Kansas (pronounced /kăn'zəs/) 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". 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 state symbols|
The Flag of Kansas
The Seal of Kansas
|Amphibian||Barred tiger salamander|
|Insect||Western honey bee|
|Reptile||Ornate box turtle|
|Soil||Harney silt loam (unofficial)|
|State route marker|
Released in 2005
|Lists of United States state symbols|
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. In addition to wheat, Kansas produces large amounts of grain sorghum, summer potatoes, and sunflowers, with other industries in Kansas including aviation and communications.
In 1539, Marcos de Niza, a friar, 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. In response to the rumors, two years later, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado,with an army of 3000 Spaniards and 8001 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. Later, Juan de Oñate also traveled to Kansas in 1601.
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. On April 30, 1803, Napoleon sold the Louisiana territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. In the early 1800s, Kansas was used to hold Native Americans that were removed from their native lands.
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. It also stated that Kansans would vote on the legality of slavery.
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. 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. Finally, in July 1859, Kansas passed the Wyandotte Constitution, which was anti-slavery. 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. 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.
Kansas in the Civil WarEdit
On August 21, 1863, William Clarke Quantrill led a force of 300 to 400 Confederates into the town of Lawrence, Kansas. 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. 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. In total, 8,500 people from Kansas died or were wounded in the Civil War.
Post Civil WarEdit
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. 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. These people were called "Exodusters."
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. 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.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KansasEdit
During the 1950s, school segregation was required in fifteen U.S states. However, Kansas was not one of these states. Instead, school segregation was permitted by local option, but only in elementary schools. In 1896, the ruling from Plessy v. Ferguson stated that segregation was allowed, but equal facilities should be made available for blacks and whites. Often, however, black schools received less funding and had fewer textbooks than white schools.
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. This was considered by many a landmark case in the civil rights movement.
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.
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. The geographic center of the main 48 states is near Lebanon, Kansas. The geographic center of Kansas is in Barton County.
All of Kansas is in the Great Plains, 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.
Kansas increases in elevation from east to west. 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. It is a common misconception that Kansas is the flattest state — in 2003, a tongue-in-cheek study famously said the state is "flatter than a pancake". Kansas has a maximum topographic relief of 3,360 ft (1,020 m). This makes Kansas the 23rd flattest U.S. state.
About 75 mi (121 km) of the Kansas's northeastern border is the Missouri River. The Kansas River is created by the junction of the Smoky Hill River and Republican River. This happens at Junction City. The Kansas River then joins the Missouri River at Kansas City. It goes 170 mi (270 km) across the northeastern part of the state.
Kansas's has other rivers. There is the Saline River and the Solomon River. They are tributaries of the Smoky Hill River. The Big Blue River, the Delaware River, and the Wakarusa River flow into the Kansas River. The Marais des Cygnes River is a tributary of the Missouri River. Spring River is between Riverton and Baxter Springs.
The Köppen climate classification says that Kansas's climate has three types depending on where in the state it is: it has humid continental, semi-arid steppe, and humid subtropical. The eastern 2/3 of the state (especially the northeastern part) has a humid continental climate. This means it has cool to cold winters and hot, often humid summers. Most of the precipitation happens during both the summer and the spring.
The western 1/3 of the state – from about U.S. Route 83 to west of it – has a semiarid steppe climate. Summers are hot, often very hot, and generally less humid. Winters vary a lot. Winters can be anything between warm and very cold. The western region gets an average of about 16 inches (410 millimeters) of precipitation per year. Chinook winds in the winter can warm western Kansas all the way into the 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) range.
The far south-central and southeastern parts of Kansas, including the Wichita area, have a humid subtropical climate. This means it has hot and humid summers, and it has milder winters. It also has more precipitation than other places in Kansas. Some things about three climates can be found in most of Kansas. Many parts can get droughts and varied weather. Places can be dry or humid. Places can get both warm or cold in the winter.
Temperatures in many areas in the western half of Kansas reach 90 °F (32 °C) or hotter on most days of June, July, and August. Because of the high humidity, the heat index can be deadly, especially in Wichita, Hutchinson, Salina, Russell, Hays, and Great Bend. Temperatures are often high in Dodge City, Garden City, and Liberal, but the heat index in those three cities is usually lower than the actual air temperature.
Temperatures of 100 °F (38 °C) or higher are not as common in the eastern half of Kansas. However, higher humidity and the urban heat island effect make most summer days reach between 107 °F (42 °C) and 114 °F (46 °C) in Topeka, Lawrence, and the Kansas City metropolitan area. During the summer, the low temperatures each night in the northeastern part of the state don't get colder than 80 °F (27 °C) very often. Also, because of the humidity being between 85 and 95 percent, dangerous heat can be felt all day.
Kansas has a varied climate with an average yearly temperature of 56°F (13°C). The highest temperature ever in Kansas is 121 °F (49.4 °C). This happened in Fredonia on July 18, 1936, and in Alton on July 24, 1936. The lowest temperature ever in Kansas is -40 °F (-40 °C). This occurred in Lebanon on February 13, 1905. 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, Kansas gets about 55 tornadoes per year. 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 winter, Kansas has snow in most parts of the state. 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. Blizzards and related snowstorms are rare in Kansas.
|Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Kansas Cities|
|Concordia Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Dodge City Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Goodland Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Topeka Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Wichita Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall|
Kansas had 627 cities in 2008. 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. Between the years of 2000 and 2010, the Kansas population increased 6.1 percent.
The 2010 Census says that the people of Kansas were:
- 83.8% White American (77.5% non-Hispanic white)
- 5.9% Black or African American
- 1.0% American Indian and Alaska Native
- 2.4% Asian American
- 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander
- 3.0% from two or more races.
Ethnically 10.5% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race). They are mostly in southwest Kansas. Many black people in Kansas were from the Exodusters, free black people who left the South.
As of 2011, 35.0% of Kansas's population younger than one year old were part of a minority group (i.e., did not have two parents who were non-Hispanic white).
|Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
|Two or more races||–||2.1%||3.0%|
The northeastern part of the state, going from the eastern border to Junction City and from the Nebraska border to south of Johnson County, has more than 1.5 million people in the Kansas City (Kansas portion), Manhattan, Lawrence, and Topeka metropolitan areas. Overland Park is the biggest city in the county. Johnson County Community College is there, and the corporate campus of Sprint Nextel is also there. In 2006, Overland Park was ranked as the sixth best place to live in America; the nearby city of Olathe was 13th.
There are many universities and colleges in the northeast. Baker University is the oldest university in the state (created in 1858), and it is in Baldwin City. Benedictine College is in Atchison. MidAmerica Nazarene University is in Olathe. Ottawa University is in Ottawa and Overland Park. Kansas City Kansas Community College and KU Medical Center are in Kansas City. The KU Edwards Campus is in Overland Park. Lawrence has the University of Kansas, the biggest public university in Kansas. Lawrence also has Haskell Indian Nations University.
In south-central Kansas, the Wichita metropolitan area has over 600,000 people. Wichita is the biggest city in the state in terms of both land area and number of people. 'The Air Capital' is a major manufacturing area for the aircraft industry. It's also where Wichita State University is. Before Wichita was 'The Air Capital' it was a cowtown. Wichita's population growth has grown by more than 10%. The nearby suburbs are some of the fastest growing cities in Kansas. The number of people in Goddard has grown by more than 11% per year since 2000.
Southeast Kansas is different in that it was a coal-mining region. It has many places on the National Register of Historic Places. Pittsburg is the biggest city in the region. It is where Pittsburg State University is. Frontenac in 1888 was where one of the worst mine disasters in Kansas happened; an underground explosion killed 47 miners. Fort Scott has a national cemetery. It was designated by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862.
Salina is the biggest city in central and north-central Kansas. South of Salina is the small city of Lindsborg. Lindsborg has many Dala horses. Abilene was where President Dwight D. Eisenhower lived. It is where his Presidential Library is. It also has the tombs of the former President, First Lady and son who died in infancy.
Dodge City was famous for the cattle drives it had in the late 19th century. It was built along the old Santa Fe Trail route. The city of Liberal is along the southern Santa Fe Trail route. The first wind farm in the state was built east of Montezuma. Garden City has the Lee Richardson Zoo.
|Largest private employers (as of 2016)|
|No. 1||Spirit AeroSystems||12,000||Wichita||Aviation|
|No. 2||Sprint Corporation||7,600||Overland Park||Telecommunications|
|No. 3||Textron Aviation||6,812||Wichita||Aviation|
|No. 4||General Motors||4,000||Kansas City||Automotive manufacturing|
|No. 5||Bombardier Aerospace||3,500||Wichita||Aviation|
|No. 6||Black & Veatch||3,500||Overland Park||Engineering Consulting|
|No. 7||National Beef||3500||Liberal||Food Products|
|No. 8||Tyson Foods||3,200||Holcomb||Food Products|
|No. 9||Performance Contracting||2,900||Lenexa||Roofing & siding|
|No. 10||National Beef||2,500||Dodge City||Food Products|
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. Kansas also ranks first in the United States in grain sorghum produced, second in cropland, and third in sunflowers produced. 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.
About 90% of Kansas's land is used for farming. Kansas's agricultural products are cattle, sheep, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, cotton, hogs, corn, and salt. As of 2018, there were 59,600 farms in Kansas, 86 (0.14%) of which are certified organic farms. The average farm in the state is about 770 acres (more than a square mile). In 2016, the average cost of running the farm was $300,000.
The median household income for Kansas was $47,709 in 2009. 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.
Kansas has three big military bases: Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth, and McConnell Air Force Base. The US Army reserve has about 25,000 soldiers at these bases, and they also have about 8,000 civilian employees there.
Interstate 70 is an important east-west highway. People can go from Kansas City, Missouri to Denver, Colorado. Cities on this highway include Colby, Hays, Salina, Junction City, Topeka, Lawrence, Bonner Springs, and Kansas City.
Kansas's only major commercial (Class C) airport is Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. It is along US-54 on the western part of Wichita. Manhattan Regional Airport in Manhattan has flights every day to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. This would it the second-biggest commercial airport in Kansas. Most air travelers in northeastern Kansas fly out of Kansas City International Airport, which is in Platte County, Missouri. Some also use the Topeka Regional Airport in Topeka.
In the state's southeastern part, people often use Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma or Joplin Regional Airport in Joplin, Missouri. People in the far western part of the state often use the Denver International Airport. Connecting flights are also available from smaller Kansas airports in Dodge City, Garden City, Hays, Hutchinson, Liberal, or Salina.
The Southwest Chief Amtrak route goes through the state on its route from Chicago to Los Angeles. Stops in Kansas include Lawrence, Topeka, Newton, Hutchinson, Dodge City, and Garden City. An Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach connects Newton and Wichita to the Heartland Flyer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Amtrak may change the Southwest Chief route from using train service for the entire route. Plans call for shortening the route to Los Angeles to instead end in Albuquerque. Buses would replace the train on the route between Albuquerque and Dodge City, where train service east to Chicago would continue.
Law and governmentEdit
State and local politicsEdit
Legislative branch: The legislative branch is the Kansas Legislature. It is a bicameral legislature. It has the Kansas House of Representatives and the Kansas Senate. The House has 125 members, and the Senate has 40 members.
Since the middle of the 20th century, Kansas has been socially conservative. In 1999 and 2005, the Board of Education voted to stop teaching evolution in schools. In 2005, Kansas banned same-sex marriage. In 2006, Kansas made the lowest age to marry 15 years old.
The state's current delegation to the Congress of the United States includes Republican Senators Pat Roberts of Dodge City and Jerry Moran of Manhattan; and Republican Representatives Roger Marshall of Great Bend (District 1), Steve Watkins (District 2), Ron Estes of Wichita (District 4), and Democratic Representative Sharice Davids (District 3).
Kansas has been strongly Republican. The Republican Party was very strong since Kansas became a state. This is because Republicans were very anti-slavery, and Kansas was also anti-slavery. Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the United States Senate since 1932.
Kansas's most famous appearance in a book was as the home of Dorothy Gale. She is the main character in the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).
- Dorothy Gale (portrayed by Judy Garland) in the 1939 fantasy film The Wizard of Oz was a young girl who lived in Kansas with her aunt and uncle. The line, "We're not in Kansas anymore", has become a phrase to describe veryy new and/or unexpected situation.
- The 1967 feature film In Cold Blood was set in various locations across Kansas. Many parts in the film were filmed at the exact places where the events in the book happened. A 1996 TV miniseries was also based on the book.
- The 1988 film Kansas starred Andrew McCarthy as a traveler who met up with a dangerous wanted drifter played by Matt Dillon.
- The 2005 film Capote, for which Philip Seymour Hoffman was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the title character. He profiled the author as he traveled across Kansas while writing In Cold Blood (although most of the film itself was shot in the Canadian province of Manitoba).
- The setting of The Day After, a 1983 made-for-television movie about a fictional nuclear attack, was the city of Lawrence.
- The 2013 film Man of Steel is set primarily in Kansas (as Superman is from Smallville, Kansas – a fictitious town).
- The 2012 film Looper is set in Kansas.
- The 1973 film Paper Moon in which Tatum O'Neal won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (The youngest to win an Academy Award) was based in and filmed in Kansas. The film was shot in the small towns of Hays; McCracken; Wilson; and St. Joseph, Missouri. Various shooting locations include the Midland Hotel at Wilson; the railway depot at Gorham; storefronts and buildings on Main Street in White Cloud; Hays; sites on both sides of the Missouri River; Rulo Bridge; and Saint Joseph, Missouri.
- Parts of the 1996 film Mars Attacks! were set in the fictional town of Perkinsville. Scenes set in Kansas were filmed in Burns, Lawrence, and Wichita.
- The 2007 film The Lookout is set mostly in Kansas (although filmed in Canada). Specifically two locations; Kansas City and the fictional town of Noel, Kansas.
- The 2012 documentary The Gridiron was filmed at The University of Kansas
- The 2014 ESPN documentary No Place Like Home was filmed in Lawrence and the countryside of Douglas County, Kansas
- The 2017 film Thank You for Your Service is mostly set in Kansas, including the cities of Topeka and Junction City.
- The 2017 documentary When Kings Reigned was filmed in Lawrence.
- The 2019 film Brightburn was set in the fictional town of Brightburn. As is evident with scenes in the film depicting mountains (Kansas has no mountain ranges), it was filmed in Georgia instead of in Kansas.
The state symbols of Kansas are:
|Symbol||State symbol||Photograph||Date adopted||Notes|
|State flower||Native Sunflower||"...[The sunflower is] the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future".|
|State bird||Western Meadowlark||Students elected the western meadowlark as the state bird in a poll conducted by the Kansas Aubudon Society in 1923.|
|State tree||Cottonwood||"The cottonwood tree can rightfully be called "the pioneer tree of Kansas"".|
|State song||Home on the Range||Home on the Range, performed by James Richardson in 1939||–|
|State animal||The American Buffalo||The American Buffalo provided Kansan Native Americans with meat, rope, rawhide, and other materials for everyday life.|
Carin Terrier state dog
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- "Wichita Returns to the Amtrak Map". Amtrak. Archived from the original on August 13, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
- Ben Kuebrich, "Amtrak May End Passenger Rail Service In West Kansas. Moran: "Amtrak Is Not Doing Its Job"", KCUR http://kcur.org/post/amtrak-may-end-passenger-rail-service-west-kansas-moran-amtrak-not-doing-its-job#stream/0
- "Kansas State Railroad Map 2017" (PDF). Kansas Department of Transportation. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 29, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
- Los Angeles Times. Vote by Kansas School Board Favors Evolution's Doubters Archived February 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- "Kansas Lawmakers Set Minimum Marriage Age to 15". Fox News Channel. May 5, 2006. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- Hanna, John (November 8, 2005). "Kansas School Board Casts Doubts on Evolution". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
- "Kansas Quick Facts". governor.ks.gov. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
- "Guinness World Records: Kansas venue is world's oldest cinema". Kansas City Star. March 8, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- "Oldest purpose-built cinema in operation". Guinness World Records. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- "PBR: Toto – we're not in Kansas anymore..." BBC Newsnight. December 9, 2009. Archived from the original on February 11, 2014.
- "The Lookout" (PDF). dailyscript.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 12, 2013.
- "Kansas Quick Facts". governor.ks.gov. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
- according to the Kansas state legislature, see "Kansas– United States Senator Jerry Moran". moran.senate.gov. 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- Capace, Nancy (2000). Encyclopedia of Kansas. Somerset Pubs. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-403-09312-0. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "American Buffalo" (PDF). kshs.org. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kansas.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide about: Kansas|
- "Kansas' official website".
- "The Kansas Department of Health and Environment".
- "The Kansas Historical Society".
- "Kansas Travel and Tourism Division".
- Kansas Department of Transportation maps
- Highway Map (PDF), KS: KSDOT, 2017.
- Railroad Map (PDF), KS: KSDOT, 2017.
- "Access state, county, city, railroad, and other maps", Kansas Memory (digital portal), the Kansas State Historical Society.
- Geographic data related to Kansas at OpenStreetMap
- "Kansas Maps", Perry–Castañeda Library (map collection), The University of Texas.