On June 1, 1792, Kentucky became the 15th state to be admitted to the Union. The land and its inhabitants were originally part of the state of Virginia. After the American Revolution, the area west of the Appalachian Mountains sought separation and autonomy as a separate state.
The current-day state of Kentucky was previously home to various Native American tribes, including the Iroquois, Shawnee and Cherokee peoples. Two native tribes are officially recognized in Kentucky in modern times: the Southern Cherokee Nation of Kentucky and the Ridgetop Shawnee. As of 2014, Kentucky is one of four states of the United States designated as a commonwealth, along with Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.