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CountryUnited States
Admitted to the UnionJanuary 29, 1861[1] (34th)
Largest cityWichita[2]
 • GovernorSam Brownback (R)[3]
 • Upper house{{{Upperhouse}}}
 • Lower house{{{Lowerhouse}}}
U.S. senatorsPat Roberts (R)[4]
Jerry Moran (R)[5]
U.S. House delegationList
 • Total2,853,118[6]
 • Density34.9/sq mi (13.5/km2)
 • Official languageEnglish[7]
Latitude37° N to 40° N
Longitude94° 35′ W to 102° 3′ W

Kansas (pronounced /kăn'zəs/)[8] is a state in the Midwestern United States of America. Kansas has a total population of 2.9 million, with an area of 82,000 sq mi (212,379 km2), making Kansas the 34th largest state by population and the 15th largest state by area. The name of the state comes from the Kansa Native Americans, whose name comes from a Siouan-language phrase meaning "people of the south wind".[2] The land that would become Kansas was bought in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Kansas became the 34th state to be admitted to the United States on January 29, 1861. Kansas' capital is Topeka, and its largest city is Wichita.

Kansas is in a region known as America's Breadbasket. Like other states in this area, Kansas is a large producer of wheat and other grains, producing one-fifth of all wheat grown in the United States.[9] In addition to wheat, Kansas produces large amounts of grain sorghum, summer potatoes, and sunflowers,[10] with other industries in Kansas including aviation and communications.

The terrain of Kansas consists of mountain ranges, prairies, and forests. All of Kansas is in the Great Plains.


Early history

In 1539, Marcos de Niza, a friar,[11] reported rumors of Cíbola, a city of gold, to Spanish colonial officials in Mexico City. Niza said the city was in modern-day New Mexico.[12] In response to the rumors, two years later, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, with an army of 300 Spaniards and 800 Mexicans, marched northward from Culiacán in hopes of finding the city. When Coronado did not find the city in New Mexico, he continued northeast into the Mississippi Valley, crossing the present area of Kansas diagonally. This made Conrado and his army the first Europeans to see the Great Plains, including Kansas.[13] Later, Juan de Oñate also traveled to Kansas in 1601.[11]

In 1682, Marquette, Joliet, Hennepin and other French leaders took formal control of the Mississippi Valley, including the land that would become Kansas. This land, known as the Louisiana territory, was used to organize trade with Native Americans. In 1762, France ceded the Louisiana territory to Spain. However, in 1801, Spain receded the territory back to France in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso.[11] On April 30, 1803, Napoleon sold the Louisiana territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.[11][14][15] In the early 1800s, Kansas was used to hold Native Americans that were removed from their native lands.[16]


On May 30, 1854, the Congress signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Kansas-Nebraska Act stated that Kansas and Nebraska were both territories of the United States.[17][18] It also stated that Kansans would vote on the legality of slavery.[19]

Upon hearing this, about 1,200 armed New Englanders came to Kansas to vote against slavery. However, thousands of southerners, mostly from Missouri, came to vote for slavery.[19] The final vote was to make slavery legal, and Kansas adopted most of Missouri's slave laws. There was fighting between Southerners and Northerners in Kansas. In one fight, John Brown and his men killed five people in the Pottawatomie Massacre. Later, Southerners destroyed Lawrence, Kansas. Kansas was called "Bleeding Kansas".

Between 1854 and 1861, Kansas proposed four state constitutions. Out of the four proposed constitutions, three did not allow slavery.[20] Finally, in July 1859, Kansas passed the Wyandotte Constitution, which was anti-slavery.[21][22] The constitution for statehood was sent to the U.S. government in April, 1860 to be voted on. The constitution was passed by the House of Representatives, but rejected by the Senate.[23] This is because southern voters in the Senate did not like that Kansas would become a state without slavery. In 1861, after the Confederate states formed, the constitution gained approval from the Union, and Kansas became a state.[16][19][23][24]

Kansas in the Civil War

The Lawrence Massacre on August 21, 1863

Four months after Kansas became a state, the Civil War started.[25] Out of the 381 battles in the Civil War, four were fought in Kansas.[26] Throughout the war, Kansas remained a Union state.

On August 21, 1863, William Clarke Quantrill led a force of 300 to 400 Confederates into the town of Lawrence, Kansas.[27] Quantrill and his troops burned, looted, and destroyed the anti-slavery town. This battle became known as the Lawrence Massacre. In total, 164 Union soldiers and 40 Confederate soldiers died in the Lawrence Massacre.[27] In the Battle of Mine Creek, on October 25, 1864, Union soldiers attacked Confederates as they were crossing the Mine Creek. The Union surrounded the Confederates, and captured 600 men and two generals. 1,000 Confederate soldiers and 100 Union soldiers died in the battle.[28] In total, 8,500 people from Kansas died or were wounded in the Civil War.[2]

Post Civil War

After the Civil War, many free slaves came to Oklahoma and Kansas. In fact, between the years of 1879 and 1881, about 60,000 African Americans came to this region.[29][30] This is because the slaves wanted economic opportunities, which they believed awaited them in Kansas. African Americans also came to Kansas for better political rights and to escape sharecropping.[30]

Recent history

Dust Bowl

From 1930 to 1936, Kansas went through a period of time called the Dust Bowl. During this time, Kansas had little rainfall and high temperatures. Thousands of farmers became very poor and had to move to other parts of the United States. In total, 400,000 people left the Great Plains area.[31] The years from 1930 to 1940 was the only time the population of Kansas went down. The number of people living in Kansas decreased 4.3 percent.[32]

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas

See also: Brown v. Board of Education

During the 1950s, school segregation was required in fifteen U.S states. However, Kansas was not one of these states.[33] Instead, school segregation was permitted by local option, but only in elementary schools.[34] In 1896, the ruling from Plessy v. Ferguson stated that segregation was allowed, but equal facilities should be made available for blacks and whites.[35] Often, however, black schools received less funding and had fewer textbooks than white schools.[36]

For these reasons, Linda Brown and her family sued the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Brown won the case, and the ruling was to overturn the Plessy v. Ferguson decision.[37] This was considered by many a landmark case in the Civil Rights movement.[35][37][38]


The Flint Hills in eastern Kansas

Kansas is the 15th-largest state in the United States. It covers an area of 82,282 square miles (213,109 km2). Of this, about 462 square miles (1196.57 km2) are water. This makes up 0.60% of the total area of the state.[39]

Kansas is one of six states on the Frontier Strip. Kansas shares borders with Nebraska to the north, Oklahoma to the south, Missouri to the east, and Colorado to the west.

Kansas increases in elevation from east to west. All of Kansas is in the Great Plains,[40] where the land is mostly flat with prairies and grasslands. Eastern Kansas has hills and forests, like the Flint Hills and the Osage Plains in the southeastern part of the state. The highest point in the state is Mount Sunflower near the Colorado border. Mount Sunflower is 4,039 ft (1,231 m) tall. The lowest point is the Verdigris River in Montgomery County, at 679 ft (207 m) above sea level.


A tornado in Manhattan, Kansas

Kansas has a varied climate with an average yearly temperature of 56°F (13°C).[41] The record high in Kansas is 121 °F (49.4 °C). This occurred in Fredonia on July 18, 1936, and in Alton on July 24, 1936. The record low in Kansas is -40 °F (-40 °C). This occurred in Lebanon on February 13, 1905.[42] Kansas is in a temperate area of the country. Like other states in this region, Kansas has four distinct seasons.

Kansas can have extreme weather in all four seasons. For example, in spring and autumn, Kansas has many tornadoes. In fact, the state averages 55 tornadoes per year.[43] This is because Kansas is in the area known as Tornado Alley, where cold and warm air masses come together to make severe weather.

In summer, Kansas has experienced severe droughts. For example, in 1934, 1936, and 1939, Kansas had less than average rainfall and widespread dust storms as a part of the Dust Bowl.[44][45]

In winter, Kansas has snow in most parts of the state.[46] The average snowfall in the northern half of the state is 16 inches, with the average snowfall in the southern half of the state being 8 inches.[47] Blizzards and related snowstorms are rare in Kansas.[48]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Kansas Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Concordia 36/17 43/22 54/31 64/41 74/52 85/62 91/67 88/66 80/56 68/44 51/30 40/21
Dodge City 41/19 48/24 57/31 67/41 76/52 87/62 93/67 91/66 82/56 70/44 54/30 44/22
Goodland 39/16 45/20 53/26 63/35 72/46 84/56 89/61 87/60 78/50 66/38 50/25 41/18
Topeka 37/17 44/23 56/33 66/43 75/53 84/63 89/68 88/65 80/56 69/44 53/32 41/22
Wichita 40/20 47/25 57/34 67/44 76/54 87/64 93/69 92/68 82/59 70/47 54/34 43/24
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


A population map of Kansas, with densely populated areas in dark green

Kansas had 627 cities in 2008.[49] The largest city in Kansas is Wichita, which had a population of 382,368 in 2010. The other largest cities in Kansas are: Overland Park, 173,372; Kansas City, 145,786; Topeka, 127,473; and Olathe, 125,872.[50] Between the years of 2000 and 2010, the Kansas population increased 6.1 percent. 83.3 percent of Kansans are Caucasian, 5.9 percent are African American, and 10.8 percent are another race.[51]


Farming has always been an important part of the state economy of Kansas. The main crop grown in Kansas is wheat. In fact, Kansas farmers produce about 400 million bushels of wheat per year.[9] Kansas also ranks first in the United States in grain sorghum produced, second in cropland, and third in sunflowers produced.[10] However, farming is not the only important part of the economy of Kansas. Many parts of airplanes are made in the city of Wichita. Also, many important companies are near Kansas City, Missouri. For example, the Sprint Nextel Corporation is one of the largest telephone companies in the United States. Its main operational offices are in Overland Park, Kansas.[52]

The median household income for Kansas was $47,709 in 2009.[53] The gross domestic product (GDP) for Kansas was $122,700,000,000 ($122.7 billion) in 2008. Overall, Kansas' GDP accounts for less than 1 percent of total U.S. economy.[54]

State symbols

The state symbols of Kansas are:[1]

Symbol State symbol Photograph Date adopted Notes
State flower Native Sunflower
A flower with yellow petals and a brown center against a blue background
"...[The sunflower is] the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future".[55]
State bird Western Meadowlark
A grey bird with short black streaks and a yellow breast
Students elected the western meadowlark as the state bird in a poll conducted by the Kansas Aubudon Society in 1923.[56]
State tree Cottonwood
A tree with branches and leaves, with a large branch to the left, a branch to the center, and one to the right
"The cottonwood tree can rightfully be called "the pioneer tree of Kansas"".[55]
State song Home on the Range Home on the Range, performed by James Richardson in 1939
State animal The American Buffalo
A black-and-white illustration of a buffalo
The American Buffalo provided Kansan Native Americans with meat, rope, rawhide, and other materials for everyday life.[57]

Carin Terrier state dog

Other pages


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Facts.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Kansas". Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  3. "Governor Sam Brownback". Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  4. "Senator Roberts Welcomes New Delegation for 112th Congress". January 5, 2007. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
  5. "Kansas Election Results: Jerry Moran Defeats Lisa Johnston In 2010 Senate Race". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  6. "Resident Population Data". Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  7. "Bill makes English official language". Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 25, 2007. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  8. The Tormont Webster's Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary. United States of America: Tormont Publications Inc. 1990. p. 918. ISBN 2921171325 . Retrieved January 3, 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "FAQ". Kansas Department of Agriculture. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Kansas Agricultural Statistics". Kansas Department of Agriculture. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Ingalls 1892, p. 698
  12. "Seven Cities of Cibola Legend Lures Conquistadors". National Geographic. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  13. "1862 Across the Continent". Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  14. Winas 1902, p. 7
  15. Larned 1894, p. 1936
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Today in History: January 29". Library of Congress. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
  17. Wishart, David J. (2004). Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. University of Nebraska Press. p. 670. ISBN 0803247877 . Retrieved January 2, 2010.
  18. Ingalls 1892, pp. 699–700
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Bleeding Kansas". Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
  20. "Online Exhibits - Willing to Die for Freedom, Constitutions - Kansas Historical Society". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
  21. Winas 1902, p. 8
  22. Larned 1894, p. 1937
  23. 23.0 23.1 Winas 1902, p. 9
  24. Ingalls 1892, p. 705
  25. "Cemeteries - Fort Scott National Cemetery - Burial and Memorial Benefits". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  26. "Civil War Battle Summaries by State". 2008 [last update]. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Battle Summary: Lawrence, KS". 2008 [last update]. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  28. "Battle Summary: Mine Creek, KS". 2008 [last update]. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  29. "General Article: Call of the West". Public Broadcasting Station. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  30. 30.0 30.1 "Migrations: The African-American Mosaic (Library of Congress Exhibition)". Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  31. "Dust Bowl During the Great Depression". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  32. "Population Growth, Kansas and the U.S. 1860-2009, Selected Years" (PDF). December 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  33. "Segregation in 1950" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  34. "Topeka, Kansas - Separate Is Not Equal". 2009 [last update]. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  35. 35.0 35.1 "A Century of Racial Segregation - 'With an Even Hand': Brown v. Board at Fifty (Library of Congress Exhibition)". 2010 [last update]. Retrieved February 16, 2011. "The 1896 court ruling in Plessy v Ferguson ushered in an era of "separate but equal" facilities and treatment for blacks and whites."
  36. "Beginnings of Black Education - The Civil Rights Movement in Virginia - Virginia Historical Society". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  37. 37.0 37.1 "Jefferson - Enlightenment: Brown v. Board of Education - Racial Segregation in Public Schools". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  38. "Brown v. Board: Five Communities That Changed America". 2010 [last update]. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
  39. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Water.
  40. "UNL | CGPS Home | Map of the Great Plains". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  41. "Kansas Response Plan 2008" (PDF). October 2007. p. 14. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  42. "Kansas Climate Records - WFO Wichita, Kansas". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  43. "Annual Average Number of Tornadoes, 1953-2004". Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  44. "Drought: A Paleo Perspective – 20th Century Drought". National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  45. "Dust Bowl Verses Today". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  46. "Climate of Kansas". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  47. "ca000076.jpg (JPEG Image, 2082x2838 pixels)". 2004 [last update]. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  48. Kansas State Board of Agriculture (1919). Biennial report - Kansas State Board of Agriculture, Volume 21. p. 342– 343. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  49. "Place Types and Counts". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  50. "Census 2010 News | U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Kansas' 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
  51. "2010 Census Data - 2010 Census". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  52. Paladino, Bob (2007). Five key principles of corporate performance management. Wiley. p. 80. ISBN 0470009918 . Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  53. "ERS/USDA Data - KS Unemployment and Median Household Income". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  54. "2009 Kansas Economic Report" (PDF). Kansas Department of Labor. p. 25. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  55. 55.0 55.1 according to the Kansas state legislature, see "Kansas– United States Senator Jerry Moran". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  56. Capace, Nancy (2000). Encyclopedia of Kansas. Somerset Pubs. p. 8. ISBN 0403093120 . Retrieved March 25, 2011.
  57. "American Buffalo" (PDF). Retrieved March 22, 2011.

Book sources

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Ingalls, John James (1892). Harper's magazine, Volume 86. Harper's Magazine Co. Retrieved January 15, 2011.

Other websites