History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People
When Spain explored the area that is now Kansas in 1541, they found Native American Wichita and Pawnee living there. In 1673, the first French explorers arrived from Canada.
In 1803, the United States purchased Kansas in the Louisiana Purchase, from France. In 1806, Zebulon Pike, an American explorer, told the government that the land was not good for farming. Congress passed the Indian Removal Bill in 1830, forcing Native Americans from the East onto reservations in Kansas.
1821, William Becknell was the first to travel the Santa Fe Trail. He
successfully traded goods with the Spanish of the Southwest.
As gold was discovered in California, others soon followed and
military forts were built along the way to protect them from the Indians.
As people went along the Oregon Trail, they traveled through
Kansas. Some of these people
believed the land to be good and in 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act created
Kansas as a territory and allowed white people to settle there.
this time slavery was dividing the nation.
The US government decided to let the people of Kansas vote for or
against slavery. People who didn’t want slavery quickly moved to Kansas
hoping they could outnumber those moving from Missouri, who did want it.
There were many fights between these people, but eventually those
against slavery won. Because
of the great violence during this time, Kansas became known as “Bleeding
January 29, 1861, Kansas became the 24th state in the union.
The state constitution prohibited slavery, but did not stop the
bloodshed. The Civil War
began two months later. One
of the largest civilian massacres in history occurred on August 21, 1863
when men favoring slavery raided Lawrence.
Many Kansans fought for the United States and eventually won the
started raising cattle in the 1880s.
Railroads were now built across the state.
Oil discovered near Neodesha created an economic boom for Kansas.
By 1915, Kansas became a leading mining state.
stretched throughout the Midwest during the 1930s.
The Dust Bowl ruined topsoil from Texas to North Dakota, hurting
farmers. When the Great Depression hit many lost their lands.
War II started in 1941. Aircrafts
for the war were made in Wichita. General
Dwight D. Eisenhower from Abilene, led soldiers into Europe, and helped
the U.S. to win the war. He
later would serve as the President of the United States from 1953 to 1961.
hit Kansas again in the 1950s, but improved technology helped to save most
of the crops. Irrigation with
ground water was also developed at this time, allowing corn and grain to
be grown with little rainfall. Agriculture
remained important economically, but the population began shifting urban.
In 1986, Kansas approved an increase in tax revenue to help the growing demand of water and weaknesses in the economy. A state lottery was also created.