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Kentucky: Bluegrass State

CAPITAL: Frankfort
JOINED UNION: June 1, 1792
STATE BIRD: Western Meadowlark
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Based on the Iroquois Indian word "Ken-tah-ten," meaning
"land of tomorrow"
1992 POPULATION: 3,754,715
LAND AREA: 39,732 square miles
ECONOMY: Coal mining, tobacco, whiskey production, thoroughbred horse farms
HISTORY: Iroquois Indians lived here before white settlers came to make their first homes west of the Allegheny Mountains in 1774. Frontiersman Daniel Boone made his name here as he blazed the Wilderness Trail through the area known as the Cumberland Gap to found Fort Boonesborough in 1775. There was constant fighting between Indians and white settlers in Kentucky, goaded on by the British, until the Revolutionary War. Pro and anti-slavery forces were both strong in Kentucky and the state supplied soldiers to both sides in the Civil War. Since the mid-1900s, the coal-mining areas of Kentucky have seen confrontations between mine owners and miners over union organizing, working conditions, and salaries.

Home To America's Gold 1936


There's a reason why people, when asked for money, reply, "What do you think I am...Fort Knox?" Fort Knox, an army base, is best known as the home of America's gold, worth more than $6 billion. While people may dream of being as rich as Fort Knox, few ever achieve that status. Fort Knox became the gold depository in 1936 and during World War II it housed the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence for safekeeping.

It used to be that all of America's money was backed by gold, and that individuals could turn in their paper money for gold, if they wished. This ended in 1934, when America decided not to make gold coins and not to redeem paper money for gold. At the same time, the United States government took possession of all the country's gold, later putting it into Fort Knox.

Today, there is no longer one fixed price for gold. Instead, it is bought and sold in a market, much like stocks, with the price changing according to politics and the economy.

Swing Your Partner! 1812


While having roots in English and French dances, the square dance developed in America around the War of 1812. Square dancers move to instructions chanted by a caller and the couple, generally a man and a woman, is the basic unit of the dance. Four couples form a square and they perform a series of standard movements conducted by the caller. "Promenade Left" and "Swing Your Partner" are two such moves. Traditionally, a fiddle, banjo, or other string-instrument group provides the music.

Square dancing was part of community life in the South and later in the West. Dances were conducted at barbecues, corn shuckings, agricultural meetings, and other events.

Today we tend to think of square dancing as a Western event, with men wearing cowboy hats and women wearing cowboy handkerchiefs and the music may even have an electric guitar. Still, it developed in Appalachia.

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