Kentucky, state in the east central United States, bordering the Ohio River. Kentucky is one of four states that bear the name commonwealth, and its full title is the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Frankfort is the capital of Kentucky. Lexington-Fayette is the largest city, and Louisville is the center of the state’s largest metropolitan area.
Kentucky has had a rich and varied history since frontier times, when it was the haunt of Daniel Boone and other famous pioneers. Kentucky entered the Union on June 1, 1792, as the 15th state. Located on the border between the historical U.S. regions of the North and the South, the state officially remained in the Union during the American Civil War (1861-1865).
But the state was a contested area, and a considerable number of its citizens fought with the Confederate army. Significantly, the key Civil War political figures of the Union and the Confederacy, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, were both born in Kentucky. Kentucky slowly recovered from the war, and in the remaining decades of the 19th century, its people began to develop the manufacturing sector of the state’s economy that remains its cornerstone today. The name of the state is derived from a Cherokee name for the area south of the Ohio River. The early pioneers spelled the name in many ways, including “Kaintuckee” and “Cantuckey.”. Its meaning is disputed, but some historians believe it means “meadowland.” The state’s official nickname is the Bluegrass State, which is derived from the famed bluegrass grown in pastures in central Kentucky. The grass, while green itself, has buds with a purplish-blue hue, which give pastures a bluish tint when seen from a distance. The nickname also recognizes the role that the Bluegrass region has played in Kentucky’s economy and history. © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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