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The time zones in Kentucky are both the Eastern and the Central time zones

Abraham Lincoln was born three miles south of Hodgenville Feb 12, 1809 at Sinking Spring Farm

Total land area: 39,732 square miles
Total water area: 679 square miles
Total area: 40,411 square miles, the 37th largest state

Kentucky has 120 counties
Pike County is the largest in area: 787 sq. miles
Gallatin County is the smallest in area: 98 sq. miles



1960 - 3,038,156
1970 - 3,218,706
1980 - 3,660,777
1990 - 3,685,296
2000 - 4,041,769

Population Rank: 25 of 50 states (2000 Census rank)
Population Density: 100 persons per square mile, the 22
nd most densely populated state
Jefferson County has largest population: 693,604 in 2000
Robertson County has smallest population: 2,266 in 2000

Kentucky is bounded to the west, north and east by three rivers; the Mississippi, Ohio, and Big Sandy Rivers. The southern boundaries are formed where Kentucky meets the states of Tennessee and Virginia.


Kentucky has many geographic features. The Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River form the east and west borders. The Ohio River forms an irregular northern border. There are heavily forested areas in the mountains near Virginia. Here are found deep valleys and gorges. In this area is the Cumberland Gap, a national historical park. The south-central area of the state has many caves, including Mammoth Cave near Cave City. Central Kentucky is the "Bluegrass Area," and the Lexington area is known as the Horse Capital of the World. The southwestern portion of the state, though not altogether flat, has low hills and wide flood plains. It is also a very fertile area of the state.

The highest point in Kentucky is Black Mountain at 4,145 feet above sea level
The lowest point in Kentucky is at the Mississippi River at 257 feet above sea level

Longitude: 81° 58'W to 89° 34'W
Latitude: 36° 30'N to 39° 9'N
The geographic center of Kentucky is located in Marion County, 3 miles NNW of Lebanon.
Longitude: 84° 30.4'W
Latitude: 37° 21.5'N

about 380 miles long and 140 miles wide.
Kentucky is bordered by Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio in the north. On the south, Kentucky is bordered by Tennessee. West Virginia and Virginia border Kentucky on the east and Missouri borders Kentucky on the west.
average elevation: 750 feet above sea level


You can see ancient history at Big Bone Lick State Park when you view prehistoric animal bones. The area was also home to various Indian tribes. Shawnee and Cherokee hunted and fought here before the Europeans arrived. The area remained basically unexplored because of natural barriers, such as the Appalachian Mountain Range. In 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker made a trip through the Cumberland Gap. His records helped others follow. Daniel Boone and John Finley, a Virginia trader, came through with their party in 1769. Their settlements, as a result of the trek, were referred to as Boone's Trace or the Wilderness Road. The area rapidly expanded through the 1770's. Settlers came in abundance after the American Revolution. Statehood finally came in 1792.

Why is Kentucky called a "Commonwealth?"

In the US, "commonwealth" is another word for "state." It implies a government commitment to the common good of the people and dates back to the time of Oliver Cromwell's England in the mid-1600's. Several other states, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia, also refer to themselves as Commonwealths. Since Kentucky was created from Virginia in 1792 as the 15th state, the founding fathers decided to continue to use that term for the new state of Kentucky.

The State Nickname
The Bluegrass State

In the spring, bluegrass produces bluish-purple buds that when seen in large fields give a rich blue cast to the grass, thus, the name bluegrass. Early pioneers found bluegrass growing on Kentucky's rich limestone soil. Then, traders began asking for the seed of the "blue grass from Kentucky." The name stuck and today Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass state.

Other nicknames:

Nicknames usually occur because of something notable in a state.  In Kentucky, Hemp was one of two main crops, the other being Tobacco.  So, of course, two other nicknames for Kentucky are the “Hemp State” and the “Tobacco State.” 



Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
464 Chenault Road
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Phone: 502-695-4700
Fax: 502-695-6824

Government Links page for Kentucky
Great links page for all levels of government in Kentucky


Official Kentucky Travel Guide

For Kentucky Travel Information please call
Toll-free: 800-225-TRIP (8747)


Kentucky Coal Miners page - the life and times of coal miners in Kentucky, particularly in the coal fields of Harlan County, Kentucky.


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This page was last updated 16 September 206 at 10:08 pm

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