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History >> US Geography >> US State History

Kansas

State History

The land of Kansas has been populated by people for thousands of years. Early inhabitants are called the Paleo-Indians. They were the ancestors to the Native American tribes that lived in the land when the Europeans arrived.


The city of Wichita
Wichita, Kansas by Unknown

Native Americans

The Native American tribes that lived in Kansas included the Kansa (also called the Kaw) and the Osage peoples in the east; the Comanche and the Arapaho in the west; and the Kiowa and the Pawnee in the central region of the state. Many of these tribes hunted buffalo as their main source of food. When the Europeans arrived and brought horses, this made buffalo hunting much easier and it became an even bigger part of their lives and culture.

Europeans Arrive

The first European to arrive in Kansas was Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado in 1541. Coronado was searching for gold, which he didn't find. Many years later, in 1682, Frenchman Robert Cavelier de Las Salle arrived and claimed control of the land for France. Throughout the 1700s and early 1800s only a few Europeans visited the region, mostly to trade for furs with the natives. The land was largely inhabited by the Native American tribes.


Tornados are common in Kansas
Tornado by Unknown

Louisiana Purchase

In 1803, the United States purchased Kansas from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase. American explorers Lewis and Clark traveled through Kansas in 1804 on their way out west. They mapped out parts of the territory and reported back to President Thomas Jefferson on their findings.

Santa Fe and Oregon Trails

In the mid-1800s, hundreds of thousands of settlers traveled through Kansas on their way out west. Two of the most popular trails, the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon Trail, passed through Kansas. In order to help keep the travelers safe, the United States set up forts along the trails. Over time, towns grew up around these forts and many travelers stopped in Kansas, making it their home.

Bleeding Kansas

In 1854, the Kansas Territory was established when congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. People from the North and the South of the United States began to argue over whether slavery would be allowed in Kansas. A number of violent clashes occurred between abolitionists (people against slavery) and the "Border Ruffians" (people that were pro-slavery). One of the leaders against slavery was John Brown who would later lead the raid on Harper's Ferry in Virginia.

Becoming a State

Eventually the abolitionists won the day and Kansas adopted a constitution in 1859 that outlawed slavery. Two years later, on January 29, 1861, Kansas joined the Union as the 34th state.

Civil War

Being a non-slavery state, Kansas was a part of the Union during the Civil War. Many thousands of men from Kansas went to fight with the Union army. There wasn't a lot of fighting in Kansas during the war, but there were some battles including the Lawrence Massacre, the Battle of Baxter Springs, and the Battle of Marais de Cygnes.

Wild West

The years after the Civil War were marked by significant growth in the settlement of Kansas. The flat land was perfect for raising cattle. Cowboys, ranches, and cattle towns sprung up throughout Kansas. It was home to the Wild West. Gunfights became common and famous lawmen such as Wyatt Earp in Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok in Abilene were brought in to keep the peace.


Wyatt Earp was a lawman in Dodge City
Wyatt Earp by Unknown

Timeline More US State History:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


Works Cited

History >> US Geography >> US State History





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