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Louisville, largest city in Kentucky, U.S., and the seat of Jefferson county, opposite the Falls of the Ohio River. Louisville is the center of a metropolitan area including Jefferson county in Kentucky and Clark and Floyd counties in Indiana. Bridges spanning the Ohio link the city with New Albany and Jeffersonville, Indiana. Following a referendum passed in 2000, the city and Jefferson county merged in 2003, thereby more than doubling the city’s population and increasing its area more than sixfold.

Louisville, situated on the Ohio River, is influenced by both Southern and Midwestern culture. Louisville is home to a number of annual cultural events, of which the most well-known is the Kentucky Derby, held at the historical Churchill Downs. The Derby is preceded by a two-week long Kentucky Derby Festival comprised of over 70 events, starting with the annual Thunder Over Louisville, the largest annual fireworks display in the nation. Recently, Louisville has emerged as a major center for the health care and medical sciences industries. Louisville has been central to advancements in heart and hand surgery as well as cancer treatment.


Louisville, the seat of Jefferson county, is located on the Ohio River at the Falls of the Ohio. It was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark. In 1779 it was named for Louis XVI of France and in 1780 it was chartered by the state of Virginia and made the county seat. During the early years the town was often referred to as Falls of the Ohio. In 2000 voters in Louisville and Jefferson county approved a merged city-county government to be known as Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, or Louisville Metro for short, effective in 2003. (More than 80 incorporated cities in Jefferson county remain independent.) The Louisville post office opened in 1795. The population in 2010 was 597,337. The population of the city of Louisville in 2000, before the merger, was 256,231.

Louisville is the home of the University of Louisville and Jefferson Community and Technical College. It is the home of Churchill Downs, established in 1875, where the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks originated and have been run annually.




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