Why is Kentucky Known as The Bluegrass State?

KENTUCKY - Kentucky is often referred to as the "Bluegrass State." This nickname is used in a variety of contexts. Some people think this is a reference to the state's bluegrass, while others believe it is a reference to the state's greenery. Whatever the reason, the state has earned the nickname.

Why is Kentucky Known as The Bluegrass State?

Kentucky - The Bluegrass State


Bluegrass is a grass that is common throughout Kentucky. Unlike other grasses, it is not blue but instead a greenish-purple color. It is also hardy and resilient.

The state's name comes from an Iroquois word meaning "meadowlands." Native Americans inhabited Kentucky for many centuries. In the early 1800s, European explorers began to arrive in more significant numbers.

Kentucky's history is filled with legends and stories. Many writers have penned books about the state. These books are often about the region's working class, the natural environment, or the state's extractive economy.

During the Civil War, southeastern Kentucky leaned toward the Union. Central and western Kentucky, however, were pro-Confederate. For decades after the war, southeastern Kentucky has consistently supported Republican candidates for state-level offices.



Bluegrass is also a popular music genre in the state derived from traditional Scottish, Irish, and English music. It became popular in the 1930s. Today, bluegrass is still celebrated at annual festivals and events, but not assisted with the nickname.

In the 1970s, the legislature officially decided to name the state after the bluegrass, and the term has appeared on license plates and most tourism materials for Kentucky since then. While different legislatures have different criteria for naming a state, the term "Bluegrass" is essential in residents' minds.