Kentucky is nicknamed the 'Bluegrass State' for the variety of grass that covers swathes of its surface, producing a small blue flower in springtime. The grass provides good grazing for Kentucky's prized thoroughbred horses, which are brought up on the rolling hills of this western frontier.

Horses, fried chicken, bourbon, and river steamers are what most people associate with Kentucky, but this largely rural part of the US has plenty of other attractions too, many of them historical and a great deal of them natural.

For instance, Abraham Lincoln's birthplace is a frequented tourist attraction, Thomas Edison lived in Louisville before he invented the light bulb, food connoisseurs Col Sanders and Duncan Hines were both from Kentucky, and the state contains the world's longest known cave system, Mammoth Cave, which is 405 miles (652km) long.

Kentucky is one of only four states that is designated a commonwealth. In 1792, when the USA incorporated Kentucky as the 15th state, the people chose to be a commonwealth, governed on the common consent of the people.

The state is governed from the capital, Frankfort, on the Kentucky River in central Kentucky, but the largest city in the state, and its commercial capital, is Louisville, a lively town on the Ohio River.

Kentucky, bordered by no less than seven other states, is easily accessible via several interstates and the Louisville International Airport, making it a popular tourist destination with its 50 state parks and hundreds of recreational, natural, historic, and cultural attractions. Tourism is the state's third largest revenue-producing industry, and visitors are enthusiastically welcomed.