Kansas is a Midwestern state named after the Kansas River. It is the 15th largest US state and the 40th largest by population, with 2018 estimates exceeding 2.9 million people. The capital of the state is Topeka while Wichita is the most populous city in the state with over 600,000 residents. Johnson County is the most populated county in the state with a population exceeding half a million residents. Kansas joined the Union in 1861 as the 34th state.
The area that Kansas now occupies was inhabited by various Native American tribes for a millennium before the arrival of Europeans in North America. A Spanish explorer was the first European to make contact and explore the area in 1541.
The majority of Kansas was bought by the United States in 1803 being part of the Louisiana Purchase. Kansas was a constituent of the Missouri Territory between 1812 and 1821. Americans first settled in Kansas in 1827 and established Fort Leavenworth as the first white settlement. The southwest part of Kansas was acquired in 1848 after the end of the Mexican-American War as it was previously part of Mexico. The rate of settlement increased in the 1850s when the political debate over slavery had peaked. In 1854, the area was officially set for settlement through the famous Kansas-Nebraska Act by the United States Congress which established the territory of Kansas and the Territory Nebraska.
American Civil War
The incoming settlers from Missouri and Arkansas were pro-slavery while those from Massachusetts and other free states took a stand against slavery and the spread of slavery from neighboring states. The disagreement in Kansas led to a string of violence and civil altercations on whether slavery should be legalized or not. These confrontations became the precursor of the American Civil War, which was later became known as Bleeding Kansas. In the end, the abolitionists won and Kansas eventually as a free state was admitted to the US on January 29, 1861, becoming the 34th state.
Kansas is part of the Bible Belt with about 76% of the population adheres to Christianity. The state is known for its agricultural produce with over 90% of its land dedicated to agriculture. Kansas is located in the Wheat Belt and Corn Belt. The most significant crop product is wheat, whereby an estimated 40% of all winter wheat grown in the US originates from Kansas. The aerospace industry is also a big contributor to the Kansas economy with several national and international aircraft companies having manufacturing facilities in Wichita.