The following details the history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Although inhabited by Native Americans in prehistoric times, when explorers and settlers began entering Kentucky in the mid-1700s, there were no permanent Native American settlements in the region. Instead, the country was used as common hunting grounds by Shawnees from the north and Cherokees from the south. The Iroquois also claimed their possession until 1768, though did not occupy them. The first documented exploration of the area that would become Kentucky was made in 1750 by a scouting party led by Dr. Thomas Walker. The Iroquois claim to much of what is now Kentucky was purchased in the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768); that of the Shawnee and Mingo at the Treaty of Camp Charlotte concluding Dunmore's War (1774), and that of the Cherokee at the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals (1775). However, this last treaty (The "Transylvania Purchase") was not recognized by the royal colonial governments, nor by the renegade Cherokee Chief Dragging Canoe. As one of the acts of the American Revolution, settlers soon began pouring into the region in defiance of the Crown; Dragging Canoe responded by leading his faction into the Chickamauga Wars (1776-1794), at the height of the War for Independence. The Shawnees north of the Ohio River, were also unhappy about the settlement of Kentucky, and allied themselves with the British.
After 1775, Kentucky grew rapidly as the first settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains were founded, with settlers (primarily from Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania) entering the region via the Cumberland Gap and the Ohio River. The most famous of these early explorers and settlers was Daniel Boone, traditionally considered one of the founders of the state. During this period, the settlers introduced agriculture to the area. Tobacco, corn, and hemp were the major crops of Kentucky, and the hunter gatherer aspects of Native American and settler life became less pronounced.
Kentucky's second largest city, and former capital Lexington, is named for Lexington, Massachusetts, site of one of the first battles of the Revolution. A fort was built there during the last year of the war for defense against the British and their Native American allies. Kentucky was a battleground during the war; the Battle of Blue Licks, one of the last major battles of the Revolution, was fought in Kentucky. Due to the ongoing violence, by 1776 there were fewer than 200 settlers in Kentucky.
The westernmost part of Kentucky, west of the Tennessee River, was recognized as hunting ground belonging to the Chickasaw by the 1786 Treaty of Hopewell, and remained so until they sold it to the US in 1818.
The coal industry made dramatic progress between the turn of the century and the first World War. Many Kentuckians made the change from subsistence farming to coal mining, particularly in the Appalachian region. Many Kentuckians left the state for work in manufacturing and industrial cities in the Midwest.
During the same years, German immigrants settled widely in northern Kentucky. Their presence led to social conflict as World War I progressed and anti-German sentiment increased.
Like the rest of the country and much of the world, Kentucky faced great difficulty with the arrival of the Great Depression in the late 1920s. There was widespread unemployment and little economic growth. On the other hand, New Deal programs greatly improved the educational system in the state and led to the construction and improvement of a great deal of infrastructure. The creation of roads, construction of telephone lines, and rural electrification were significant developments for the state. The creation of the Kentucky Dam and its hydroelectric power plant greatly improved the lives of Western Kentuckians. Both the Cumberland River and the Mississippi River saw extensive improvements in navigability and flood control.
For Kentucky, World War II signified the increased importance of industry and decreased importance of agriculture for the state's economy. The war led to expansion of Fort Knox as well as the creation of an ordnance plant in Louisville. Louisville became the world's largest source of artificial rubber. Shipyards at Jeffersonville and elsewhere generated numerous skilled jobs. Louisville's Ford manufacturing center produced almost 100,000 Jeeps during the war. The war also lead to a greater demand for higher education, as technical skills were more in demand both during the war and afterwards.
Maj. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr. the commander of Fort Knox at the time, believed that Fort Knox would be a target in a nuclear war with the USSR. American Intelligence agreed and designated Fort Knox to be a "secondary target" thus theoretically giving them time to prepare or evacuate. Upon hearing of the pending nuclear strikes, General Campbell ordered his troops to get in the bunkers and prepare for the worst. However, intelligence was wrong: a few days later a few troops wearing radiation suits emerged from the bunker to see what remained. They were happy but shocked at the same time to discover that Fort Knox was fully intact and had in fact not been a target in the war. General Campbell ordered the area under martial law while attempting to make contact with the state and federal government. Jim Bunning who was running in that year's election for the governor of Kentucky and Mitch McConnell who was running for Senate were both visiting troops stationed at Fort Knox at the time of the attacks and assisted in establishing order. General Campbell was able to contact the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell. When they informed him that they were moving out of Southern Kentucky to West Virginia and after failing to make contact with President Reagan, he realized that he and his troops would be on their own.
After establishing the Provisional Government of Kentucky General Campbell's first priority was helping refugees and gathering essential supplies (Food, Water, Medical Supplies). There was lots of food stored in Fort Knox that would last them for the time being, but with the influx of refugees the supplies were stretched to the limit. The refugees that could work built structures to house themselves and any other refugees that might turn up. They were also able to get seeds from nearby abandoned stores along with whatever food was left on the shelves.
The army began a plantation near the base so they could grow their own food. Electricity was restored using back up emergency generators on the base. However they needed to seek a permanent source of energy. General Campbell was quoted as saying "We need electricity; I don't give a f__k how you make it!". There was also wide spread fear of a nuclear winter so finding winter clothes was a must. At Fort Knox there was a large storage room with winter military uniforms. The extras were given to refugees who did not think to grab them when they fled their homes but there was not nearly enough for everyone. Luckily the prospects of a nuclear winter never came to fruition.
However the summers became much warmer than usual and thus caused the deaths of many from heat stroke or starvation from poor crops as there was a terrible drought. Suicides became all too common as some people simply could not cope with the recent events. Eventually, suicides decreased as the area began to return relative normalcy. There were rumors of survivors in the Cave City area, but General Campbell decided that they needed to focus on their own survival before they could help anyone else.
In January 1987 local officials held a Constitutional Convention in Elizabethtown to lay the groundwork for Kentucky's future. On July 4th 1987 the Commonwealth of Kentucky was officially formed. The new Constitution was much like that of the United States but eliminated the Electoral College and included a clause that the government would return control of the area to the legitimate United States government. There were a few other minor modifications to the Constitution but nothing of any great importance.
Evansville, Newburgh and Tell City in Indiana and Owensboro in Kentucky were not hit and banded together to survive (most people in the Owensboro city government were killed during violence in Owensboro on September 26 and 27, 1983; order was restored by National Guardsmen and Owensboro city police, who set up a provisional city government with surviving city officials). Shortly thereafter they were reunited with their fellow Americans in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Both sides decided to form a union to help ensure their survival in the post-doomsday world. Contact was made with Lexington and other small communities in the area in 1984. Soon Lexington joined the Commonwealth as well. Throughout the late 80's and 90's small bands of survivors came across the Commonwealth and soon their small communities joined Kentucky through diplomatic channels and pressure within their own communities.
The E'town government had been aware for some time of the existence of another Commonwealth of Kentucky, based in far western portion of the former state of Kentucky and consisting of McCracken, Ballard, Marshall, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Trigg, Livingston, Lyon, Caldwell and Hickman counties. Its capital was located in Mayfield, and it joined a revival of the Confederate States of America in 1986. In 1999, as it was becoming apparent the CSA was going to break up, the General Assembly in Mayfield voted to secede, and to seek to join in union with the Elizabethtown-based Commonwealth. The Commonwealth, in turn, accepted the former CSA-affiliated state as part of itself in '99.
The Commonwealth also did the same with two other CS states, Missouri and West Tennessee. Hornbeak, Obion, Rives, Samburg, South Fulton, Troy, Union City, Woodland Mills, Kenton and Tiptonville Tennessee along with Portageville and New Madrid, Missouri had been a part of a rebirth of the CSA since the late 1980s. When the CSA began to fall apart, these communities also voted to secede and opted to join the more stable Commonwealth of Kentucky. In that same year Kentucky established solid contact with Cape Girardeau, which initially refused to be annexed by Kentucky. However they did agree to sign a mutual assistance pact which has been modified since it's ratification in 1994.
The state capital of Frankfort before Doomsday was not hit but the situation in town had become so chaotic the state government was forced to flee to the hoped-for safety of Lexington. There, the state government controlled the central and eastern part of the state, until forces representing western Kentucky and Fort Knox reached the region. An agreement was reached allowing the Governor, Martha Layne Collins, to run in the first presidential election against Campbell, while the various governmental agencies and departments were merged.
The Frankfort and Franklin County area was eventually reclaimed and some former residents and refugees have since settled there.
As the new millennium approached the people of the Commonwealth were generally fairing well. Food was available in an abundance. Radiation deaths were also slowly declining. However raids by warlords and gangs were still a problem. To deal with the gangs a group of forts were built along the border to keep gangs out and to allow refugees in. Through Ham radio the Commonwealth has been able to communicate with The North American Union, Superior, Vermont and Virginia. They have learned of Aroostoock, West Texas, The Municipal States of the Pacific, other survivor nations, along with the history of the world since Doomsday.
Kentucky also worked to strength ties with their neighbors in Virginia but were concerned about the lack of liberty in their nation but were given assurances by President-General Thompson that democracy would be restored soon.
More To Come...
While Kentucky had generally stuck to a policy of isolationism after there expansion in the 1990's but the recent events in West Texas encouraged them take a second look into exploring the world around them. Senator David Frum (R) Chairman of The Senate Foreign Relations Committee proposed a bill to send expeditions to explore the Cave City settlements and other survivor communities in Tennessee. The bill easily passed Committee and was passed by the House and Senate with little opposition. In the wee hours of the morning on November 7th 2009 President Bunning signed the bill into law. Secretary of State Hitchens made brief remarks saying that expedition teams could be ready to go by the end of the week. Senator Frum made a speech at the press conference hoping that this would "Usher in a new era of exploration and expansion for our young nation."
The bombed out remains of Louisville were officially explored in 2005. Anything of value was moved to Kentucky territory along with any small survivor groups that were found. Several outposts have been set up in Louisville with the hope of one day repopulating the abandoned suburbs. A host of new territory has recently became part of Kentucky including parts of southern Illinois, Southern Indiana, Southwestern Ohio, Southeastern Missouri and Northeastern Arkansas. However most of there areas only contain small military government outposts or at the very most small villages with the hopes of further resettling in the future.