Statehood Day

Statehood Day

Statehood Day is celebrated in Kentucky and Tennessee on June 1st annually to celebrate the states’ admission to the United States. Mississippi was the 15th state and Kentucky was the 16th. Along with patriotism, the holiday promotes civic involvement.

Events celebrating Statehood Day often take place at memorial sites, historic sites, and museums. Many schools and other institutions hold educational events on state history and civic involvement. Programs and displays often include Native American features and live musical and dance performances. Demonstrations of historical crafts, such as colonial cooking and sewing, take place at Statehood Day events, which often take place on a weekend close to June 1st so that workers and students can attend.

Celebrations will also display the state flags and seals.

Historical Background

After the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, the United States consisted of 13 states, previously the colonies. Kentucky was made the 15th state on June 1, 1792 and Tennessee the 16th on June 1st, 1796. The two states generally celebrate individually, but the celebrations are closely associated because of the same date and close proximity.

Kentucky, or the “Bluegrass State,” started to be settled by Europeans in the eighteenth century. The early territory suffered from conflicts with Indians, who did not appreciate the settling on their hunting grounds. Territory beyond the Appalachian Mountains was called Kentucky Country, a part of Virginia, until the state was established in 1972.

Kentucky Fun Facts:

  • The state has the highest per capita population of turkey and deer along with large elk herds.
  • The oldest living horse race in the United States is the Kentucky Derby, held in May.
  • Louisville, Kentucky served the first cheeseburger in 1934.
  • Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln were both born in Kentucky less than 100 miles away from one another.
  • Barren County in Kentucky is known for its fertile soil.
  • Bourbon County actually does not allow the sale of alcohol.


In 1540, Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to set foot in what is now Tennessee—Native Americans had lived there since the archaic period. But Fort Loudoun was the first official colony to be established in 1756. Tennessee also experienced conflicts with Native Americans, including siding with the British during the Revolutionary War, when Natives attacked forts and settlers to strategically help the Loyalists.

At this time, Tennessee was considered part of North Carolina, asking to become the State of Franklin in 1784 after breaking off from the state. When counties of the State of Franklin applied for statehood, they were denied, and many returned to become part of North Carolina in order to be considered part of the United States. The state was finally admitted on June 1, 1796.

  • Tennessee supplied the most Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. The state also supplied the most National Guard soldiers in the Gulf War.
  • The state is nicknamed the Volunteer State after Tennessee volunteer soldiers showed bravery at the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812
  • Kentucky born Samuel Powhatan Carter was both a Navy Admiral and an Army General, the only person to accomplish this feat.
  • Tennessee is considered the turtle capitol of the world.
  • Over 3,800 caves exist in Tennessee.
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