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Kentucky is a state of the United States, west of the Allegheny
Mountains. Together with Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, form the
so-called Southeast Central States. Border to Missouri in the
west, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio in the north, West Virginia in the
east, Virginia in the southeast and Tennessee in the south.
Kentucky has a total area of approximately 104,660 square miles and has
4,454,199 residents (U.S. Census, 2017). Kentucky became the number 15 state
in the United States on June 1, 1792. The capital is Frankfort,
while Louisville is the largest city in the state.
The name has an uncertain interpretation, may be derived from
a Cherokee word, "dark, bloody battlefield," but is also interpreted as
"engmark" and "tomorrow's land, "abbreviated KY, and often referred to as The
Bluegrass State, following a rap genre which is highly prevalent in the
The eastern part of Kentucky belongs to the Cumberland Plateau, which is the
southernmost part of the Appalachian mountain range. The plateau is cut by
narrow river valleys, including the Cumberland and Kentucky River spring rivers,
reaching Big Black Mountain at 1263 feet above sea level. The area has large
deposits of coal (Eastern Coalfield), and the mountains are covered by dense
Also in the southwest (Western Coalfield) the landscape is hilly, while the
middle part is a quiet hill country. It is called in the North Bluegrass
district, and is known for its fertile soil, formed by weathering of limestone,
and for its horse breeding. The limestone area is rich in underground streams
and caves, including Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave, the world's largest cave. The
landscape to the west, between the Tennessee, Mississippi and Ohio rivers, is
part of the Mississippi River plain. The rivers mostly flow north to the Ohio
The climate is temperate with abundant rainfall, which falls fairly evenly
throughout the year. The annual average temperature varies between 13 and 16
°C; Louisville has a January temperature of 1 °C, 26 °C in July. The annual
rainfall is highest in the south, lowest in the northeast; 1130 millimeters
in Louisville. About 40 per cent of the area is wooded (oak, hickory, ash and
The colonization of Kentucky began in the late 18th century, and the
population passed one million in 1855, two million in 1895, and three million in
the mid-1950s. Since the depression in the 1930s, the state has largely had net
emigration, but in the period 1970-1980 the population increased by 13.6 per
cent, which gave growth slightly above the average for the entire United
States. In the decade 1980-1909 the population increased by only 0.7 per cent,
while in the 1990s it again increased in line with the national average.
87.8 percent of the population is considered white,
including 3.7 percent of Hispanic origin (US Census, 2017). The proportion of
blacks in the population has steadily declined since the American Civil War in
the 1860s. The Kentucky settlement has traditionally been associated with the
countryside, and in the mountains, topography and poor communications have in
many places created isolated small communities, hollows. The people in
these areas are often called hillbillies. The largest cities in the state
are Louisville and Lexington. Part of Cincinnatis (Ohio) suburbs is located in
Kentucky, including Covington.
Kentucky sends two senators and six representatives to Congress. The
State Senate has 38 members, the House of Representatives 100 members.
Agricultural products still form the basis of the state's economy, even
though the area cultivated is declining. Corn occupies the largest area,
but tobacco is the most important commodity. Only North Carolina has greater
tobacco production among the states, and Louisville, once the United States'
largest tobacco market, has large cigarette factories. Furthermore, soybeans,
wheat and rye are grown. Animal husbandry is of great importance and horse
breeding has long traditions.
Next to Wyoming and West Virginia, Kentucky is the largest coal producer in
the United States. Production takes place largely in the open pit ("strip
mining"), which have contributed to substantial erosion damage and other
environmental degradation. Oil and natural gas are also recovered in
considerable quantities. Otherwise, the state has the mechanical, electrical and
electronic industries, as well as the food and beverage industry. The industry
is particularly concentrated on cities along Ohio, which is a major
transportation hub, including to Ashland and Louisville. The state has a number
of higher education institutions, the best known being the University of
Kentucky at Lexington and the University of Louisville.
Kentucky was the first area west of the Allegheny Mountains colonized by
Americans from the 13 original colonies that founded the United States. This
happened immediately before the North American freedom struggle in the years
1775–1783. The area was initially organized as part of Virginia, but separated
and occupied as the 15th state in the union in 1792. Kentucky attempted to
remain neutral in the American Civil War, but was invaded by southern state
troops in 1862, and residents split between the north - and the southern
states. Both Union President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson
Davis were born here.