Kansas was once occupied by legions of Native American Indians; they raised their children and crops; hunted the tens-of-thousands of buffalo that roamed the vast plains, and for the most part, lived in peace.
Searching for gold and other treasures, the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado arrived here in 1540. He was followed in 1682 by the explorer La Salle, who promptly claimed the land for France.
Regardless of the claims of other nations, in the mid-1700s and very early 1800s, Kansas was still a wide-open Indian territory, and a land of great potential. When the U.S. Purchased Kansas from France in 1803, as part of the Louisiana Purchase, thousands of settlers from the east began flowing across this land.
In this land of opportunity life was tough; Indians were being pushed into a corner as settlers grabbed their long-held land; fights broke out, and eventually forts (I.E. Fort Hays, Fort Leavenworth, and Fort Dodge) were built to provide protection from the now (understandably) hostile Indians.
The Kansas Territory was formed in 1854, and soon serious disagreements over slavery erupted; pro and con forces clashed across the territory, ending in 1859 when a non-slavery constitution was finally approved.
On January 29, 1861, U.S. President James Buchanan signed a bill making Kansas the 34th state with the city of Topeka as its capital. America's Civil War soon began and this new state of Kansas sent thousands of its male population to help the Union defeat the southern Confederacy, and slavery.
The Civil War finally ended in 1865, and across America the rebuilding process began. In Kansas, and in some other western states, the Native American Indians were now pressured to the point that violence was their only option; their historic lands were taken, and sadly they were no match for the country's military, and they faded into a tragic footnote of American history.
In 1867 the railroad arrived in Abilene, and the first cattle drives along the Chisholm Trail began with cowboys and herds converging on growing towns like Dodge City; soon towns were established and family farms spread across the state; the cattle industry prospered, and the miles and miles of wheat fields put Kansas on the map.
In the early 1900s, Kansas developed into the most significant airplane manufacturing center on the planet. Aeronautic pioneers like Cessna, Lear, and Beach made Wichita the 'Air Capital of the World'. Cessna and Beechcraft were founded here in the 1920's and today Learjet, Airbus, and Boeing all have a strong presence in Wichita, Kansas.
In the 20th century, the state's prolific farms helped feed the nation and the world, and Kansas became the largest exporter of wheat on the planet. This is a true Heartland U.S.A. state located in the central American prairies with Nebraska to the North, Missouri to the East, Oklahoma to the south, and Colorado to the west.
This is a Bible Belt state and Topeka is often mentioned as the home of the Pentecostal Christian movement and a large segment of the Kansas population are active church goers. While a great deal of the state is devoted to agriculture, Kansas cities are centers of culture, commerce, and rich old west history.
The capital of Topeka is home to art and natural history museums, theater and green parks, the excellent Topeka Zoo and elegant State Capitol Building.
Located on the Arkansas River in the Red Hills, Dodge City is the epitome of Old West culture. Historic Boot Hill cemetery, old style saloons, a Gunslingers Wax Museum, and gunfight reenactments keep the Cowboy Legend alive. Dodge is not just a show-town, it's a thriving Kansas community and a great place to live.
Located at the crossroads of America's future and historic past, the State of Kansas is a fabled land of Indian lore, cattle drives and cowboys - replete with famous Kansas names and places like Abilene, Bat Masterson, Dodge City, Wild Bill Hickock and Wyatt Earp.
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