The Kansas Portal
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 people, who inhabited the area. The tribe's name (natively kk?: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.
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.
The University of Kansas (often referred to as KU or just Kansas) is an institution of higher learning in Lawrence, Kansas. The main campus resides atop Mount Oread. The University was founded in 1865 by the citizens of Lawrence under a charter from the Kansas Legislature. It also received assistance from former Kansas Governor Charles Robinson and his wife Sara, who donated 40 acres (160,000 m²) of Mount Oread land, and philanthropist Amos Adams Lawrence, who made sizable monetary donations.
The University's Medical Center and Hospital are located in Kansas City, Kansas. The KU Edwards Campus is in Overland Park, Kansas in the Kansas City metro area. There are also educational and research sites in Parsons, Topeka and a branch of the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita. Enrollment at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses was 27,875 students; an additional 2,769 students were enrolled at the KU Medical Center for a total enrollment of 30,644 students across the three campuses. The Lawrence campus and KU Medical Center combined employ 2,201 faculty members. KU is home to the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics and Kansas Public Radio station KJHK, the campus radio, has roots back to 1952 and is completely run by students. The university is host to several notable museums including the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, the KU Museum of Anthropology, and the Spencer Museum of Art. The University is one of 60 members of the prestigious Association of American Universities.
Topeka (Kansa: Tó Ppí K?é) is the capital city of the U.S. state of Kansas and the county seat of Shawnee County. It is situated along the Kansas River in the central part of Shawnee County, located in northeast Kansas, in the Central United States. The population was 122,377 at the 2000 census, and it was estimated to be 122,647 in the 2007 census. The Topeka Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, and Wabaunsee counties, had an estimated population of 226,268 in the year 2003. Three ships of the US Navy have been named USS Topeka in honor of the city.
In the 1840s, wagon trains made their way west from Independence, Missouri, on a 2,000 miles (3,000 km) journey following what would come to be known as the Oregon Trail. In the early 1850s, traffic along the Oregon Trail was supplemented by trade on a new military road stretching from Fort Leavenworth through Topeka to the newly-established Fort Riley. After a decade of Bleeding Kansas abolitionist and pro-slavery conflict, the Kansas territory was admitted to the Union in 1861 as the 34th state. Topeka was finally chosen as the capital, with Dr. Charles Robinson as the first governor. In 1862, Cyrus K. Holliday donated a tract of land to the state for the construction of a state capitol. Construction of the Kansas State Capitol began in 1866. It would take 37 years to build the capitol, first the east wing, and then the west wing, and finally the central building, using Kansas limestone. Home to the first African-American kindergarten west of the Mississippi River, Topeka became the home of Linda Brown, the named plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education which was the case responsible for eliminating the standard of "separate but equal", and requiring racial integration in American public schools.
Credit: Michael Overton
Big Brutus Note people standing near the bottom "treads" to gain perspective of this 160 feet (49 m) machine.
Important dates in Kansas' history
The American Bison, Kansas' state mammal.
Select [+] to view subcategories
Things you can do