Kansas, derived from the Siouan word Kansa meaning "People of the south wind", is a midwestern state in the United States. The U.S. postal abbreviation for the state is KS and the state flower is the sunflower. The state motto is "Ad astra per aspera", Latin for "to the stars through difficulty", the state song is "Home on the Range", the state bird is the western meadowlark, and the state animal is the buffalo.
The population is 2,688,418, as of 2000. The largest city is Wichita.
Main article: History of Kansas
Kansas, as part of the Louisiana Purchase, was annexed to the United States in 1803 as unorganized territory. Kansas then became part of the Missouri Territory until 1821. Then the Kansas-Nebraska Act became law on May 30, 1854 established the US territories of Nebraska and Kansas.
Fort Leavenworth was the first community in the area around 1827. To travellers enroute to Utah, California, or Oregon, Kansas was a waystop and outfitting place. On March 30, 1855 "Border Ruffians" from Missouri invaded Kansas during the territory's first election and forced the election of a pro-slavery legislature.
Kansas became the 34th state of the Union on January 29, 1861. Civil War veterans constructed homesteads in Kansas following the war. On February 19, 1861 it became the first U.S. state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages.
On August 21, 1863, William Quantrill led Quantrill's Raid into Lawrence, Kansas destroying much of the city and killing many people.
Wild Bill Hickok was a deputy marshal at Fort Riley, Kansas, and a marshal at Hays, Kansas and Abilene, Kansas.
Kansas was home to President Eisenhower, Presidential Candidate Senator Bob Dole, Amelia Earheart, and Carrie Nation. Famous sport athletes from Kansas include Barry Sanders,Jim Ryun,Walter Johnson and Lynette Woodward.
Law and government
The State Capital is Topeka.
The Governor of the State is Kathleen Sebelius (Democrat) and the two U.S. Senators are Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts (both Republicans).
Kansas has a reputation as a progressive state with many firsts in legislative initiatives including being the first state to institute a system of workers compensation (1910). The Council-manager government was adopted by many larger Kansas cities in the years following World War I while many American cities were being run by political machines or organized crime. Kansas schools both public and private continue to have some of the highest standards in the nation. Kansas was first among the states to ban the concept of separate but equal schools. Brown vs. Board of Education took place in Topeka, Kansas and banned racially segregated schools throughout the US.
See also: List of Governors of Kansas; U.S. Congressional Delegations from Kansas
Map of Kansas
Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north, Missouri on the east, Oklahoma on the south, and Colorado on the west. It is located equidistant from the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. The geographic center of North America is located in Osborne County. This spot is used as the central reference point for all maps produced by the government. The geographic center of the 48 contiguous states is located in Smith County, and the geographic center of Kansas is located in Barton County.
See also: List of counties in Kansas
- The disputed World's Largest Ball of Twine created in Cawker City, Kansas August 15, 1953, is still growing.
- Big Brutus, the World's Largest Electric Shovel resides in West Mineral, Kansas. It is 160 ft tall and weighs 11 million pounds.
- Samuel Dinsmoor created the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas in 1905, and opened it up to tourists in 1908. The garden features sculptures of biblical scenes and political messages. One scene has labor being crucified by a doctor, lawyer, banker, and preacher. Dinsmoor even built his own mausoleum in which you can still see him today in his concrete coffin by paying for the tour. http://www.missioncreep.com/tilt/dinsmoor.html
- The Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in De Soto, Kansas opened in 1942 to manufactor gunpowder and munition propellants for World War II. The plant sits on over 9000 acres (36 km²) of land which was made up of more than 100 farms.
- The boyhood home of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Library, and his grave are located in Abilene, Kansas. The Greyhound Hall of Fame is located in Abilene. Abilene, Kansas is also the ending point of the Chisholm Trail where the cattle driven from Texas were rail loaded.
The state is served by two interstate highways with six spur routes. I-70 is a major east/west route connecting to St. Louis, Missouri, in the east and Denver, Colorado, in the west. Cities along this route (from east to west) include Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka, Junction City, Salina, Hays, and Colby. I-35 is a major north/south route connecting to Des Moines, Iowa, in the north and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in the south. Cities along this route (from north to south) include Kansas City (and its suburbs), Ottawa, Emporia, El Dorado, and Wichita.
Spur routes serve as connections between the two major routes. I-135, a north/south route, connects I-70 at Salina to I-35 at Wichita. I-335, a northeast/southwest route, connects I-70 at Topeka to I-35 at Emporia. I-335 and portions of I-35 and I-70 make up the Kansas Turnpike. I-435 and I-635 serve a dual purpose as connections between the major routes and bypasses around the Kansas City metropolitan area. Other bypasses are I-235 around Wichita and I-470 around Topeka.
In January 2004, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) announced the new Kansas 511 traveler information service.http://www.ksdot.org/offtransinfo/News04/511_Release.htm By calling 511, callers will get access to information about road conditions, construction, closures, detours, and weather conditions for the state highway system. Weather and road condition information is updated every 15 minutes.
See also: KDOT road condition information
The 1999 total gross state product of Kansas was $81 billion, placing it 31st in the nation. Its per-capita income is $27,816. The agricultural outputs of the state are cattle, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, hogs and corn. The industrial outputs are transportation equipment, commercial and private aircraft, food processing, publishing, chemical products, machinery, apparel, petroleum and mining.
Major cities and towns
See also: List of cities in Kansas
Main article: Education in Kansas
Colleges and universities
Professional sports teams
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