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The Kentucky Portal


The Commonwealth of Kentucky /kɪnˈtʌki/ (About this sound listen) is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth (the others being Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts). Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 it became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th largest state in terms of total area, the 36th largest in land area, and ranks 26th in population.

Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State", a nickname based on the fact that native bluegrass is present in many of the pastures throughout the state, based on the fertile soil. It made possible the breeding of high-quality livestock, especially thoroughbred racing horses. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world's longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park; the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the Lower 48 states; and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River. It is also home to the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the United States, the largest free-ranging elk herd east of Montana, and the nation's most productive coalfield. Kentucky is also known for thoroughbred horses, horse racing, bourbon distilleries, bluegrass music, automobile manufacturing, tobacco and college basketball.

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The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky, as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive (Kentucky Campaign) during the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi won a tactical victory against primarily a single corps of Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Union Army of the Ohio. The battle is considered a strategic Union victory, sometimes called the Battle for Kentucky, because Bragg withdrew to Tennessee soon thereafter, leaving the critical border state of Kentucky in Union hands for the remainder of the war. Following the Battle of Perryville, the Union maintained control of Kentucky for the rest of the war. Historian James M. McPherson considers Perryville to be part of a great turning point of the war, "when battles at Antietam and Perryville threw back Confederate invasions, forestalled European mediation and recognition of the Confederacy, perhaps prevented a Democratic victory in the northern elections of 1862 that might have inhibited the government's ability to carry on the war, and set the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation which enlarged the scope and purpose of the conflict."

Considering the casualties for the engaged strengths of the armies, the Battle of Perryville was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, and the largest battle fought in the state of Kentucky.

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Kentucky countryside.jpg
Photo credit: A. Aspie
Woodford County is in the heart of the Bluegrass region.

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Frankfort serves as the state capital of the commonwealth of Kentucky, and is the county seat of Franklin County. The population was 27,741 at the 2000 census; by population, it is the 4th smallest state capital in the United States. James Wilkinson purchased in 1786 the 260-acre tract of land on the north side of the Kentucky River, which is now downtown Frankfort. Called by some the father of Frankfort, Wilkinson was an early promoter to make Frankfort the state capital.

The town of Frankfort probably received its name from an event that took place in 1780's when Indians attacked a group of pioneers from Bryan's Station who were making salt at a ford in the Kentucky River. One of the pioneers, Stephen Frank, was killed and the crossing became known as "Frank's Ford." Later this name was shortened to Frankfort.

After Kentucky became a state, five commissioners were appointed on June 20, 1792, to choose a location for the state capital. They were John Allen and John Edwards (both from Bourbon County), Henry Lee (Mason County), Thomas Kennedy (Madison County), and Robert Todd (Fayette County). A number of communities competed for this honor, but Frankfort won by perseverance and, according to early histories, the offer of Andrew Holmes' log house as capitol for seven years, a number of town lots, £50 worth of locks and hinges, 10 boxes of glass, 1500 pounds of nails, and $3000 in gold.

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Thompson and Powell Martyrs Monument

Kentucky Official Symbols

On this day in Kentucky history...


"I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." -- Abraham Lincoln

"I was brought up to believe that Scotch whisky would need a tax preference to survive in competition with Kentucky bourbon." -- Hugo Black

"Tough girls come from New York. Sweet girls, they're from Georgia. But us Kentucky girls, we have fire and ice in our blood. We can ride horses, be a debutante, throw left hooks, and drink with the boys, all the while making sweet tea, darlin'. And if we have an opinion, you know you're gonna hear it." -- Ashley Judd

"Soon after, I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune." -- Daniel Boone

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The Creation Museum is a 60,000 square foot museum in the United States designed to promote young Earth creationism.

The museum presents an account of the origins of the universe, life, mankind, and man's early history according to a literal reading of the Book of Genesis. Its exhibits reject evolution and assert that the earth and all of its life forms were created in 6 days just 6000 years ago and that man and dinosaurs once coexisted.

According to the founder of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham, "One of the main reasons we moved there was because we are within one hour's flight of 69 per cent of America's population. Ham also explains how the idea of the museum originated: "Australia's not really the place to build such a facility if you're going to reach the world. Really, America is." Previously Ham worked for the Institute for Creation Research, which runs a creationist museum in Santee, California with free admission

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Rick Pitino (born September 18, 1952) is the head basketball coach at the University of Louisville. He has also served as head coach at Providence College and the University of Kentucky, leading that program to the championship]] in the 1996 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. Pitino holds the distinction of being the only men's coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to the Final Four. He has coached on the professional level for the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics with mixed success. He has earned respect as both a coach and motivator.

Pitino is considered by many to be one of the first coaches to promote fully taking advantage of the 3-point shot, first adopted by the NCAA in 1987. By exploiting the 3-point shot, his teams at Kentucky in the early 1990s were known as Pitino's Bombinos, as a significant portion of the offensive points came from the 3-point shot. Even now, Pitino's teams are known for the 3-point threat and all of his teams rank towards the top in 3-point attempts per season.

Pitino is the author of a motivational self-help book (and audio recording) named Success Is a Choice. He published an autobiography in 1988 entitled Born to Coach describing his life up until his time with the Knicks.

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