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Kansas



 

Kansas is a Midwestern state in the central region of the United States of America, an area often referred to as the American "Heartland". It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa tribe, who inhabited the area. The tribe′s name (natively kkÄ…:ze) is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south wind", although this was probably not the term′s original meaning. Residents of Kansas are called "Kansans".

Historically, the area was home to large numbers of nomadic Native Americans that hunted bison. It was first settled by European Americans in the 1830s, but the pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery issue. When officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine if Kansas would become a free state or a slave state. Thus, the area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as these forces collided, and was known as Bleeding Kansas. The abolitionists eventually prevailed and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. After the Civil War, the population of Kansas exploded when waves of immigrants turned the prairie into productive farmland. Today, Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states, producing many crops, and leading the nation in wheat and sunflower production most years.

History

For millennia, the land that is presently Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans. The first European to set foot in present-day Kansas was Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who explored the area in 1541. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Southwest Kansas, however, was still a part of Spain, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas until the conclusion of the Mexican-American War in 1848. From 1812 to 1821, Kansas was part of the Missouri Territory. The Santa Fe Trail traversed Kansas from 1821 to 1880, transporting manufactured goods from Missouri and silver and furs from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Wagon ruts from the trail are still visible in the prairie today.

In 1827, Fort Leavenworth became the first permanent settlement of white Americans in the future state. The Kansas-Nebraska Act became law on May 30, 1854, establishing the U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas, and opening the area to broader settlement by whites. Kansas Territory stretched all the way to the Continental Divide and included the sites of present-day Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.

Missouri and Arkansas sent settlers into Kansas all along its eastern border. These settlers attempted to sway votes in favor of slavery. The secondary settlement of Americans in Kansas Territory were abolitionists from Massachusetts and other Free-Staters, who attempted to stop the spread of slavery from neighboring Missouri. Directly presaging the American Civil War, these forces collided, entering into skirmishes that earned the territory the name of Bleeding Kansas. Kansas was admitted to the United States as a free state on January 29, 1861, making it the 34th state to enter the Union. By that time the violence in Kansas had largely subsided. However, during the Civil War, on August 21, 1863, William Quantrill led several hundred men on a raid into Lawrence, destroying much of the city and killing nearly two hundred people. Until the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Quantrill′s raid was the single bloodiest act of domestic terrorism in America.[citation needed] He was roundly condemned by both the conventional confederate military and the partisan rangers commissioned by the Missouri legislature. His application to that body for a commission was flatly rejected due to his pre war criminal record. (see, Jones, Gray Ghosts and Rebel Riders Holt & Co. 1956, p.76)

After the Civil War, many veterans constructed homesteads in Kansas. Many African Americans also looked to Kansas as the land of "John Brown," and led by men like Benjamin "Pap" Singleton began establishing black colonies in the state. At the same time, the Chisholm Trail was opened and the Wild West era commenced in Kansas. Wild Bill Hickok was a deputy marshal at Fort Riley and a marshal at Hays and Abilene. Dodge City was another wild cowboy town, and both Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp worked as lawmen in the town. In one year alone, 8 million head of cattle from Texas boarded trains in Dodge City bound for the East, earning Dodge the nickname "Queen of the Cowtowns."

In part as a response to the violence perpetrated by cowboys, on February 19, 1881 Kansas became the first U.S. state to adopt a Constitutional amendment prohibiting all alcoholic beverages.

KANSAS COUNTIES


Atchison
Douglas
Leavenworth
Doniphan
Linn
Wyandotte
Miami
Anderson
Johnson
Franklin
Shawnee
Jefferson
Wabaunsee
Marshall
Nemaha
Pottawatomie
Osage
Jackson
Brown
Geary
Riley
Bourbon
Wilson
Crawford
Cherokee
Neosho
Allen
Coffey
Woodson
Lyon
Morris
Marion
Butler
Chase
Greenwood
Cloud
Republic
Smith
Washington
Jewell
Sedgwick
Harper
Sumner
Cowley
Harvey
Pratt
Chautauqua
Comanche
Kingman
Kiowa
Barber
Mcpherson
Montgomery
Labette
Elk
Saline
Dickinson
Lincoln
Mitchell
Ottawa
Rice
Clay
Osborne
Ellsworth
Reno
Barton
Rush
Ness
Edwards
Pawnee
Stafford
Ellis
Phillips
Norton
Graham
Russell
Trego
Rooks
Decatur
Thomas
Rawlins
Cheyenne
Sherman
Gove
Sheridan
Logan
Wallace
Ford
Clark
Gray
Hamilton
Kearny
Lane
Meade
Finney
Hodgeman
Stanton
Seward
Wichita
Haskell
Scott
Greeley
Grant
Morton
Stevens

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