Kansas is an American state located in the country's Midwest where it spans an area of 82,278 square miles making it the 15th largest state in the country. Archaeological evidence indicated that human communities have lived within the borders of Kansas for an extended period that stretches back to at least 7000 BCE. Despite the long history of human habitation in Kansas, most of the events that shaped its borders occurred after the arrival of the European in the region during the 16th century. In the modern era, Kansas shares its borders with four states: Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, and Colorado.
The bounder that separates Kansas from Oklahoma lies on the southern end of Kansas. There are several towns in Kansas located along the border with Oklahoma such as Liberal, Sedan, and Oswego. Some of the cities located on the Oklahoma side of the border include Manchester, Grainola, and Burlington. Manchester is one of the smallest towns in Oklahoma and it only covers an area of 0.2 square miles and was home to 103 people in 2010. Liberal is one of the major cities in Kansas as it is the seat of Seward County. In 2010 it was estimated that Liberal was home to 20,525 people.
Kansas and Missouri are separated by a border that is situated in the eastern edge of Kansas. The Missouri River and the Blue River are two of the major rivers which cross the boundary between the two states. There are several major cities located on the Kansas side of the border such as Columbus, Kansas City, and Fort Scott. Some of the major towns on the Missouri side of the border include Nevada, Butler, and Lamar. One of the largest metropolitan areas in the US, the Kansas City metro area, straddles the boundary between the two states. In 2015, it was estimated that the area was home to roughly 2,159,159 people.
During the 19th century, Missouri and Kansas had a tumultuous relationship that culminated in several disagreements along the border from 1854 to 1861. Several historians refer to the conflicts as Bleeding Kansas. The tension between the two states stemmed from ideological differences on the issue of slavery. At the time most of the residents of Missouri supported slavery and attempted to influence the decision of the people of Kansas. Some of them even went to Kansas where they voted illegally in support of slavery. Their actions angered the residents of Kansas who were against slavery. At first, the conflict was mainly political, but it soon involved the civilians in the two states who engaged in guerrilla warfare and gang violence. In 1856, some men from Missouri attacked the city of Lawrence and destroyed the offices of two newspapers which were against slavery. In response, some anti-slavery activists led by John Brown attacked and killed five pro-slavery activists. The residents of Kansas who were against slavery were successful and in 1861 it was admitted to the union as a free state. Despite the victory, clashes between the two groups continued to be experienced along the border. The events of this period significantly affected the relationship between Missouri and Kansas. In the 21st century, the central area of competition between Missouri and Kansas is in economics. In 2013, it was reported that as a result of tax cuts put in place by the governor of Kansas several businesses had moved from Missouri to Kansas which angered the leaders of Missouri.
The boundary that separates Nebraska and Kansas is situated in the northern edge of Kansas. Some of the rivers that flow along the border between the two states include the Little Blue River, the Republican River, and the Big Blue River. The Republican River flows for a total of 453 miles and also passes through the state of Colorado.
The waters of the Republican River have been a major cause of contention between Nebraska and Kansas. In 1942, the three states that share the Republican River signed a pact detailing how they would share the waters of the river. However, during the 1980s, Kansas complained that Nebraska was violating the terms of the compact by allowing more groundwater development projects to be developed. The leaders of Nebraska, on the other hand, said that they were not violating the compact. In 1999, the issue was taken before the Supreme Court which decided to appoint a special master to arbitrate the issue. The issues remained resolved until 2008 when Kansas complained that Nebraska had overused the amount of water allocated to the state. Kansas once again presented the issue to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided that Nebraska had to pay Kansas $5.5 million of which $3.7 million was for damage to Kansas' farmers. The court also ruled that Nebraska could use the water that flowed into the Republican River from the Platte River.
Kansas and Colorado are separated by a border situated on the western edge of Kansas. Some of the major towns located on the Kansas side of the border include Syracuse, Goodland, and St Francis. The cities located along the Colorado side of the border include Wray, Lamar, and Springfield. Lama is one of the most important cities in Colorado because it is the seat of Prowers County. It is also the most populous city in the county and it was home to 7,804 people in 2010. Syracuse is an important city in Kansas and it is the seat of Hamilton County. In 2010, it was estimated that Syracuse was home to about 1,812 people. In the past, Syracuse used to be known as Hollidaysburg and was renamed Syracuse in 1873. One of the major rivers that cross the border between Kansas and Colorado is the Arkansas River which flows for a total of 1,469 miles. Another major river that flows across the border between the two states is the Beaver Creek which is a tributary of the Republican River.
The Importance of Kansas' Borders
The borders of Kansas are essential because they reflect part of the state's history. The most historic section of the border is considered the border with Missouri, and several monuments have been set up to commemorate the history of the area.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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