civil War that substantial unionization took place. During the 1930s, there were long, violent struggles between the United Mine Workers (UMW) and the mine owners of eastern Kentucky. The UMW won bargaining rights in 1938, but after World War II, the displacement of workers because of mechanization, a drastic drop in the demand for coal, and evidence of mismanagement and corruption within the UMW served to undercut the union's position. Following the announcement by the UMW in 1962 that its five hospitals would be sold or closed, unemployed mine workers began protracted picketing of nonunion mines. Episodes of violence accompanied the movement, which succeeded in closing the mines but not in keeping them closed. The protests dissipated when public works jobs were provided for unemployed fathers among the miners, beginning in late 1973. Increased demand for coal in the 1970s led to a substantial increase in jobs for miners, and the UMW, under different leaders, began a new drive to organize the Cumberland Plateau.
The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2005, a total of 164,000 of Kentucky's 1,696,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 9.7% of those so employed, up from 9.6% in 2004, but still below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 184,000 workers (10.8%) in Kentucky were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Kentucky is one of 28 states that do not have a right-to-work law.
As of 1 March 2006, Kentucky had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 45.1% of the employed civilian labor force.
With cash receipts totaling $3.9 billion—$1.2 million from crops and $2.7 billion from livestock—Kentucky ranked 24th among the 50 states in farm marketings in 2005.
Kentucky tobacco, first marketed in New Orleans in 1787, quickly became the state's most important crop. Kentucky ranked first among tobacco-producing states until it gave way to North Carolina in 1929. Corn has long been one of the state's most important crops, not only for livestock feed but also as a major ingredient in the distilling of whiskey. Although hemp is no longer an important crop in Kentucky, its early significance to Kentucky farmers, as articulated in Congress by Henry Clay, was partly responsible for the establishment by the United States of a protective tariff system. From 1849 to 1870, the state produced nearly all the hemp grown in the United States.
In 2004 there were approximately 85,000 farms in Kentucky, with an average size of 162 acres (66 hectares). In 2005, 43% of Kentucky's population was considered rural, and 18% of the state's population owed its living to agriculture. In 2004 Kentucky farms produced some 234,500,000 lb of tobacco, the second most in the nation. Leading field crops (in bushels) in 2004 included corn for grain, 173,280,000; soybeans, 57,200,000; wheat, 20,520,000; sorghum, 1,040,000; and barley, 616,000. Farmers also harvested 5,928,000 tons of hay, including 888,000 tons of alfalfa.
Since early settlement days, livestock raising has been an important part of Kentucky's economy. The Bluegrass region, which offers excellent pasturage and drinking water, has become renowned as a center for horse breeding, including thoroughbreds, quarter horses, American saddle horses, Arabians, and standardbreds. In 2004, sales of horses accounted for 23% of Kentucky's farm receipts.
In 2005, Kentucky had an estimated 2.25 million cattle and calves worth $1.82 billion. In 2004, Kentucky farmers had an estimated 350,000 hogs and pigs, worth around $27.6 million. Kentucky produced an estimated 1.46 billion lb (0.66 billion kg) of milk from 116,000 dairy cows in 2003.
Fishing is of little commercial importance in Kentucky. In 2004, Kentucky had 580,917 fishing license holders. In 2005 there were 60 catfish farms covering 600 acres (243 hectares), with an inventory of 800,000 fingerlings in early 2006. The Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery in Jamestown raises rainbow and brown trout and stocks 90 different areas within the state.
In 2004 there were 11,391,000 acres (4,828,000 hectares) of forested land in Kentucky—47% of the state's land area. Over 90% of the forestland is classified as commercially viable for timber production.
The most heavily forested areas are in the river valleys of eastern Kentucky, in the Appalachians. In 2004, Kentucky produced 662 million board feet of lumber, nearly all of it in hardwoods. The Division of Forestry of the Department of Natural Resources manages approximately 30,000 acres (12,300 hectares) of state-owned forestland and operates two forest tree nurseries producing 7-9 million seedling trees a year.
There are two national forests—the Daniel Boone and the Jefferson on Kentucky's eastern border—enclosing two national wilderness areas. These two national forests had a combined area of 1,415,744 acres (572,952 hectares) in 2005. Gross acreage of all Kentucky lands in the National Forest System was 2,212,000 acres (895,000 hectares) in 2003. National parks in the state include the Mammoth Cave National Park and the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park on Kentucky's eastern border.
According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by Kentucky in 2003 was $559 million, an increase from 2002 of 3%. The USGS data ranked Kentucky as 24th among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for about 1.5% of total US output.
According to preliminary figures, crushed stone was the state's leading nonfuel mineral commodity, accounting for around 57% (51.9 million metric tons; $317 million) of Kentucky's nonfuel mineral production by value in 2003. It was followed (in descending order) by lime, cement (portland and masonry), and construction sand and gravel. Collectively, these four commodities accounted for about 98% of the state's nonfuel mineral output by value. Nationally, the state ranked third in ball clays and in lime, and 10th in common clay. According to preliminary USGS data for 2003, the state produced 8.8 million metric tons of construction sand and gravel, with a value of $35.2 million.
ENERGY AND POWER
As of 2003, Kentucky had 62 electrical power service providers, of which 30 were publicly owned and 24 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, six were investor owned, one was federally operated, and one was an owner of an independent generator that sold directly to customers. As of that same year there were 2,117,138 retail customers. Of that total, 1,170,276 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 744,263 customers, while publicly owned providers had 202,575 customers. There were 22 federal customers and two were independent generator or "facility" customers.
Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 19.068 million kW, with total production that same year at 91.718 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 88% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 84.060 billion kWh (91.6%), came from coal-fired plants, with hydroelectric plants in second place at 3.948 billion kWh (4.3%) and petroleum fueled plants in third at 2.944 billion kWh (3.2%). Other renewable power sources and natural gas fueled plants accounted for 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively.
Southern Kentucky shares in the power produced by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which supports a coal-fired steam electric plant in Kentucky at Paducah.
Most of Kentucky's coal came from the western fields of the interior coal basin until late in the 19th century, when the lower-sulfur Cumberland Plateau coal reserves of the Appalachian region were discovered. In 2004, eastern Kentucky produced 90,871,000 short tons of coal, and western Kentucky 23,373,000 short tons. Overall, Kentucky in 2004, had 419 producing coal mines, 196 of which were surface mines and 223 were underground. Total coal output that year totaled 114,244,000 short tons, up from 112,806,000 short tons in 2003. Of the total produced in 2004, surface mines accounted for 42,487,000 short tons. Recoverable coal reserves in 2004 totaled 1.129 billion short tons. One short ton equals 2,000 lb (0.907 metric tons).
As of 2004, Kentucky had proven crude oil reserves of 27 million barrels, or less than 1% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 7,000 barrels per day. Including federal off shore domains, the state that year ranked 21st (20th excluding federal offshore) in proven reserves and 21st (20th excluding federal off shore) in production among the 31 producing states. In 2004 Kentucky had 18,075 producing oil wells. As of 2005, the state's two refineries had a combined crude oil distillation capacity of 227,500 barrels per day.
Oil shale is found in a band stretching from Lawrence County in the northeast through Madison and Washington counties in central Kentucky to Jefferson County in the north-central region.
In 2004, Kentucky had 13,920 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In 2003 (the latest year for which data was available), marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 87.608 billion cu ft (2.49 billion cu m). As of 31 December 2004, proven reserves of dry or consumer-grade natural gas totaled 1.880 billion cu ft (0.157 billion cu m).
Although primarily an agricultural state during the 19th century, Kentucky was a leading supplier of manufactures to the South before the Civil War. Manufacturing activities are largely concentrated in Louisville and Jefferson County and other cities bordering the Ohio River. Kentucky is the leading producer of American whiskey. It also is one of the nation's largest producers of trucks in assembly plants at Louisville as well as for automobiles at Bowling Green and Georgetown.
According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Kentucky's manufacturing sector covered some 20 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $97.253 billion. Of that total, transportation equipment manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $34.220 billion. It was followed by primary metal manufacturing at $9.178 billion; chemical manufacturing at $7.984 billion; food manufacturing at $7.646 billion; and paper manufacturing at $4.418 billion.
In 2004, a total of 246,749 people in Kentucky were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 187,621 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the transportation equipment manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 50,032, with 41,325 actual production workers. It was followed by food manufacturing at 22,863 employees (17,400 actual production workers); fabricated metal product manufacturing at 21,442 employees (15,783 actual production workers); plastics and rubber products manufacturing at 18,858 employees (15,068 actual production workers); and machinery manufacturing with 17,535 employees (11,982 actual production workers).
ASM data for 2004 showed that Kentucky's manufacturing sector paid $10.344 billion in wages. Of that amount, the transportation equipment manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $2.626 billion. It was followed by fabricated metal product manufacturing at $794.193 million; chemical manufacturing at $739.002 million; food manufacturing at $730.046 million; machinery manufacturing at $710.472 billion; and primary metal manufacturing at $634.640 billion.
According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Kentucky's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $51.8 billion from 4,630 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 2,827 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 1,447 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 356 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $20.5 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $27.1 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $4.08 billion.
In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Kentucky was listed as having 16,847 retail establishments with sales of $40.06 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: gasoline stations (2,443); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (2,171); miscellaneous store retailers (1,978); and food and beverage stores (1,961). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts stores accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $9.5 billion, followed by general merchandise stores at $7.6 billion; food and beverage stores at $5.5 billion; gasoline stations at $4.5 billion; and building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers at $3.6 billion. A total of 214,192 people were employed by the retail sector in Kentucky that year.
Exporters located in Kentucky exported $14.8 billion in merchandise during 2005.
Consumer protection is primarily the responsibility of the Office of Consumer Protection, which is a part of the state Attorney General's Office. Created in 1972, the office assists consumers with disputes in the marketplace through the mediation of consumer complaints; the litigation of violators of the Consumer Protection Act; and the education of consumers. The mediation branch handles consumer complaints.
However, other state agencies also operate consumer protection divisions that are specific to the particular agency. The Office of Insurance, which regulates insurance companies and agents within the state, has a Division of Consumer Protection and Education. The state's Department of Agriculture has a Division of Regulation and Inspection under its Office for Consumer and Environmental Services. The Division's responsibilities include the inspection of gas pumps, amusement park rides, weight and measurement devices, tobacco warehouses, and eggs. The state's Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities operating within the state, has a Division of Consumer Services.
When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General's Office can initiate civil and criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; and exercise broad subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; initiate criminal proceedings; and represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.
The Consumer Protection Division has offices in the cities of Louisville and Frankfort.
As of June 2005, Kentucky had 230 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 33 state-chartered and 75 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Louisville market area had the most number of financial institutions with 53, as well as the largest portion of deposits at $19.289 billion in 2004, followed by the Lexington-Fayette area at 21 and $6.683 billion, respectively. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 7.7% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $4.378 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 92.3% or $52.280 billion in assets held.
Eighty-one percent of the state's insured banks have less than $250 million in assets. The median return on assets (ROA) ratio (the measure of earnings in relation to all resources) and net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered to savers and the higher rates charged on loans) increased in 2004 for Kentucky's banks. For that year, ROA stood at 1.10%, up from 1.05% in 2003, while NIM in 2004 stood at 4.01%, up from 3.95% in the previous year.
Regulation of Kentucky's state-chartered financial institutions is carried out by the state's Office of Financial Institutions.
In 2004, Kentuckians held some 2.6 million life insurance policies, with a total value of over $139 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was over $213 billion. The average coverage amount is $52,500 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled at about $679.3 million.
As of 2003, there were 8 property and casualty and 10 life and health insurance companies domiciled in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled $5.75 billion. The same year, there were 20,921 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $2 billion. About $150 million of coverage was held through FAIR plans, which are designed to offer coverage for some natural circumstances, such as wind and hail, in high risk areas.
In 2004, 52% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 4% held individual policies, and 28% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 14% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 20% for single coverage and 25% for family coverage. The state offers an 18-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.
In 2003, there were over 2.8 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $25,000 per individual and $50,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $10,000. Personal injury protection is also required. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $737.46.
There are no securities exchanges in Kentucky. In 2005, there were 480 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 2,350 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 64 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 30 NASDAQ companies, 13 NYSE listings, and 3 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had six Fortune 500 companies; Humana (in Louisville) ranked first in the state and 150th in the nation with revenues of over $14.4 million, followed by Ashland, Inc. (Covington), Yum Brands (Louisville), Omnicare (Covington), Lexmark International (Lexington), and Kindred Healthcare all of which are listed on the NYSE.
The Kentucky biennial state budget is prepared by the Governor's Office for Policy and Management late in each odd-numbered year and submitted by the governor to the General Assembly for approval. The fiscal year (FY) runs from 1 July to 30 June.
Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $9.1 billion for resources and $8.4 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Kentucky were $6.7 billion.
In 2005, Kentucky collected $9.1 billion in tax revenues, or $2,179 per capita, which placed it 23rd among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Property taxes accounted for 5.2% of the total; sales taxes, 28.5%; selective sales taxes, 18.2%; individual income taxes, 33.4%; corporate income taxes, 5.3%; and other taxes, 9.3%.
As of 1 January 2006, Kentucky had six individual income tax brackets ranging from 2.0% to 6.0%. The state taxes corporations at rates ranging from 4.0% to 7.0% depending on tax bracket.
In 2004, state and local property taxes amounted to $2.14 billion, or $516 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state 45th highest nationally. Local governments collected $1,680,995,000 of the total and the state government $455,460,000.
Kentucky taxes retail sales at a rate of 6%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is tax exempt. The tax on cigarettes is
|Kentucky—State Government Finances|
|(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)|
|Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.|
|source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.|
|Individual income tax||2,819,393||680.68|
|Corporate income tax||381,538||92.11|
|Miscellaneous general revenue||1,227,746||296.41|
|Liquor store revenue||-||-|
|Insurance trust revenue||2,798,317||675.60|
|Insurance benefits and repayments||2,430,915||586.89|
|Assistance and subsidies||533,329||128.76|
|Interest on debt||427,927||103.31|
|Exhibit: Salaries and wages||3,067,912||740.68|
|General expenditures, by function:|
|Parks and recreation||134,567||32.49|
|Interest on general debt||427,927||103.31|
|Other and unallocable||842,356||203.37|
|Liquor store expenditure||-||-|
|Insurance trust expenditure||2,430,915||586.89|
|Debt at end of fiscal year||8,116,460||1,959.55|
|Cash and security holdings||33,990,295||8,206.25|
30 cents per pack, which ranks 45th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Kentucky taxes gasoline at 18.5 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.
According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Kentucky citizens received $1.45 in federal spending.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development seeks to encourage businesses to locate in Kentucky and to expand through its job creation program. Various available programs offer companies tax credits totaling as much as 100% of their investment. Low interest loans and bonds also are available. Additional incentives are available to qualified businesses for locating in one of Kentucky's enterprise zones, Appalachian counties, or in Kentucky's federal empowerment zone. Incentives also are available for tourist attractions that locate in Kentucky. Regional industrial parks are currently being developed to provide available, accessible, and marketable land in areas where an abundant labor force is available. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) was established within the Cabinet for Economic Development to further the state's economic goals through financial assistance and tax credit programs. Tax credit programs offered include those under the Bluegrass State Skills Corporation Skills Training Investment Act; the Kentucky Rural Economic Development Act (to support manufacturing enterprises in rural areas); the Kentucky Jobs Act (for the expansion of service and technology related projects); the Kentucky Industrial Development Act (for new and expanding manufacturing projects); the Kentucky Economic Opportunity Zone Program (for certified Opportunity Zones); and the Kentucky Investment Fund Act (for approved venture capital investments). Other incentives are offered under programs for Enterprise Zones, Industrial Revenue Bonds, the Commonwealth Small Business Development Corporation, the Kentucky Tourism Development Act, and the Local Government Economic Development Fund.
The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 6.6 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 13.4 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 5.3 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 87% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 79% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.
The crude death rate in 2003 was 9.8 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 285.8; cancer, 230.6; cerebrovascular diseases, 62.4; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 58.7; and diabetes, 30.9. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 2.4 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 6.1 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 59.4% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, Kentucky hosted the highest percentage of resident smokers, with about 27.4%.
In 2003, Kentucky had 103 community hospitals with about 14,900 beds. There were about 600,000 patient admissions that year and 8.5 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 9,300 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,106. Also in 2003, there were about 296 certified nursing facilities in the state with 25,629 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 89%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 71.3% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Kentucky had 233 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 904 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 2,325 dentists in the state.
About 28% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 14% of the state population uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $5 million.
In 2004, about 121,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $257. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 570,277 persons (245,707 households); the average monthly benefit was about $89.36 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $611.4 million.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Kentucky's TANF program is called the Kentucky Transition Assistance Program (K-TAP). In 2004, the state program had 78,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $119 million in fiscal year 2003.
In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 784,910 Kentucky residents. This number included 408,110 retired workers, 92,390 widows and widowers, 152,410 disabled workers, 50,400 spouses, and 81,590 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 18.9% of the total state population and 92.9% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $903; widows and widowers, $814; disabled workers, $879; and spouses, $425. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $441 per month; children of deceased workers, $596; and children of disabled workers, $261. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 179,438 Kentucky residents, averaging $392 a month. An additional $1.4 million of state-administered supplemental payments were distributed to 4,406 residents.
In 2004, Kentucky had 1,842,971 housing units, 1,647,464 of which were occupied. About 70.1% were owner-occupied. About 67% of all units were single-family, detached homes; 13.9% were mobile homes. Though most units relied on utility gas or electricity for heating, about 11,533 units used coke or coal and 37,785 relied on wood. It was estimated that 109,895 units lacked telephone service, 13,677 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 9,421 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.45 members.
In 2004, 22,600 privately owned units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $98,438. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $888. Renters paid a median of $503 per month. In September 2005, the state received grants of $2.15 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $27.3 million in community development block grants.
Kentucky was relatively slow to establish and support its public education system and has consistently ranked below the national average in the educational attainments of its citizens. In 2004, 81.8% of all adults had completed four years of high school, below the national average of 84%; 21% had completed four or more years of college, below the national average of 26%.
The total enrollment for fall 2002 in Kentucky's public schools stood at 661,000. Of these, 477,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 184,000 attended high school. Approximately 87% of the students were white, 10.4% were black, 1.5% were Hispanic, 0.8% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.2% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 650,000 in fall 2003 but was expected to be 618,000 by fall 2014, a decline of 6.5% during the period 2002 to 2014. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $5.24 billion. There were 71,067 students enrolled in 368 private schools in fall 2003. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in Kentucky scored 274 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.
As of fall 2002, there were 225,489 students enrolled in institutions of higher education; minority students comprised 10.8% of total postsecondary enrollment. As of 2005, Kentucky had 77 degree-granting institutions. Kentucky's higher education facilities include 8 public 4-year institutions, 26 public 2-year schools, and 26 private 4-year nonprofit institutions. The University of Kentucky, established in 1865 at Lexington, is the state's largest public institution. The University of Louisville (1798) is also state supported. Loans and grants to Kentucky students are provided by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority.
In 1990 the Kentucky Education Reform Act established SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky). SEEK is a program that balances the available education dollars among poor and wealthy counties.
The Kentucky Arts Council (KAC) was formed in 1965. The council is a division of the Kentucky Department of the Arts within the Commerce Cabinet and is authorized to promote the arts through such programs as Arts in Education and the State Arts Resources Program. Other ongoing programs include the Craft Marketing Program, which promotes the state's craft industry, and the Folklife Program, a partnership with the Kentucky Historical Society. The Arts Kentucky is a statewide membership organization for artists, performers, craftspeople, and community arts groups.
The Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville, dedicated in 1983, serves as home to the Louisville Orchestra (est. 1937) and the Kentucky Opera the twelfth-oldest opera company in the United States. The Louisville Ballet (est. 1952) also resides in the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Over the years, the Louisville Orchestra has recorded numerous works by contemporary composers. As of 2006, the Louisville Ballet entertained more than 75,000 people each year and reached over 15,000 children annually, through their education programs.
Bluegrass, a form of country music performed on fiddle and banjo and played at a rapid tempo is named after the style pioneered by Kentuckian Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys. The Actors Theater of Louisville holds the annual Humana Festival of New American Plays; in 2006 the festival celebrated its 30th anniversary.
In 2005, the KAC and other arts organizations received 22 grants totaling $1,020,800 from the National Endowment for the Arts. KAC also receives funding from the state to develop its arts education programs. Kentucky Chautauqua, an ongoing program of the Kentucky Humanities Council, sponsors impersonations of historical characters from Kentucky's past that travel across the state for presentations. In 2005, the state received nine grants totaling $1,576,792 from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
For the fiscal year ending in June 2001, Kentucky had 116 public library systems, with a total of 189 libraries, of which 73 were branches. In that same year, the systems had a combined total of 7,891,000 volumes of books and serial publications on their shelves, and a total circulation of 20,807,000. The system also had 269,000 audio and 225,000 video items, 12,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and 94 bookmobiles. The regional library system included university libraries and the state library at Frankfort, as well as city and county libraries. The Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort also maintains a research library of more than 85,000 volumes. In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the state's public library system totaled $79,874,000, including $458,000 in federal grants and $5,033,000 in state funding. For that same year, operating expenditures totaled $70,421,000, of which 56.4% was spent on staff members, and 16.4% on the collection.
The state has more than 107 museums. Art museums include the University of Kentucky Art Museum and the Headley-Whitney Museum in Lexington, the Allen R. Hite Art Institute at the University of Louisville, and the J. B. Speed Art Museum, also in Louisville. Among Kentucky's equine museums are the International Museum of the Horse and the American Horse Museum, both in Lexington, and the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville. The John James Audubon Museum is located in Audubon State Park at Henderson.
Leading historical sites include Abraham Lincoln's birthplace at Hodgenville and the Mary Todd Lincoln and Henry Clay homes in Lexington. The Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort operates three museums, supports a mobile museum system that brings exhibits about Kentucky history to schools, parks, and local gatherings, and aids over 400 local historical organizations.
Only 91.4% of all occupied housing units in the state had a telephone in 2004. In addition, by June of that same year there were 2,000,459 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 58.1% of Kentucky households had a computer and 49.6% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 370,337 high-speed lines in Kentucky, 330,957 residential and 39,362 for business.
In 1922, Kentucky's first radio broadcasting station, WHAS, was established. By 2005, there were 73 major radio stations, 15 AM and 58 FM. That year there were 29 major television broadcasting stations, including 17 public broadcasting stations. There were 576,850 television households, 65% of which received cable in 1999. By 2000, Kentucky had registered a total of 39,264 Internet domain names.
In 2005, Kentucky had 23 daily newspapers (10 morning, 13 evening), and 14 Sunday papers.
The following table shows the leading Kentucky newspapers with their approximate 2005 circulations:
Magazines include Kentucky Living and Kentucky Monthly.
In 2006, there were over 3,895 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 2,524 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. Notable organizations with headquarters in Kentucky include the Thoroughbred Club of America, the United States Polo Association, the Jockeys' Guild, and the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association (all in Lexington); the Burley Auction Warehouse Association (Mt. Sterling); the National Soft ball Association in Nicholasville, and Sons of the American Revolution and the American Saddlebred Horse Association (all in Louisville).
The Council of State Governments in Lexington is a co-sponsor of the National Crime Prevention Institute and the National Emergency Management Association (both are also in Lexington). The National Police Officers Association of America is based in Louisville.
The American Quilter's Society is located in Paducah. State organizations for local arts and culture include the Filson Club, the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, and the Ohio Valley Art League. Special interest organizations in the state include the American Checker Federation and the Corvette Club of America.
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
The economic impact of tourism within the state approached $10 billion and supported of over 164,000 travel-related jobs. The strength of this sector of the economy was attributed, in part, to the impact of the Kentucky Tourism Development Act of 1996, which provides incentives for new or expanding tourist-related businesses. As of 2003, total private investment in tourism reached $500 million.
One of the state's top tourist attractions is Mammoth Cave National Park, which contains an estimated 150 mi (241 km) of underground passages. Other units of the national park system in Kentucky include a re-creation of Abraham Lincoln's birthplace in Hodgenville and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, which extends into Tennessee and Virginia.
The state operates 15 resort parks (13 of them year round). The state also operates 15 recreational parks and 9 shrines. Breaks Interstate Park, on the Kentucky-Virginia border, is noted for the Russell Fork River Canyon, which is 1,600 feet (488 meters) deep; the park is supported equally by the two states.
In 1979, the Kentucky Horse Park opened in Lexington. The Kentucky State Fair is held every August at Louisville. The Kentucky Derby (horse racing) is the first leg of the prestigious Triple Crown held in May in Lexington. Cave City is home to Dinosaur World.
There are no major league professional sports teams in Kentucky. There is a minor league baseball team in Louisville that plays in the Triple-A International League. There are also two minor league hockey teams in Kentucky that play in the American Hockey League.
The first known horse race in Kentucky was held in 1783. The annual Kentucky Derby, first run on 17 May 1875, has become the single most famous event in US thoroughbred racing. Held on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, the Derby is one of three races for three-year-olds constituting the Triple Crown. Keeneland Race Course in Lexington is the site of the Blue Grass Stakes and other major thoroughbred races. The Kentucky Futurity, an annual highlight of the harness racing season, is usually held on the first Friday in October at the Red Mile in Lexington.
Rivaling horse racing as a spectator sport is collegiate basketball. The University of Kentucky Wildcats, who play in the Southeastern Conference, won National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I basketball championships in 1948–49, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, and 1998, and the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 1946 and 1976. The University of Louisville Cardinals, who play in Conference USA, captured the NCAA crown in 1980 and 1986, and won an NIT title in 1956. Kentucky Wesleyan, at Owensboro, was the NCAA Division II titleholder in 1966, 1968–69, 1973, 1987, 1990, 1999, and 2001.
Kentucky has been the birthplace of one US president, four US vice presidents, the only president of the Confederacy, and several important jurists, statesmen, writers, artists, and sports figures.
Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) the 16th president of the United States, was born in Hodgenville, Hardin (now Larue) County, and spent his developing years in Indiana and Illinois. Elected as the first Republican president in 1860 and reelected in 1864, Lincoln reflected his Kentucky roots in his opposition to secession and the expansion of slavery, and in his conciliatory attitude toward the defeated southern states. His wife, Mary Todd Lincoln (1818–82), was a native of Lexington.
Kentucky-born US vice presidents have all been Democrats. Richard M. Johnson (1780–1850) was elected by the Senate after a deadlock in the Electoral College; John C. Breckinridge (1821–75) in 1857 became the youngest man ever to hold the office; Adlai E. Stevenson (1835–1914) served in Grover Cleveland's second administration. The best-known vice president was Alben W. Barkley (1877–1956), who, before his election with President Harry S Truman in 1948, was a US senator and longtime Senate majority leader.
Frederick M. Vinson (1890–1953) was the only Kentuckian to serve as chief justice of the United States. Noteworthy associate justices were John Marshall Harlan (1833–1911), famous for his dissent from the segregationist Plessy v. Ferguson decision (1896), and Louis B. Brandeis (1856–1941), the first Jew to serve on the Supreme Court and a champion of social reform.
Henry Clay (b.Virginia, 1777–1852) came to Lexington in 1797 and went on to serve as speaker of the US House of Representatives, secretary of state, and US senator; he was also a three-time presidential candidate. Other important federal officeholders from Kentucky include attorneys general John Breckinridge (b.Virginia, 1760–1806) and John J. Crittenden (1787–1863), who also served with distinction as US senator; treasury secretaries Benjamin H. Bristow (1830–96) and John G. Carlisle (1835–1910); and US senator John Sherman Cooper (1901–91). Zachary Taylor (1784–1850), 12th US president, spent much of his adult life in Kentucky and is buried there.
Among noteworthy state officeholders, Isaac Shelby (b. Maryland 1750–1826) was a leader in the movement for statehood and the first governor of Kentucky. William Goebel (1856–1900) was the only US governor assassinated in office. Albert B. ("Happy") Chandler (1898–1991), twice governor, also served as US senator and as commissioner of baseball.
A figure prominently associated with frontier Kentucky is the explorer and surveyor Daniel Boone (b.Pennsylvania, 1734–1820). Other frontiersmen include Kit Carson (1809–68) and Roy Bean (1825?–1903). During the Civil War, Lincoln's principal adversary was another native Kentuckian, Jefferson Davis (1808–89). Davis moved south as a boy to a Mississippi plantation home, subsequently serving as US senator from Mississippi, US secretary of war, and president of the Confederate States of America.
Other personalities of significance include James G. Birney (1792–1857) and Cassius Marcellus Clay (1810–1903), both major antislavery spokesmen. Clay's daughter Laura (1849–1941) and Madeline Breckinridge (1872–1920) were important contributors to the women's suffrage movement. Henry Watterson (1840–1921) founded and edited the Louisville Courier-Journal and was a major adviser to the Democratic Party. Carry Nation (1846–1911) was a leader of the temperance movement. During the 1920s, Kentuckian John T. Scopes (1900–70) gained fame as the defendant in the "monkey trial" in Dayton, Tenn.; Scopes was prosecuted for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. Whitney M. Young (1921–71), a prominent black leader, served as head of the National Urban League.
Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866–1945), honored for his work in heredity and genetics, was a Nobel Prize winner. Journalists born in Kentucky include Irvin S. Cobb (1876–1944), who was also a humorist and playwright, and Arthur Krock (1887–1974), a winner of four Pulitzer Prizes. Notable businessmen include Harland Sanders (b.Indiana, 1890–1980), founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.
Kentucky has produced several distinguished creative artists. These include painters Matthew Jouett (1787–1827), Frank Duveneck (1848–1919), and Paul Sawyer (1865–1917); folk song collector John Jacob Niles (1891–1980); and novelists Harriette Arnow (1908–86) and Wendell Berry (b.1934). Robert Penn Warren (1905–89), a novelist, poet, and critic, won the Pulitzer Prize three times and was the first author to win the award in both the fiction and poetry categories.
Among Kentuckians well recognized in the performing arts are film innovator D. W. Griffith (David Lewelyn Wark Griffith, 1875–1948), Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal (b.1926), and country music singer Loretta Lynn (b.1932). Kentucky's sports figures include basketball coach Adolph Rupp (b.Kansas, 1901–77), shortstop Harold ("Pee Wee") Reese (1919–99), football great Paul Hornung (b.1935), and world heavyweight boxing champions Jimmy Ellis (b.1940) and Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay, b.1942).
Alvey, R. Gerald. Kentucky Bluegrass Country. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1992.
Bryant, Ron D. Kentucky History: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000.
Burns, David M. Gateway: Dr. Thomas Walker and the Opening of Kentucky. Middlesboro, Ky.: Bell County Historical Society, 2000.
Clark, Thomas Dionysius. The Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992.
Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.
Friend, Craig Thompson. Along the Maysville Road: The Early American Republic in the Trans-Appalachian West. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2005.
Harrison, Lowell Hayes, and James C. Klotter. A New History of Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997.
Jones, K. Randell. In the Footsteps of Daniel Boone. Winston-Salem, N.C.: John F. Blair, 2005.
Klass, Raymond. Mammoth Cave National Park: Reflections. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005.
Kozar, Richard. Daniel Boone and the Exploration of the Frontier. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1999.
Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Division of Research. 1997 Kentucky Deskbook of Economic Statistics. Frankfort, 1997.
Kleber, John E. (ed.). The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992.
Lucas, Marion Brunson. A History of Blacks in Kentucky: From Slavery to Segregation, 1760–1891. 2nd ed. Frankfort: Kentucky Historical Society, 2003.
Miller, Penny M. Kentucky Politics & Government: Do We Stand United? Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994.
US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Kentucky, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.
Williams, Rob (comp.). A Citizen's Guide to the Kentucky Constitution. Rev. ed. Frankfort: Legislative Research Commission, 1995.
"Kentucky." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky
"Kentucky." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky
KENTUCKY. The date the first human walked on the land that now comprises Kentucky remains unknown to history. Archaeologists indicate it took place over twelve thousand years ago. But leaving no written record, no history, those lives can only be re-created by archaeological investigations, which describe the Native American presence in four stages. Paleo-indians, living from 12,000 years before the present (b.p.) to around 10,000, saw the end of the Ice Age. They were hunter-gathers who moved often, and their lives centered on simple survival. During the Archaic Period (1000 b.p.–3000 b.p.) the people in Kentucky continued to hunt and developed some limited trade routes. In the third culture, that of the Woodland Indians, which included the Hopewell and Adena subcultures, a more settled lifestyle resulted from agricultural cultivation. The final period, dating from the years a.d. 1000 to around a.d. 1700, has been called the Late Prehistoric or in the east the Fort Ancient and in the west the Mississippian. The latter featured sizable fortified villages with mounds organized around the water courses that supported farms.
Having been the lone occupiers of the land for century after century, Native Americans finally found that the place called Kentucky no longer would be theirs without conflict. The region quickly became a middle ground, a place of contact. Unfortunately one of the critical contacts came in the form of microbes. Disease probably had a greater impact than any other forms of contact with the European colonies. Death swept the land, tribal patterns changed, Indian numbers fell, and Native life never returned to past ways. When the first explorers from the colonies arrived, they found a different place than what had existed only a few years before. Once heavily peopled, Kentucky seemed vacant of inhabitants. The last recorded interior Indian village, Eskippakithiki, was abandoned by the 1750s. The region seemed to be more of a fought-over buffer between tribes to the north and south, and while various groups hunted the land, early English hunters and explorers left no record of seeing semipermanent villages. To their land-hungry eyes the area seemed to be a prize waiting to be taken.
Word soon spread across the colonial backcountry that beyond the mountains lay a land of much promise with fine forests, abundant game, and rich soil. Driven by this image of plenty and promise, imbued with "Kentucky fever," more and more ventured across the mountains to this First West. A series of long hunters, of whom Daniel Boone, James Harrod, and Simon Kenton are the best known, started the process, and land companies soon sent their own surveyors to map out the unexplored territory. Conflict with the Native peoples intensified. Mostly occurring while the Revolutionary War raged, the settlement of Kentucky represented simply another front in that conflict and a bloody one.
Coming down the Ohio River, Harrod established the first permanent settlement at Harrodsburg in 1774. Boone, working for the Transylvania Land Company, followed buffalo trails in part and blazed the Wilderness Road from Cumberland Gap to the central Bluegrass. These two paths were followed by thousands of men and women over the next two decades, and by the first census in 1790 some seventy-three thousand people (16 percent of them slaves) had moved to what was then part of Virginia. Others, about one in seventy who migrated, had been killed in the attempt. In those decades from settlement in the 1770s until the peace that followed the War of 1812, Kentucky started as the first step in the new nation's move westward, represented a testing ground for new ideas and plans, and matured into a new state, the first state west of the mountain barriers. Yet none of that came easily.
The land of milk and honey was also, as one Indian called it, "a dark and bloody ground." Yet the hopes and dreams of those in less-promising situations to the east brought many to risk all to try to find a better future. Some in fact did just that, and their descendants lived better lives as a result. However, for some the myth of plenty proved elusive. By 1800 half of Kentuckians owned land, but as many did not. That contradictory nature of early Kentucky has been a theme throughout the state's history.
Statehood and Slavery
As the region filled with people, questions arose on what future course should be followed, separation from Virginia and statehood, or something else? The so-called Spanish conspiracy, which left many Kentucky leaders under the pay of Spain, failed in its efforts to encourage Kentucky to become a separate nation. In 1792 Kentucky entered the Union as the fifteenth state with Isaac Shelby as its governor, and within a few months Frankfort became its capital. But issues of separation and of a state's role in the Union continued. Distrust of federal support for Kentucky's needs caused several prominent leaders, including the war hero George Rogers Clark, to aid the so-called French conspiracy in 1794 and later the Burr conspiracy. Reaction to Federalist actions in 1798 and 1799 brought forth the Kentucky Resolutions defending states' rights and even nullification. Yet these sentiments were partly muted over succeeding decades as Kentuckians fought in the nation's wars and as the rise of Henry Clay and his American System stressed the idea of a powerful, united country. Still Kentucky remained that middle ground of frontier times, only now a meeting place for South, North, and West.
The contrasting aspects present in early Kentucky emerged in the first constitution in 1792. While containing many elements that restricted the role of the people, indirect selection of state senators and the governor, for instance, it also included universal manhood suffrage except for slaves, the first to do so in the United States. In more debatable terms it opened the floodgates toward what became 120 counties, the third highest number in the nation. For a considerable time these almost self-perpetuating, feudal-like entities, those "little kingdoms," dominated the political face of Kentucky.
That contrast between an almost aristocratic heritage and a democratic one, as shown early in the settling of the land and in the formation of the first constitution, represented only one of the divisions that brought the historian Thomas D. Clark to call Kentucky a "land of contrast." Those divisions were clearly demonstrated when citizens turned to the subject of slavery. From the earliest English explorations, such as that of Christopher Gist in 1750–1751, black slaves had been a part of discovering the "new Eden." Harrodsburg's 1777 census showed that one in ten in that frontier post were enslaved peoples, and blacks fought side by side with whites against the common Indian foe, sometimes at the cost of their lives. But when the Indian wars ended and decision time came, ruling whites placed more emphasis on establishing slavery as a way to regulate race relations and as an economic system than on the idea of equality. By 1830 slaves made up 24 percent of the commonwealth's population, and on the eve of the Civil War, Kentucky had the third highest number of slaveholders among the slave states.
At the same time Kentucky had the third lowest average number of slaves held, 5.5 per family, and many places, such as the eastern mountains, held few slaves at all. Moreover a vocal antislavery movement existed throughout the antebellum period, ranging from the conservative colonization-oriented plans of Henry Clay and Robert J. Breckinridge to the vocal opposition of Cassius M. Clay to the true egalitarianism of John G. Fee. Yet as the eloquent voices of escaped Kentucky slaves, such as Henry Bibb, Josiah Henson, and the novelist William Wells Brown, showed, freedom came to most bondspeople through their own actions.
Slavery represented another paradox in a state that before the Civil War had become one of the most important and prosperous in the nation. In 1840 it stood first in the United States in the production of hemp and wheat, second in tobacco and corn, third in flax, and fourth in rye. Its reputation for producing fine thoroughbreds had already been established and later was enhanced with the Kentucky Derby, which began in 1875. Moreover for a time Kentucky's Transylvania University, with its medical and law schools, was the place of choice for the education of southern gentlemen as it was one of the best schools in the nation. In religion the Great Revival of 1801 spread from Kentucky across the nation as well, and a more diversified worship emerged. By 1850 Kentucky stood eighth in the United States in population and had a reputation as a modern, forward-looking commonwealth, a place for the ambitious and eager.
The state's antebellum importance came through clearly in the area of politics. Between 1824 and 1860 a Kentuckian ran for either president or vice president in seven of the ten presidential races. Three times the Whig leader Henry Clay won electoral votes. Twice Kentuckians served as vice president, the Democrats Richard M. Johnson and John C. Breckinridge, the latter also a presidential candidate who lost in 1860 to the native Kentuckian Abraham Lincoln. Ten Kentuckians filled presidents' cabinets, and three served as Speaker of the House.
When the threat of civil war emerged in the late 1850s, Henry Clay and his Whig Party had both died, the Know-Nothings had won a governorship in 1855 after a bloody riot in the state's economic center Louisville, and a divided commonwealth faced an uncertain future. With the failure of the Kentuckian John J. Crittenden's attempt at a compromise to keep the Union together, the state officially chose a pattern of neutrality from May to September 1861, and the nation divided into the United States, the Confederate States, and Kentucky. But, indicative of the state's past, Kentucky wanted both the Union and slavery and did not see the war as one against the "peculiar institution" at the conflict's beginning. Elections and enlistments showed a pro-union emphasis, and the commonwealth abandoned neutrality and remained officially a loyal state. Those friendly to the southern cause called a rump convention and declared the state a part of the Confederacy, and Kentucky became a star in both flags. Before it all ended perhaps as many as 100,000 fought for the North (23,000 of them former slaves, the second largest number of all the states), while some 40,000 entered the ranks of the Confederacy. It truly was a brothers' war for Kentucky.
The initial southern defense line from Cumberland Gap to the Mississippi splintered after defeats at Mill Springs and Fort Donelson in early 1862. That fall a major Confederate invasion tasted early success at the Battle of Richmond in Kentucky but then ended in retreat after the bloody Battle of Perryville on 8 October 1862. Thereafter raids by General John Hunt Morgan and brutal guerrilla warfare marked the rest of the conflict.
Perhaps the greatest effect of the war came from developments away from the battlefield. As the issue of slavery became a war aim, that, together with the unpopular Union military rule, turned Kentuckians more and more against the cause they had initially supported. By the war's end the commonwealth had become as sympathetic to the South as any of the seceding states. As a loyal state it never went through Reconstruction officially, but the "lost cause" attitudes displayed toward former slaves and toward the federal government brought martial law and the Freed-men's Bureau to Kentucky. The state became almost a spokesperson for the South, especially through the columns of the powerful Louisville Courier-Journal, edited by
Henry Watterson. For the next three decades the once-minority Democrats ruled with few challenges, and ex-Confederates, not the once-dominant Unionists, guided it.
Few reform elements emerged in those years. A fledgling women's rights group did organize in 1881, the first in the South. Advocates such as Laura Clay and Madeline McDowell Breckinridge eventually earned national leadership roles and made the state a strong force for suffrage, ratifying the federal amendment in 1920. During the same time the commonwealth once more showed its varied faces in its ability to reconcile racing, red-eye whiskey, and religion all at the same time. Kentucky voted in statewide prohibition despite its role as the nation's leading producer of bourbon, and in the 1920s it even seriously debated ending pari-mutuel betting despite its dependence on the horse industry.
But more reflective of the half century following the Civil War was the role violence played in Kentucky. In lynchings and in personal, honor-based actions, the commonwealth varied little from southern patterns. However, in the Appalachian Mountains feud violence broke out in a dozen or more major conflicts, the best-known (but not the bloodiest) of which was the Hatfield-McCoy dispute. Kentucky's increasing image as a place of violence intensified in January 1900 with the assassination of Governor William Goebel, the only governor to die in office as a result of assassination, and with the Black Patch War in the first decade of the twentieth century. That war united farmers against tobacco companies in what has been called the largest mass agricultural protest movement in the nation. Night riders used violence to enforce the growers' will and to intimidate the buyers, and the state's reputation suffered. With the boom and bust cycles in the eastern coal fields, labor and management divisions in the 1930s gave "Bloody Harlan" its name. But by the end of the twentieth century Kentucky ranked low on the crime scale in a drastic reversal.
The violent acts one after the other, the effect of prohibition on the economy, the lack of leadership, and a decline in education from its once-strong place in the South hurt Kentucky in the twentieth century. Despite the presence of military bases, such as Fort Knox with its gold depository, World War II also affected that growth, for of all the southern states Kentucky grew tenth slowest. Outmigrations to jobs in the North intensified in wartime and continued in the 1950s as the coal mines mechanized and Appalachians left for urban areas beyond the Ohio. But almost quietly Kentucky's economy changed. The 1960s War on Poverty did help those of lower income levels. Jobs also resulted when businesses expanded or new ones started, chiefly in Louisville and Lexington, including GE, Ford, Corvette, Brown-Foreman, Humana, Toyota, UPS, IBM (later Lexmark), Ashland Oil, and Kentucky Fried Chicken (Yum!Brands). While tardy in constructing highways, the state built interstates and toll roads that soon provided an excellent system that, coupled with river routes and rails as well as the state's central location, made it increasingly attractive to businesses. By the start of the twenty-first century the state's working profile largely resembled the nation's regarding manufacturing jobs. Kentucky was the third leading producer of motor vehicles and carried on extensive world trade, for example. Yet the one-time mainstays of the state, thoroughbreds, coal, and tobacco, still heavily influenced an economy that had moved beyond them in some ways.
Education remained a key to the so-called "new economy," and Kentucky for many decades of the 1900s stood near the bottom of the states in that regard. State-funded institutions of higher education began with the present-day University of Kentucky in 1865, Kentucky State University (as a segregated school) in 1886, various teacher colleges in 1908 and again in 1922, and the University of Louisville and Northern Kentucky University at the end of the 1960s. Combining those with an extensive community college system and strong private colleges, such as Transylvania, Centre, and Georgetown, the state offered the instruction needed, but too few attended. By 1980 the commonwealth stood near the bottom in high school and college graduates. In a 1989 decision the state supreme court ruled the existing elementary and secondary system unconstitutional, and the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) crafted an entirely new approach in 1990. Other states began to look on the commonwealth as a model for reform, and statistical improvements did follow. However, long decades of neglect and a poorly educated population meant that the issue remained.
Ironically, given the state's poverty and low educational attainments, Kentucky has had an exceptionally strong literary tradition and rich folklife element. Robert Penn Warren provided the most visible example of that, winning Pulitzer Prizes in both fiction and poetry, the only American so honored. But many others have made significant impacts as well, including James Lane Allen, John Fox Jr., Annie Fellows Johnston (The Little Colonel), Alice Hegan Rice (Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch), Irvin S. Cobb, Elizabeth Maddox Roberts, Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, Cleanth Brooks, Jesse Stuart, James Still, Harriette Arnow (The Dollmaker), A. B. Guthrie, Janice Holt Giles, Thomas Merton, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Wendell Berry. Some strengths appeared in art over the years, such as Matthew Jouett, Paul Sawyier, and Frank Duveneck, and a few in film, such as the director D. W. Griffith, but another real area of contribution has been music. The bluegrass style of Bill Monroe represented part of a rich tradition in folk and country, with Kentuckians standing second in the number of representatives in the Country Music Hall of Fame. A strong arts community in Louisville, with its festival of new plays the centerpiece, showed the range of interests in the commonwealth.
But in some ways politics, even more than basketball, where the commonwealth's university and college teams have won many national titles, long dominated conversation. From 1895, when the first Republican governor was elected, until 1931 a fairly strong two-party system operated. The New Deal, with its actions that helped bring blacks and labor into the Democratic fold, gave that party almost unbroken control of the legislature and governor's office over the next decades. In the last three-quarters of the twentieth century Republicans held the executive office only eight years. At the same time the state's conservative voting nature emerged in elections for national office, with citizens selecting Republicans more often than Democrats in the late twentieth century. A 1992 amendment to the outdated 1891 state constitution finally allowed governors to serve two terms, which countered somewhat a growing legislative independence. Serious political corruption in the BOPTROT scandal that erupted in the early 1990s ended in the convictions of over a dozen legislators and one of the strongest ethics laws in the nation. Throughout all that the state produced several strong leaders at both the national and state levels, including Senator Alben Barkley, majority leader under Franklin Roosevelt; A. B. "Happy" Chandler, senator, two-term governor, and baseball commissioner; Chief Justice Fred Vinson; Senators John Sherman Cooper and Wendell Ford, the latter a majority whip; and Governors Earle Clements and Bert Combs.
Only slowly have two groups shared in that success. African Americans, for example, found their life after the Civil War segregated and restricted, varying little from southern patterns. The last integrated college in the South, Berea, was forced by state action to segregate in 1904. Yet unlike in the South, Kentucky blacks continued to vote, giving them an important power that translated into some support. Still, what the historian George C. Wright called a facade of polite racism dominated efforts at real equality. Work by Kentucky leaders, such as Charles W. Anderson Jr., the first black state legislator in the South after decades of exclusion; Whitney M. Young Jr., the head of the Urban League; and state senator Georgia Powers, helped break down the legal barriers. Nevertheless racism and lack of economic opportunity convinced many to migrate, and the state's African American population fell to some 7 percent. The commonwealth's Civil Rights Act of 1966 and Fair Housing Act two years later were the first in the South, and studies placed state schools as the most integrated in the nation by the 1990s.
After getting the vote, women reflected the state's dual character as well. The commonwealth elected one of the first eight women to Congress, Katherine Langley, and one of the first half-dozen women governors, Martha Layne Collins. It supported women's rights in the early struggle and ratified the failed Equal Rights Amendment decades later. Yet in the early twenty-first century Kentucky ranked near the bottom in the percentage of women legislators in its 138-member body and low in females in managerial positions and as business owners.
By the first decade of the twenty-first century the commonwealth stood exactly in the middle of the states in population, and its 4,041,769 residents ranked high in the nation in the percentage of people who still lived in the state of their birth. More urban than rural for the first time in 1970, a half century after the nation as a whole, Kentucky remained tied to the ideals of the family farm, small town life, and a sense of place. But another side of Kentucky reflected all the elements of modern America. In short, the contrasts that marked the state over the years continued.
Aron, Stephen. How the West Was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.
Clark, Thomas D. Kentucky: Land of Contrast. New York: Harper and Row, 1968.
Harrison, Lowell H. The Civil War in Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1975.
Harrison, Lowell H., ed. Kentucky's Governors, 1792–1985. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1985.
Harrison, Lowell H., and James C. Klotter. A New History of Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997.
Kleber, John E., ed. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992.
Klotter, James C. Kentucky: Portrait in Paradox, 1900–1950. Frankfort: Kentucky Historical Society, 1996.
Klotter, James C., ed. Our Kentucky: A Study of the Bluegrass State. Rev. ed. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2000.
Lewis, R. Barry, ed. Kentucky Archaeology. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996.
Lucas, Marion B., and George C. Wright. A History of Blacks in Kentucky. 2 vols. Frankfort: Kentucky Historical Society, 1992.
Tapp, Hambleton, and James C. Klotter. Kentucky: Decades of Discord, 1865–1900. Frankfort: Kentucky Historical Society, 1977.
Ulack, Richard, ed. Atlas of Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1998.
Ward, William S. A Literary History of Kentucky. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1988.
"Kentucky." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/kentucky
"Kentucky." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/kentucky
Kentucky (state, United States)
Kentucky (kəntŭk´ē, kĬn–), state of the SE central United States. It is bordered by West Virginia and Virginia (E); Tennessee (S); the Mississippi River, across which lies Missouri (SW); and Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, all across the Ohio River (W, N).
Facts and Figures
Area, 40,395 sq mi (104,623 sq km). Pop. (2010) 4,339,367, a 7.4% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Frankfort. Largest city, Louisville. Statehood, June 1, 1792 (15th state). Highest pt., Black Mt., 4,145 ft (1,264 m); lowest pt., Mississippi River, 257 ft (78 m). Nickname, Bluegrass State. Motto, United We Stand, Divided We Fall. State bird, cardinal. State flower, goldenrod. State tree, Kentucky coffee tree. Abbr., Ky.; KY
From elevations of about 2,000 ft (610 m) on the Cumberland Plateau in the southeast, where Black Mt. (4,145 ft/1,263 m) marks the state's highest point, Kentucky slopes to elevations of less than 800 ft (244 m) along the western rim. The narrow valleys and sharp ridges of the mountain region are noted for forests of giant hardwoods and scented pine and for springtime blooms of laurel, magnolia, rhododendron, and dogwood. Unfortunately, these forests have suffered from the effects of acid rain. To the west, the plateau breaks in a series of escarpments, bordering a narrow plains region interrupted by many single conical peaks called knobs. Surrounded by the knobs region on the south, west, and east and extending as far west as Louisville is the bluegrass country, the heart and trademark of the state.
To the south and west lie the rolling plains and rocky hillsides of the Pennyroyal, a region that takes its name from a species of mint that grows abundantly in the area. There, underground streams have washed through limestone to form miles of subterranean passages, some of the notable ones being in Mammoth Cave National Park.
Northwest Kentucky is generally rough, rolling terrain, with scattered but important coal deposits. The isolated far-western region, bounded by the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee rivers, is referred to as the Purchase, or Jackson Purchase (for Andrew Jackson, who was a prominent member of the commission that bought it from the Chickasaw in 1818). Consisting of floodplains and rolling uplands, it is among the largest migratory bird flyways in the United States.
Rivers are an important feature of Kentucky geography. The Ohio River forms the entire northern boundary of the state, flowing generally SW below Covington, until it joins the Mississippi River W of Paducah. At the southwest tip of the state about 5 sq mi (13 sq km) of Kentucky territory, created by a double hairpin turn in the Mississippi River, protrudes N from Tennessee into Missouri and is entirely separate from the rest of the state. In the east, the Big Sandy River and its tributary, the Tug Fork, form the boundary with West Virginia. Many rapid creeks in the Cumberland Mountains feed the Kentucky, the Cumberland, and the Licking rivers, which, together with the Tennessee and the Ohio, are the chief rivers of the state. The Kentucky Dam on the Tennessee River near Paducah, is a major part of the Tennessee Valley Authority system.
Kentucky's climate is generally mild, with few extremes of heat and cold. Frankfort is the capital, Louisville and Lexington the largest cities. Little remains of Kentucky's great forests that once spread over three quarters of the state and were renowned for their size and density. Tourist attractions include the famous Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville and the celebrated horse farms surrounding Lexington in the heart of the bluegrass region. The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site and Cumberland Gap National Historic Park are historic landmarks. At Fort Knox is the U.S. Depository.
Kentucky is noted for the distilling of Bourbon whiskey and for the breeding of thoroughbred racehorses. Tobacco, in which Kentucky is second only to North Carolina among U.S. producers, has long been the state's chief crop, and it is also its chief farm product, followed by horses and mules, cattle, and corn. Dairy goods, hay, and soybeans are also important.
Kentucky derives the greatest share of its income, however, from industry. Even Lexington, one of the world's largest loose-leaf tobacco markets, is industrialized. The state's chief manufactures include electrical equipment, food products, automobiles, nonelectrical machinery, chemicals, and apparel. Printing and publishing as well as tourism have become important industries. Kentucky is also one of the major U.S. producers of coal, the state's most valuable mineral; stone, petroleum, and natural gas are also extracted.
Government and Higher Education
Kentucky's state constitution was adopted in 1891. The governor is elected for a term of four years. The general assembly, or legislature, is bicameral, with a senate of 38 members and a house of representatives of 100 members. Kentucky is represented in the U.S. Congress by six representatives and two senators and has eight electoral votes. Paul Patton, a Democrat, was elected governor in 1995 and reelected in 1999, but Republican Ernie Fletcher won the governorship in 2003. In 2007 Fletcher lost his bid for reelection to Democrat Steve Beshear; Beshear was reelected in 2011.
Institutions of higher learning include the Univ. of Kentucky and Transylvania Univ., at Lexington; the Univ. of Louisville, at Louisville; Eastern Kentucky Univ., at Richmond; Murray State Univ., at Murray; Western Kentucky Univ., at Bowling Green; Kentucky Wesleyan College, at Owensboro; Union College, at Barbourville, Kentucky State Univ., at Frankfort; and Berea College, at Berea.
Early Exploration and Settlement
When the Eastern seaboard of North America was being colonized in the 1600s, Kentucky was part of the inaccessible country beyond the mountains. After Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, claimed all regions drained by the Mississippi and its tributaries for France, British interest in the area quickened. The first major expedition to the Tennessee region was led by Dr. Thomas Walker, who explored the eastern mountain region in 1750 for the Loyal Land Company. Walker was soon followed by hunters and scouts including Christopher Gist. Further exploration was interrupted by the last conflict (1754–63) of the French and Indian Wars between the French and British for control of North America, and Pontiac's Rebellion, a Native American uprising (1763–66).
With the British victorious in both, settlers soon began to enter Kentucky. They came in defiance of a royal proclamation of 1763, which forbade settlement west of the Appalachians. Daniel Boone, the famous American frontiersman, first came to Kentucky in 1767; he returned in 1769 and spent two years in the area. A surveying party under James Harrod established the first permanent settlement at Harrodsburg in 1774, and the next year Boone, as agent for Richard Henderson and the Transylvania Company, a colonizing group of which Henderson was a member, blazed the Wilderness Road from Tennessee into the Kentucky region and founded Boonesboro. Title to this land was challenged by Virginia, whose legislature voided (1778) the Transylvania Company's claims, although individual settlers were confirmed in their grants.
Native American Resistance and Statehood
Kentucky was made (1776) a county of Virginia, and new settlers came through the Cumberland Gap and over the Wilderness Road or down the Ohio River. These early pioneers of Kentucky and Tennessee were constantly in conflict with the Native Americans. The growing population of Kentuckians, feeling that Virginia had failed to give them adequate protection, worked for statehood in a series of conventions held at Danville (1784–91). Others, observing the weaknesses of the U.S. government, considered forming an independent nation. Since trade down the Mississippi and out of Spanish-held New Orleans was indispensable to Kentucky's economic development, an alliance with Spain was contemplated, and U.S. General James Wilkinson, who lived in Kentucky at the time, worked toward that end.
However, in 1792 a constitution was finally framed and accepted, and in the same year the Commonwealth of Kentucky (its official designation) was admitted to the Union, the first state W of the Appalachians. Isaac Shelby was elected the first governor, and Frankfort was chosen capital. U.S. General Anthony Wayne's victory at the battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 effectively ended Native American resistance in Kentucky.
River Rights and Banking Problems
In 1795, Pinckney's Treaty between the United States and Spain granted Americans the right to navigate the Mississippi, a right soon completely assured by the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Enactment by the federal government of the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) promptly provoked a sharp protest in Kentucky (see Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions). The state grew fast as trade and shipping centers developed and river traffic down the Ohio and Mississippi increased.
The War of 1812 spurred economic prosperity in Kentucky, but financial difficulties after the war threatened many with ruin. The state responded to the situation by chartering in 1818 a number of new banks that were allowed to issue their own currency. These banks soon collapsed, and the state legislature passed measures for the relief of the banks' creditors. However, the relief measures were subsequently declared unconstitutional by a state court. The legislature then repealed legislation that had established the offending court and set up a new one. The state became divided between prorelief and antirelief factions, and the issue also figured in the division of the state politically between followers of the Tennessean Andrew Jackson, then rising to national political prominence, and supporters of the Whig Party of Henry Clay, who was a leader in Kentucky politics for almost half a century.
The Slavery Issue and Civil War
In the first half of the 19th cent., Kentucky was primarily a state of small farms rather than large plantations and was not adaptable to extensive use of slave labor. Slavery thus declined after 1830, and for 17 years, beginning in 1833, the importation of slaves into the state was forbidden. In 1850, however, the legislature repealed this restriction, and Kentucky, where slave trading had begun to develop quietly in the 1840s, was converted into a huge slave market for the lower South.
Antislavery agitation had begun in the state in the late 18th cent. within the churches, and abolitionists such as James G. Birney and Cassius M. Clay labored vigorously in Kentucky for emancipation before the Civil War. Soon Kentucky, like other border states, was torn by conflict over the slavery issue. In addition to the radical antislavery element and the aggressive proslavery faction, there was also in the state a conciliatory group.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Kentucky attempted to remain neutral. Gov. Beriah Magoffin refused to sanction President Lincoln's call for volunteers, but his warnings to both the Union and the Confederacy not to invade were ignored. Confederate forces invaded and occupied part of S Kentucky, including Columbus and Bowling Green. The state legislature voted (Sept., 1861) to oust the Confederates and Ulysses S. Grant crossed the Ohio and took Paducah, thus securing the state was secured for the Union. After battles in Mill Springs, Richmond, and Perryville in 1862, there was no major fighting in the state, although the Confederate cavalryman John Hunt Morgan occasionally led raids into Kentucky, and guerrilla warfare was constant.
For Kentucky it was truly a civil war as neighbors, friends, and even families became bitterly divided in their loyalties. Over 30,000 Kentuckians fought for the Confederacy, while about 64,000 served in the Union ranks. After the war many in the state opposed federal Reconstruction policies, and Kentucky refused to ratify the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
As in the South, an overwhelming majority of Kentuckians supported the Democratic party in the period of readjustment after the war, which in many ways was as bitter as the war itself. After the Civil War industrial and commercial recovery was aided by increased railroad construction, but farmers were plagued by the liabilities of the one-crop (tobacco) system. After the turn of the century, the depressed price of tobacco gave rise to a feud between buyers and growers, resulting in the Black Patch War. Night riders terrorized buyers and growers in an effort to stage an effective boycott against monopolistic practices of buyers. For more than a year general lawlessness prevailed until the state militia forced a truce in 1908.
The Twentieth Century
Coal mining, which began on a large scale in the 1870s, was well established in mountainous E Kentucky by the early 20th cent. The mines boomed during World War I, but after the war, when demand for coal lessened and production fell off, intense labor troubles developed. The attempt of the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) to organize the coal industry in Harlan co. in the 1930s resulted in outbreaks of violence, drawing national attention to "bloody" Harlan, and in 1937 a U.S. Senate subcommittee began an investigation into allegations that workers' civil rights were being violated. Further violence ensued, and it was not until 1939 that the UMW was finally recognized as a bargaining agent for most of the state's miners. Labor disputes and strikes have persisted in the state; some are still accompanied by violence.
After World War I improvements of the state's highways were made, and a much-needed reorganization of the state government was carried out in the 1920s and 30s. Since World War II, construction of turnpikes, extensive development of state parks, and a marked rise in tourism have all contributed to the development of the state. Kentucky benefited from the energy crisis of the 1970s, enjoying new prosperity when its large coal supply was in great demand during the 70s and 80s. The broader economy, however, recovered slowly from a decline in manufacturing during the same period.
See S. A. Channing, Kentucky (1977); F. G. Davenport, Ante-Bellum Kentucky: A Social History, 1800–1860 (1943, repr. 1983); J. Goldstein, Kentucky Government and Politics (1984); W. Winton, Pioneer Ghosts of Kentucky (1987).
"Kentucky (state, United States)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky-state-united-states
"Kentucky (state, United States)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky-state-united-states
British and American surveyors, Thomas Walker and Christopher Gist first explored eastern and central Kentucky in 1751. As part of what was then called "the West," Kentucky held great promises for the use of its fertile land and abundant hunting grounds. Despite a British ban on western migration, settlers gradually began coming to Kentucky. In 1774 Harrodstown (now Harrodsburg) became the first white settlement in the region.
The Transylvania Land Company, assisted by famous frontiersman Daniel Boone (1734–1820), bought up a large tract of land from the Cherokee Nation and founded Fort Boonesborough in 1775. The colony of Virginia claimed Kentucky as part of its territory at this time. During and after the American Revolution (1775–1783) immigrants streamed in to the region, coming down the Ohio River or through the Cumberland Gap, as Kentucky became the principal route for migration into the Mississippi Valley. The settlements grew, and Kentucky strained at its bonds to Virginia. In 1792 Kentucky entered the Union as the fifteenth state.
Agricultural and processing industries enabled Kentucky to prosper over the next few decades. Kentucky was tied to the lower South economically, especially after the construction of a canal around the Ohio River Falls at Louisville in 1829. Kentucky supplied hemp, used to make ropes and bagging for cotton bales, as well as producing hogs, mules, workhorses, corn, flour, salt, and prepared meats. The state also became a large grower of tobacco, which by 1860 accounted for half the agricultural income in the state. Whiskey production began in the 1860s, with the most popular brew taking the name of the county where it was produced: Bourbon. Horse breeding and racing also developed during this period and became the trademark industry in the Bluegrass area near Lexington.
Kentucky was one of the border states with divided loyalties during the American Civil War (1861–65). Although the state ultimately backed the Union, thousands of soldiers from Kentucky also fought on the side of the Confederacy. A period of unrest and chaos followed the war during the Reconstruction (1865–1877) period.
By the 1870s economic health was gradually being restored in Kentucky. Liberal tax laws helped railroad construction to increase dramatically, and eastern Kentucky saw extensive development of timber and coal reserves. Many rural people moved into the cities of Louisville and Lexington as industrial growth flourished. In 1900 Kentucky held first place in per capita income among the southern states.
A bleaker picture, however, faced farmers in the state. The "dark-leaf" tobacco farmers of eastern Kentucky, as well as other farmers, experienced long-term price depression. Good land was also becoming hard to come by, as the size of the average family farm dropped to less than ten acres, and many were forced to become tenant farmers. New social movements aimed at farm unrest, including the Grange, the Farmers' Alliance, and the Populist Party, found many supporters in Kentucky.
Another of Kentucky's most important industries, coal mining, was going through hard times at the beginning of the twentieth century. By the late nineteenth century lower-sulfur coal had been mined out of the Cumberland coal reserves in the Appalachian region. Distant corporations with a highly developed profit motive employed many but did little to improve the ordinary lives of the people they employed. As mechanization of coal mining increased, jobs in the mining areas of the state became increasingly hard to come by. Deep mining began to give way to strip mining during this period.
During the 1920s a great deal of economic change hit Kentucky. The development of modern highways brought the political power center of the state to the Highway Commission. Political patronage under Governor Flem Sampson controlled nearly all the highway jobs until Sampson's ouster in 1931. Meanwhile, in the distillery industry, the enactment of Prohibition in 1918 had put thousands out of work. Coal mining experienced a boom in the early twenties, but declining prices after 1927 put thousands more into unemployment lines. Violent confrontations between mine owners and workers became common during this time. In Harlan and Bell counties hostilities were especially rampant and caused property destruction and many deaths.
During the dark days of the Great Depression (1929–1939) in the 1930s, Governor Albert B. ("Happy") Chandler brought a kind of "conservative progressivism" to the state after years of factional party politics. He used federal dollars from New Deal programs to cancel the state sales tax in favor of a progressive income tax and controversial taxes on cigarettes, whiskey, and beer. An unfortunate consequence of the sales tax loss prompted a downhill slide in funding for education and health care in the state. Adding to the state's woes, there were a number of violent confrontations during the 1930s between the United Mine Workers (UMW) and mine owners in eastern Kentucky. By 1940 Kentucky had acquired a negative image nationwide because of political corruption, poverty, and labor unrest. In that year the state ranked last among 48 states in per capita income.
World War II (1939–45) brought an economic boost to the state's economy by increasing the demand for coal and farm products, and also by stimulating the development of industry. As industries grew over the subsequent decades the percentage of people employed in farming decreased. Between 1945 and 1980 the farm population was reduced by 76 percent. Companies such as General Electric and Ford in Louisville and Rockwell International in Clark County helped bring Kentucky industry into the twentieth century. Lexington in particular changed from a farm and college town into a fast-growing metropolitan era, beginning with the arrival of International Business Machines (IBM) in 1956. A good measure of Kentucky's rise from the economic doldrums came from a steady influx of workers from 1970 on, after years of population loss.
Though still a poor state, economic conditions in Kentucky were greatly improved by the end of the twentieth century. The Bluegrass area and industrial cities were generally the most prosperous parts of the state. Despite federal programs that began in the 1960s to raise incomes in the eastern coal mining regions, income there was still lower and unemployment higher than in other areas of the state. A far higher percentage of the population in the Appalachian counties fell below the federal poverty level than in other counties. Though manufacturing cities, primarily along the Ohio River, provided high levels of employment, the state as a whole ranked only 42nd out of 50 states in per capita income with an average of $19,687 in 1996. Coal was still an important product of Kentucky, with over 114 million tons mined in 1996. A more recently discovered resource was petroleum, extracted mostly in Henderson County.
See also: Daniel Boone, Coal Industry, Farmer's Alliance, International Business Machines, National Grange, United Mine Workers
Alvey, R. Gerald. Kentucky Bluegrass Country. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1992.
Axton, W.F. Tobacco and Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1976.
Channing, Steven A. Kentucky: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1977.
Harrison, Lowell Hayes, and James C. Klotter. A New History of Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997.
Kleber, John E., ed. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992.
"Kentucky." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky
"Kentucky." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky
Frankfort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Lexington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247
Louisville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
The State in Brief
Nickname: Bluegrass State
Motto: United we stand, divided we fall
Area: 39,728 square miles (2000, U.S. rank: 37th)
Elevation: Ranges from 257 feet to 4,145 feet above sea level
Climate: Temperate, with plentiful rainfall; occasional winter temperature extremes in the mountains
Admitted to Union: June 1, 1792
Head Official: Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) (until 2007)
2004 estimate: 4,145,922
Percent change, 1990–2000: 9.7%
U.S. rank in 2004: 26th
Percent of residents born in state: 73.7% (2000)
Density: 101.7 people per square mile (2000)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 118,799
Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 295,994
American Indian and Alaska Native: 8,616
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 1,460
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 59,939
Age Characteristics (2000)
Population under 5 years old: 265,901
Population 5 to 19 years old: 847,743
Percent of population 65 years and over: 12.5%
Median age: 35.9 years
Total number of births (2003): 54,954
Total number of deaths (2003): 39,927 (infant deaths, 341)
AIDS cases reported through 2003: 2,359
Major industries: Food products, agriculture, coal mining, construction, manufacturing
Unemployment rate: 4.2% (December 2004)
Per capita income: $26,252 (2003; U.S. rank: 41st)
Median household income: $38,161 (3-year average, 2001-2003)
Percentage of persons below poverty level: 13.7% (3-year average, 2001-2003)
Income tax rate: ranges from 2.0% to 6.0%
Sales tax rate: 6.0% (food, utilities, and prescription drugs are exempt)
"Kentucky." Cities of the United States. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky
"Kentucky." Cities of the United States. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky
June 1, 1792
State bird :
State flower :
State tree :
Kentucky coffee tree
State motto :
United we stand, divided we fall
"Kentucky." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky
"Kentucky." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky
Kentucky (river, United States)
Kentucky, river, 259 mi (417 km) long, formed by the junction of the North Fork and the Middle Fork rivers, central Ky., and flowing NW to the Ohio River at Carrollton. Frankfort, Ky., is the river's largest city. The river is navigable for its entire length by means of locks. The Kentucky's upper course flows through a coal-mining district and the middle course through a deep gorge before entering the fertile bluegrass region.
"Kentucky (river, United States)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky-river-united-states
"Kentucky (river, United States)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kentucky-river-united-states
"Kentucky." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/kentucky
"Kentucky." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/kentucky