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Kentucky Description

The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home, 'Tis summer, the people are gay; the corn top's ripe and the meadow's in bloom, while the birds make music all the day. Lyrics and music from "My Old Kentucky Home," by Stephen Foster.In the mid-1700's, the French, Spanish, and English began exploring this land of green hills, mountains, valleys, and mighty rivers, and their collective journals indicate that there were no permanent Native American settlements in the region.

Scattered groups of Cherokee and Shawnee tribes did hunt the area, but as early scouts crossed this land, there were few initial problems with Indians. However, as the British and French fought for control of North America, the resulting French and Indian Wars (1754-63) temporally curtailed additional exploration.

daniel boone Daniel Boone, an early frontiersman, began exploring the Kentucky area in 1767, and tales of his journeys and subsequent legend inspired many settlers to move in. As those pioneers crossed through the Cumberland Plateau, Indians began to resist as they were now losing their ancestral hunting grounds to uninvited visitors.

In 1772, George Rogers Clark left his family home in Virginia to work as a surveyor for the Ohio Company. Clark's journey took him along the Ohio River, and on into the Kentucky territory. Over the next four years he was a guide for settlers, and with family and friends established communities such as Leesburg, now a part of Frankfort.

In 1776, Kentucky was made a county of Virginia. Its scattered population needed protection, and with the American Revolutionary War in its early stages Virginia could not adequately provide it. Isolated settlers and hunters became the target of Indian attacks, and many moved out leaving only a handful of hardy souls behind.

Near the end of the Revolutionary War a fort was constructed at Lexington to defend against the English and their Native American allies. As it turned out, Kentucky's "Battle of Blue Licks" was one of the last major battles of the Revolution.

At war's end Kentucky wanted statehood, and a series of conventions were held (1784–91). Disagreements were commonplace as some attendees proposed secession from Virginia, and even (if needed) from the United States.

A constitution was finally agreed to, and on June 1, 1792, the United States Congress accepted the Kentucky Constitution and admitted it as the 15th state; Isaac Shelby was elected governor, and Frankfort was chosen as the capital.

Settlers returned in great numbers and farms sprang up across the state. With rich soil providing the base, successful corn, tobacco and wheat crops put Kentucky into economic overdrive. By the turn of the century bourbon distilleries were in operation, and the City of Bardstown would become the de facto capital of Kentucky's (world famous) signature drink.

In late 1811 and early 1812, southwestern Kentucky was struck by a series of powerful earthquakes, the largest recorded earthquake series (ever) in the contiguous United States. Among other damage, the earthquakes caused the Mississippi River to change course, thus creating the Kentucky Bend.

Across America, the plight of black slaves in the southern states was an on-going controversial issue. In the small farms across Kentucky slaves were not initially needed, nor used, and in fact, beginning in 1833, the importation of slaves into the state was forbidden. That attitude latter changed, and by 1850, Kentucky was an active slave state and a significant slave market for the southern states.

Kentucky Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Columbia Adair 270
Scottsville Allen 270
Lawrenceburg Anderson 502
Wickliffe Ballard 270
Glasgow Barren 270
Owingsville Bath 606
Middlesboro Bell 606
Florence Boone 859
Paris Bourbon 859
Ashland Boyd 606
Danville Boyle 859
Brooksville Bracken 606
Jackson Breathitt 606
Hardinsburg Breckinridge 270
Shepherdsville Bullitt 502
Morgantown Butler 270
Princeton Caldwell 270
Murray Calloway 270
Newport Campbell 859
Bardwell Carlisle 270
Carrollton Carroll 502
Grayson Carter 606
Liberty Casey 606
Hopkinsville Christian 270
Winchester Clark 859
Manchester Clay 606
Albany Clinton 606
Marion Crittenden 270
Burkesville Cumberland 270
Owensboro Daviess 270
Brownsville Edmonson 270
Sandy Hook Elliott 606
Irvine Estill 606
Lexington Fayette 859
Flemingsburg Fleming 606
Prestonsburg Floyd 606
Frankfort Franklin 502
Fulton Fulton 270
Verona Gallatin 859
Lancaster Garrard 859
Dry Ridge Grant 859
Mayfield Graves 270
Leitchfield Grayson 270
Greensburg Green 270
Greenup Greenup 606
Hawesville Hancock 270
Elizabethtown Hardin 270
Harlan Harlan 606
Cynthiana Harrison 859
Munfordville Hart 270
Henderson Henderson 270
Eminence Henry 502
Clinton Hickman 270
Madisonville Hopkins 270
McKee Jackson 606
Louisville Jefferson 502
Nicholasville Jessamine 859
Paintsville Johnson 606
Fort Mitchell Kenton 859
Hindman Knott 606
Barbourville Knox 606
Hodgenville Larue 270
London Laurel 606
Louisa Lawrence 606
Beattyville Lee 606
Hyden Leslie 606
Whitesburg Letcher 606
Vanceburg Lewis 606
Stanford Lincoln 606
Ledbetter Livingston 270
Russellville Logan 270
Eddyville Lyon 270
Richmond Madison 859
Salyersville Magoffin 606
Lebanon Marion 270
Benton Marshall 270
Inez Martin 606
Maysville Mason 606
Paducah McCracken 270
Pine Knot McCreary 606
Calhoun McLean 270
Brandenburg Meade 270
Frenchburg Menifee 606
Harrodsburg Mercer 859
Edmonton Metcalfe 270
Tompkinsville Monroe 270
Mount Sterling Montgomery 859
West Liberty Morgan 606
Greenville Muhlenberg 270
Bardstown Nelson 502
Carlisle Nicholas 859
Beaver Dam Ohio 270
La Grange Oldham 502
Owenton Owen 502
Booneville Owsley 606
Falmouth Pendleton 859
Hazard Perry 606
Pikeville Pike 606
Stanton Powell 606
Somerset Pulaski 606
Mount Olivet Robertson 606
Mount Vernon Rockcastle 606
Morehead Rowan 606
Russell Springs Russell 270
Georgetown Scott 502
Shelbyville Shelby 502
Franklin Simpson 270
Taylorsville Spencer 502
Campbellsville Taylor 270
Elkton Todd 270
Cadiz Trigg 270
Bedford Trimble 502
Morganfield Union 270
Bowling Green Warren 270
Springfield Washington 859
Monticello Wayne 606
Providence Webster 270
Corbin Whitley 606
Campton Wolfe 606
Versailles Woodford 859

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.