Humans first came to what is now Kentucky at least 14,000 years ago, possibly following the mammoths and other big game that migrated here. Thousands of years later, Native American tribes lived on this land, including the Cherokee, Shawnee, Chicas, and Yuchi. It wasn’t until 1774 that the first permanent white settlement was established. Pioneers James Harrod and Daniel Boone established other settlements in later years.

Geography of Kentucky

For a time, the eastern part of present-day Kentucky was considered part of Virginia, but in 1792 it was declared its own state. Western Kentucky was later added in 1818 after purchase from the Chickasaw Indians. When the Civil War began in 1861, Kentucky was officially neutral. Yet 140,000 of its citizens went to fight in the war. Most experts believe that the name Kentucky comes from a Native American language, but they disagree on which one. It may have come from the Wyandot name for this area, Kah-ten-tah-teh, which can roughly be translated as “Land of Tomorrow”. It is also possible that it comes from the Shawnee name for this area, Kain-tuck-ee, which means “At the source of the river.” Or perhaps it came from the Iroquois or Iroquois word Kentucke meaning “among the meadows.”

Geography of Kentucky

According to, Kentucky borders Indiana and Ohio to the north, where the Ohio River creates an undulating boundary. It has West Virginia (separated from Kentucky by the Great Sandy River) and Virginia to the east, Tennessee to the south, and Missouri and Illinois to the west. Kentucky contains six distinct geographic regions. The farthest east is a mountainous region, part of the Appalachian chain. There are forests, high ridges and narrow V-shaped valleys, as well as the highest point of the state – Big Black Mountain. It is also a land of coalfields – 10,500 square miles of coal lie under this area, known as the Eastern Kentucky Coalfield. Travel west to an area of ​​horseshoe-shaped streams where erosion has created hundreds of pen-shaped mounds called monadnoks. Part of the Daniel Boone National Forest is here. In the middle of the handles is an area of ​​bluegrass, named after the bluish-green grass that grows there. Its hills, sinkholes, caves and springs were created when the local limestone weathered or broke. The Pennyroyal region (also spelled Pennyrile) is named after the type of mint plant that grows there. Spreading west through the center of the state, this area is rocky with trees, lakes, and many caves. One of these caves is Mammoth Cave, the longest in the world – it stretches for 350 miles! Surrounded by the Pennyroyal Western Coal Region, rolling country covering 4680 square miles of coal. The region is home to John James Audubon State Park, named after the famous artist and naturalist. The far west Jackson Purchase, which was added to Kentucky in 1818, is lowland filled with ponds, lakes, and swamps.

Wildlife of Kentucky

Black bears, bobcats, red foxes, minks, and river otters are common mammals in Kentucky. Look up to the sky and you might see a peregrine falcon, bald eagle, mountain bluebird, Kentucky warbler, or northern cardinal (the state bird). Check the ground and trees for reptiles such as the six-stringed mount, mackerel, or eastern corn snake. Amphibians like the Kentucky spring salamander or the Jefferson salamander hang out near the water. The tulip poplar (state tree) is native to the eastern United States, as is the Kentucky coffee tree. Other native trees include red maple, sassafras, northern red oak and bald cypress. Look for colorful native wildflowers such as wild columbine, purple coneflower, dwarf iris, and the critically endangered Kentucky slipper, a species of orchid.


Population: 25.527 thousand people (2010)
Area: 38.8 sq. km
Founded: 1786
Time zone: UTC-5, summer UTC-4
Altitude: 155 m

The capital of Kentucky, Frankfort, is not one of the largest cities in the state. It is located in the northern part of the state, located on the banks of the Kentucky River. Frankfort is also the capital of Franklin County. See Kentucky cities.

The name of the city comes from the name of the area, which was named at the end of the 18th century by white colonists. Once upon a time, when Indians attacked settlers crossing the ford, a certain Stephen Frank died – hence the name Franksford (“Frank’s Ford”), which was later simplified to the modern name. Frankfort was founded by James Wilkinson in 1786. Already in 1792 the town became the capital of Kentucky. During the Civil War, the primordially “southern” Frankfort was captured by the “northerners” in the first months of the battles and remained under their control until the end of the war.

The city developed slowly even despite its capital status. In the 1960s, he experienced significant changes due to modernization, but quickly returned to the usual course of a leisurely life. The sights of Frankfort include administrative buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries, headed by the Kentucky Capitol, old mansions, buildings in the historic center, parks and several majestic memorials.


Geography of Kentucky
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