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kentucky timeline

1600s - 1700s
  • (1654) Virginian Colonel Abram Wood, surveyed area
  • (1720's) French claimed most of land, established trading posts with help of local Indian tribes
  • (1739) Capt. Charles de Longueuil of France discovered Big Bone Lick
  • (1750) British representative, Dr. Thomas Walker, explored area through Cumberland Gap
  • (1751) Christopher Gist explored Ohio River
  • (1754 - 1763) French and Indian War
  • (1767) Frontiersman Daniel Boone, John Findley traveled into Kentucky across Cumberland Gap
  • (1774) James Harrod constructed first permanent Kentucky settlement at Fort Harrod; Indians forced settlers to withdraw
  • (1775) Treaty of Sycamore Shoals signed by the Cherokee Nation and the Transylvania Land Company (Richard Henderson & Company) for the purchase of land between the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers
  • (1776) Virginia declared Transylvania Land Company illegal; formed Kentucky County
  • (1778) Shawnee Indians attacked Fort Boonesborough, seige lasted 13 days
  • (1780) Virginia divided Kentucky County into three separate counties: Fayette, Jefferson, Lincoln
  • (1782) Last battle of American Revolution fought at Blue Licks
  • (1783) First commercial distillery opened
  • (1792) Kentucky became 15th U. S. state
  • (1795) First barrel "Old Jake Beam Sour" introduced by Beam family
  • (1796) Wilderness Road opened for wagons
  • (1797) Mammoth Cave main section discovered by Robert Houchins
1800s
  • (1811) Severe earthquake occurred in far-western Kentucky; first steamboat on Ohio River stopped at Louisville
  • (1812) Eathquake occurred; tidal waves created on Mississippi River, river flowed backward, created Kentucky Bend, formed Reelfoot Lake area
  • (1818) Western portion of Kentucky purchased by President Andrew Jackson from the Chickasaw Indians (Jackson Purchase)
  • (1819) First commercial oil well opened on Cumberland River
  • (1821) First advertisement for bourbon printed in Western Citizen Newspaper in Paris, Kentucky
  • (1830) Louisville and Portland Canal opened
  • (1861) Kentucky declared neutrality in Civil War, issued proclamation asking both sides to stay off Kentucky soil; supplied about 86,000 troops to the north, 40,000 to the south; Fort Jefferson one of first Kentucky positions occuped by Union Troops; Kentucky became 13th Confederate state
  • (1862) First battle of Civil War on Kentucky soil fought near Prestonburg; Battle of Perryville was bloodiest Kentucky Civil War battle; Kentucky under control of Union Army for remainder of Civil War
  • (1867 - 1881) Ku Klux Klan active in Kentucky; many incidents of shooting, lynching, whipping of blacks
  • (1870) Shipment of jugs of bourbon from Ohio River ports began
  • (1875) First Kentucky Derby run at Churchill Downs
  • (1891) Present state constitution adopted
  • (1892) Kentuckian Nathan Stubblefield invented radio
1900s
  • (1900) Over 1,500 armed civilians took control of Capitol for two weeks; governor declared martial law, activated Kentucky militia; Governor William Goebel shot by assassin
  • (1905 - 1909) Black Patch War - farmers burned barns and fields belonging to large tobacco interests; ended tobacco-buying monopoly
  • (1921) Law passed allowing women to serve on juries

election pin clay handbill cumberland gap davis stamp george rogers clark henry clay battle of perryville james bowie death kentucky quarter kit carson louisville flood mammoth cave roy bean court wilderness road william goebel political poster andrew jackson


1900s continued
  • (1920 - 1933) Prohibition - 18th amendment passed prohibiting manufacture, sale of alcohol; hundreds of businesses closed; bourbon distilleries closed; government issued 10 licenses to produce whiskey for medicine
  • (1926) Mammoth Cave National Park established
  • (1933) Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began building dams in Kentucky
  • (1936) Last legal public hanging in Kentucky occurred
  • (1937) U. S. Gold Depository established at Fort Knox; Ohio River floods caused devastating damages
  • (1944) Kentucky Dam completed
  • (1950) Atomic energy plant built near Paducah
  • (1958) School bus collided with wrecker truck, plunged into river, driver and 26 children drowned
  • (1959) Cumberland Gap National Park dedicated
  • (1966) Kentucky first southern state to pass comprehensive civil rights law
  • (1969) Steam-generating plant built in Paradise
  • (1977) Fire at Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate killed 165, injured over 200
  • (1988) Intoxicated driver hit bus carrying youth group; crash and fire killed 27; Voters approved state lottery
  • (1997) Student at Heath High School opened fire on fellow students, three killed, five wounded; study conducted by NORML found Kentucky produced 800,000 marijuana plants annually, value of over $1.3 billion
  • (1998) University of Kentucky won NCAA Basketball Championship
2000s
  • (2005) U.S. Supreme Court ruled against display of Ten Commandments inside two Kentucky courtrooms
  • (2006) Comair flight crashed near Lexington, 49 killed
  • (2010) Tea Party candidate, Rand Paul, won Republic Senate primary
  • (2010) Man killed five people, self in argument about breakfast
  • (2010) Five U.S. military members from Fort Campbell 101st Combat Aviation Brigade killed in helicopter crash in Afghanistan
  • (2010) Five U.S. military members from Fort Campbell 101st Combat Aviation Brigade killed in helicopter crash in Afghanistan
  • (2011) Australian man held in Louisville on charges of locking fake bomb around neck of Sydney teenager
  • (2012) Series of powerful storms and tornadoes killed 12
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