Kentucky ( (
kən-TUK-ee), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a
state located in the
east south-central region of the
United States. Although styled as the "State of Kentucky" in the law creating it, (because in Kentucky's first constitution, the name state was used) Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a
commonwealth (the others being
Massachusetts). Originally a part of
Virginia, in 1792 Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the
37th most extensive and the
26th most populous of the
50 United States.
Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State", a nickname based on the
bluegrass found in many of its pastures due to the fertile soil. One of the major regions in Kentucky is the Bluegrass Region in central Kentucky, which houses two of its major cities,
Lexington. 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
contiguous United States, and the two largest man-made lakes east of the
Confederate government of Kentucky
established for the
by a self-constituted group of Southern sympathizers during the
American Civil War
. The shadow government never replaced the elected government in
, which had strong Union sympathies. Neither did it gain the support of Kentucky's citizens; its jurisdiction extended only as far as Confederate battle lines in the Commonwealth. Nevertheless, the provisional government was recognized by the
Confederate States of America
, and Kentucky was admitted to the Confederacy on December 10, 1861.
Bowling Green was designated the Confederate capital of Kentucky, but due to the military situation in the state, the provisional government was exiled and traveled with the
Army of Tennessee for most of its existence. For a short time in the autumn of 1862, the
Confederate Army controlled Frankfort, the only time a Union capital was captured by Confederate forces. During this occupation, General
Braxton Bragg attempted to install the provisional government as the permanent authority in the Commonwealth. However, Union General
Don Carlos Buell ambushed the inauguration ceremony and drove the provisional government from the state for the final time. From that point forward, the government existed primarily on paper, and was dissolved at the end of the war.
is the third largest city in
. According to 2006 estimates, the city had a total population of 55,525 and a metropolitan population of 111,599. Owensboro was first settled in the
by frontiersman William "Bill" Smeathers, for which the park on the riverfront is named. The settlement was called Yellow Banks, an allusion to the color of the banks of the
, Yellow Banks was incorporated as a city under the name Owensborough, named after Colonel
, the name was shortened to its present spelling of Owensboro.
On August 14, 1936, downtown Owensboro became the site of the last public
hanging in the
Rainey Bethea was executed for the rape of 70-year-old Lischa Edwards, who was also murdered. He had confessed to her strangling but the Commonwealth indicted him only on the rape charge since that was the only capital crime for which the penalty was hanging.
Owensboro considers itself the "
BBQ Capital of the world"; it holds its
International BBQ festival and competition every second weekend in May. Owensboro also hosts the Annual Owensboro PumpkinFest held each September at the Sportscenter/Moreland Park complex. The festival consists of food vendors, crafts people, carnival rides, children and adult activities and games, and plenty of contests using pumpkins.
Did you know...
Kentucky Official Symbols
On this day in Kentucky history...
"I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." --
"I was brought up to believe that
Scotch whisky would need a tax preference to survive in competition with Kentucky
"Tough girls come from
New York. Sweet girls, they're from
Georgia. But us Kentucky girls, we have
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." --
"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." --
is the site of a
that was active from
. Following a
effort that began in
, the site, now a
National Historic Landmark
, has become a popular
. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
, or Shakertown
, as it is known by residents of the area, is located 25 miles (40 km) southwest of
On January 1, 1805, with eleven Shaker communities already established in
New York and
New England, three Shaker
missionaries set out to find new converts among the pioneers then pouring into the western lands by way of
Cumberland Gap and the
Ohio. By August, they had gathered a small group of new adherents to the doctrine of
Mother Ann Lee, many of whom had earlier been influenced by the fervent
Cane Ridge Revival. In December
1806, forty-four converts of legal age signed a covenant agreeing to mutual support and the common ownership of property.
(January 4, 1856 – February 3, 1900) was an
who served as
Governor of Kentucky
for a few days in 1900 after having been mortally wounded by an assassin the day before he was sworn in. Goebel remains the only
in the United States to be assassinated while in office.
A skilled politician, Goebel was well able to broker deals with fellow lawmakers, and equally able and willing to break the deals if a better deal came along. His tendency to use the state's
political machinery to advance his personal agenda earned him the nicknames "Boss Bill", "the
Kenton King", "Kenton Czar", "King William I", and "William the Conqueror".
Goebel's abrasive personality made him many political enemies, but his championing of
populist causes, like railroad regulation, also won him many friends. This conflict of opinions came to a head in the Kentucky gubernatorial election of 1900. Goebel, a
Democrat, divided his party with self-serving political tactics at a time when Kentucky
Republicans were finally gaining strength, having elected the party's first governor four years previously. These dynamics led to a close contest between Goebel and
William S. Taylor. In the politically chaotic climate that resulted, Goebel was assassinated.
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