Kentucky Facts



State Location Kentucky Location In The US
State Abbreviation KY
Statehood June 1, 1792
State Capital Frankfort
State Size Total (Land + Water): 40,409 sq miles; Land Only: 39,728 sq miles
Number of Counties 120
State Population (2015)4,425,092
State Population Density111.4 people / square mile
Electoral Votes8
State Quarter Issue Date October 15, 2001
State Motto United we stand, divided we fall
State Flower Goldenrod
State Tree Tulip tree
State Bird Cardinal
Nickname Bluegrass State
State Flag Kentucky State Flag
State Gas Tax$0.2600 / Gallon
State Cigarette Tax$0.60 / Pack
Area Codes 270, 364, 502, 606, 859
Top 5 Cities (2010 population) Louisville (597,337)
Lexington (295,803)
Bowling Green (58,067)
Owensboro (57,265)
Covington (40,640)
Major Sports Teams None

Kentucky Fun Facts

  • The name "Kentucky" has an Indian origin. There are several sources:
    - The Wyandots called it "Kah-ten-tah-teh," meaning "Fair Land of Tomorrow."
    - The Shawnee name is "Kain-tuck-ee," meaning "At the Head Of The River."
    - The Mohawks called it "Kentucke," meaning "Among the Meadows."
    - The Delawares also called it "Kentucke," which means "Place of the Meadows."
    - The Catawbas called it "Kentucke" as well, meaning, "The Prairie, or Barrens."
  • Held every year since 1875, the Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously held horse race in the country.
  • In 1774, Ford Harrod (now Harrodsburg) was established as the first permanent settlement in the Kentucky region. It was named after James Harrod, who led the construction efforts.
  • Cumberland Falls in Kentucky is only place in Western Hemisphere to spot a moonbow on a regular basis (a moonbow is a rainbow made from light reflected off of the moon at night).
  • Kentucky’s officeholders and judges must swear an oath before taking office that they have neither fought a duel with deadly weapons nor aided or assisted any person fighting one.
  • Kentucky is the only U.S. state to have a continuous border of rivers running along three of its sides—the Mississippi River to the west, the Ohio River to the north, and the Big Sandy River and Tug Fork to the east.
  • On January 30, 1900, Kentucky Governor William Goebel was assassinated in downtown Frankfort. Goebel is the only governor of a U.S. state to have been assassinated while in office.
  • The song "Happy Birthday to You" was the creation of two Louisville sisters, Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill, in 1893.
  • Middlesboro is the only city in the United States built within a meteor crater.
  • In Kentucky, throwing eggs at a public speaker may result in one year in prison.




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