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Kentucky History Timeline
Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in Kentucky
Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Kentucky history.
Kentucky's first inhabitants are descendants of prehistoric people who migrate from Asia over the Arctic land bridge. Archaic people grow squash in the area, and Woodland people cultivate corn and beans. Kentucky was granted statehood in 1792, becoming the first U.S. state west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Frontiersman Daniel Boone was one of Kentucky's most prominent explorers and many immigrants followed the trail he blazed through the Cumberland Gap, known as the Wilderness Road.
18th Century Kentucky History Timeline
1739 - Capt. Charles de Longueuil discovers Big Bone Lick
1750 - Thomas Walker explores Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap
1751 - Christopher Gist explores area along Ohio River.
1763 - France cedes area including Kentucky to Britain.
1769 - Daniel Boone and John Finley first saw the far distant Bluegrass atop Pilot Knob, now in Powell County. The recorded date is June 7, 1769.
1774 - James Harrod constructed the first permanent settlement in Kentucky at Fort Harrod. 1774. James Harrod starts building Harrodstown (Harrodsburg); Indians force settlers to withdraw; settlers return in 1775.
1776 - Harrodsburg settlers, jealous of Boonesboro, send George Rogers Clark and John Jones to ask Virginia's aid; Virginia declares Transylvania Land Company illegal; creates Kentucky County.
1778 - The longest siege in United States frontier history was the thirteen-day siege of Fort Boonesborough in September 1778.
1779 - The First Baptist Church west of the Allegheny Mountains was formed at Elizabethtown.
1782 - "Last battle of American Revolution" fought at Blue Licks, near Mount Olivet.
1784 - First of ten conventions held to prepare way for separation of Kentucky from Virginia.
1791 - Upper Spottsvania Baptist Church Left In 1791 For Floyd County, Kentucky From Virginia Leading the Wagon train was Rev. Lewis Craig and Capt. William Ellis.
1792 - Kentucky becomes the 15th state on June 1, 1792. June 1; governor, Isaac Shelby; capital, Lexington, then Frankfort.
1796 - Wilderness Road opened to wagons.
1798 - Legislature passes Kentucky Resolutions opposing United States Alien and Sedition Acts.
19th Century Kentucky History Timeline
1801 - The great church camp meeting at Cane Ridge in Bourbon County was attended by more than 20,000.
1811 - Henry Clay elected to Congress from Kentucky. New Orleans, first steamboat on Ohio River, stops at Louisville; Enterprise reaches Louisville from New Orleans, La., in 1815.
1812 - Kentuckians bear brunt of war with England north of the Ohio and in New Orleans.
1818 - Westernmost region of the state was annexed, following its purchase from the Chicasaw Indians.
1819 - The first commercial oil well was on the Cumberland River in McCreary County Kentucky in 1819.
1830 - Louisville and Portland Canal opened.
1849 - Zachary Taylor, Kentucky hero of Mexican War, becomes 12th president of United States.
1850 - Kentucky was the 8th most populated state in the nation in the 1850 census. There were 982,405 citizens listed.
1865 - University of Kentucky founded at Lexington.
1875 - First Kentucky Derby run at Churchill Downs.
1891 - Present state constitution adopted.
1892 - The radio was invented by a Kentuckian named Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray in 1892.
20th Century Kentucky History Timeline
1899-1900 - Kentucky experienced four different governors in less than three months time, between early December of 1899 and early February of 1900.
1900 - Governor William Goebel was shot by an assassin on January 30, 1900. He died on February 3, 1900
1909 - Present State Capitol completed.
1912 - McCreary County, the last to be created of Kentucky's 120 counties, was formed in 1912. It is the only one formed in the 20th Century.
1904-1909 - The Black Patch War ends a tobacco-buying monopoly
1921 - In 1921 the law passed making it legal for women to serve on juries.
1933 - The Tennessee Valley Authority begin building dams in Kentucky
1937 - Worst Ohio River flood occurs. United States gold depository built at Fort Knox.
1944 - Kentucky Dam on Tennessee River completed by Tennessee Valley Authority.
1946 - Frederick M. Vinson, born in 1890 in Louisa, is appointed chief justice of the United States.
1950 - Atomic energy plant built near Paducah.
1951 - Wolf Creek Dam on Cumberland River dedicated.
1959 - Cumberland Gap National Historical Park dedicated.
1961 - It takes 20,000 plants to decorate Kentucky's Floral Clock. The clock was dedicated May 4, 1961 by Governor Bert T. Combs.
1962 - Kentucky is first state given control of certain nuclear energy materials by federal government.
1964 - Western Kentucky Parkway opened; Kentucky Central Parkway, in 1965.
1969 - The Tennessee Valley Authority builds a steam-generating plant in Paradise
1977 - Nightclub fire in Southgate kills 164 persons.
1988 - Voters approve the establishment of a state lottery.
1990 - The Kentucky Education Reform Act is passed.
21st Century Kentucky History Timeline
2005 - U.S. Supreme Court ruled against display of Ten Commandments inside two Kentucky courtrooms
2006 - Comair flight crashed near Lexington, 49 killed
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
US History Overview
The word History comes from the Greek word historķa meaning "to learn or know by inquiry." History is not static. It's fluid. It changes and grows and becomes richer and more complex when any individual interacts with it.