Kentucky Facts

Kentucky is the Bluegrass State and famous for its renowned Kentucky Derby, fine horses, its characteristic bourbon, and its typical tobacco. Yet the state should also deserve great fame for all the remarkable personalities that originated from here or that are associated with the state, and for a system of state parks that often is called the best in the nation.

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The Louisville Symphonic Orchestra is truly leading the nation when it comes to classical music performances, and the city’s baseball team, the ‘Louisville Slugger’ plays also a role in the nation’s competitiveness. Among Kentucky’s countless natural attractions is Mammoth Cave that includes two lakes, three rivers, and one like-real sea. Statesman Henry Clay, standing at Cumberland Gap, once spoke these famous words: ‘I think I’m listening to the tread of millions that are coming here’. And he was right, as indeed millions have come to follow in his footsteps.

Quick Facts about Kentucky

– Kentucky’s unique and world-famous Cave Region.
– The state is the nation’s first in pedigreed horses.
– Has the biggest loose-leaf tobacco market in the world.
– Leading in fine grass seed.
– Kentucky is the largest producer of bourbon in the world.
– A leader in America in fluorite production.
– Leads the nation in the production of bituminous coal.
– Here the first daily newspaper was published west of the Alleghenies.

Kentucky brief history

In 1654, Abram Wood, a Virginia Colonel, explored the region that we know as Kentucky for the first time in recorded history, and by the year 1690, the majority of the original native Indian population was driven out of the area by the Iroquois. A few scattered parties of Native Americans came back to the region though.

France claimed the entire area around the Allegheny Mountains and in 1729, French traders, together with Shawnee, Mingo, and Delaware tribes founded ‘Lower Shawneetown’. This settlement became abandoned, though, before the beginning of the French and Indian War (1754 – 1763).

The British were not recognizing the French claims and Thomas Walker, in 1750, was exploring the area again for the British Loyal Land Company of Virginia. Explorer Christopher Gist was traveling the Ohio River area in 1751 and also paid a visit to Lower Shawneetown as he described in his journals.

In 1763, the British troops triumphed in the French and Indian War, and in 1763, Daniel Boone and John Findley were crossing the pass that we now know as the Cumberland Gap. Daniel Boone wrote in 1771: …I was returning to my family but determined to come back and reside in Kentucky, which I esteem only second to paradise…

In 1774, James Harrod, together with a party of over 30 settlers, established a community that we today know as Harrodsburg. This actually is Kentucky’s oldest European settlement that was permanently lived in. In 1775, on April 5th, Boone and a group of thirty men, traveled across ‘Boone’s Trace’ and started to establish Fort Boonesborough, and at the time that the Revolutionary War was approaching, the British forces were stirring up the area’s native Indians.

 … The moonlight is always the softest in Kentucky, summer days always come oftenest, love’s fire glows always the longest, yet a wrong thing is always wrongest thing in Kentucky…

And frontiersman Daniel Boone wrote:
… I had in summer gained a commanding ridge’s summit…with an astonishing delight, beholding the ample plains, the fine and beautiful tracts below…and the mighty Ohio River, which was rolling on in silent majestic dignity, was marking Kentucky’s western boundaries with its astonishing, inconceivable grandeur…