Kentucky is a southeastern state bordered on the north by the Ohio River and on the east by the Appalachian Mountains, with Frankfort as its capital. The Kentucky Derby, a renowned horse race held at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, is held in Louisville, the state’s largest city. The race is preceded by a two-week festival, which is held year-round at the Kentucky Derby Museum.
Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state in the United States’ Southeastern region, and one of the Upper South’s states, bordered on the north by Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, on the east by West Virginia and Virginia, on the south by Tennessee, and on the west by Missouri. The Ohio River defines the Commonwealth’s northern boundary. Frankfort is the capital, and Louisville and Lexington are the two largest cities. The population of the state was estimated to be around 4.5 million in 2020.
On June 1, 1792, Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union, breaking away from Virginia. It is known as the “Bluegrass State,” a moniker derived from Kentucky bluegrass, a grass species found in many of the state’s pastures and which has fueled the thoroughbred horse industry in the state’s central region. For this reason, it was historically known for good farming conditions and the development of large tobacco plantations in the central and western parts of the state, similar to those in Virginia and North Carolina, with the use of enslaved labor during the Antebellum and Civil War periods. Kentucky is eighth in the nation for producing beef cattle, fifth for producing goats, and fourteenth for producing corn. Kentucky has a long history as a major tobacco-producing state. Kentucky’s economy has grown to include non-agricultural sectors such as auto manufacturing, energy fuel production, and medical care. In terms of the number of cars and trucks built, the state ranks fourth in the United States.
Mammoth Cave National Park, the world’s longest cave system, as well as the longest navigable waterways and streams in the contiguous United States and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River, are all located in the state. Horse racing, bourbon, moonshine, coal, the historic state park “My Old Kentucky Home,” automobile manufacturing, tobacco, bluegrass music, college basketball, Louisville Slugger baseball bats, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the Kentucky colonel are just a few of Kentucky’s cultural icons.