The first people settled in what is now Kansas at least 12,200 years ago. Archaeologists know this because they have found bones of mammoths and other animals with marks from human tools on them, a sign that humans hunted the creatures. Thousands of years later, Indian tribes lived on this land, including the Kansa, Osage, Pawnee, Kiowa, and Comanches. The first European to reach the area was the Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, who came in 1541 in search of cities of gold rumored to exist. (Of course he didn’t find any!) French explorers and fur traders arrived in the 1700s, and France took over the area in 1800. It became a US territory in 1803 when the United States bought the land – and much more – from France. This deal was called the Louisiana Purchase.
Tensions rose in 1854 when the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed, allowing residents of the Kansas and Nebraska Territories to vote on whether to allow slavery. These tensions helped lead to the Civil War in 1861, the same year that Kansas became a state. The name Kansas comes from the Kansa Indian tribe, which means “People of the South Wind.” Today, some Kansans call themselves the Jayhawkers. Prior to the civil war, the term actually referred to the gangs of robbers in Kansan. But as soon as the war began, many Jayhawkers joined the fight to support the Union in the North and abolish slavery.
Geography of Kansas
According to itypetravel.com, Kansas’ nickname, the Sunflower State, comes from the fields of sunflowers that bloom here. These flowers are grown for their seeds and oil. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska to the north, Missouri to the east, Oklahoma to the south, and Colorado to the west. The state is known for its vast plains, but it’s not all plains. Gentle hills with pastures and forests can be found in the northeast. This area is called the Scattered to the Plains. The land here was cut (or dissected) into hills and valleys due to the movement of glaciers and wind over 400,000 years ago. The south is the southeastern plains. These include the Osage Plains, which are made of eroded shale and limestone, and the Flint Hills, whose flint ridges stick out because flint does not (or does) break down soil like other rocks. The western half of Kansas is covered by the Great Plains, which rise as you ascend west to the Rocky Mountains. Near the Colorado border is Sunflower Mountain, the state’s highest point.
Wildlife of Kansas
Nine-banded armadillos, black-tailed rabbits, solid-colored pocket gophers, and stealthy shrews are common in Kansas. Reptiles include prairie king snakes, western worms, prairie lizards, and Great Plains skinks. Black vultures, golden eagles, yellow-billed cuckoos, western grasshoppers, and prairie chickens are just a few of the state’s many birds. Cedar, maple, oak and walnut trees grow in the northeastern part of the state. The cotton tree, the state tree, is popping up all over the state. But there is a lot of grass in Kansas: buffalo grass grows in the west; the southeastern plains have bluish grass, grass and Indian grass; and bluegrass grows on the Great Plains. Common wildflowers include sunflower, verbena, purple echinacea, prairie phlox, and prickly poppy.
Population: 128.188 thousand people (2011)
Area: 147.0 sq. km
Time zone: UTC-6
Altitude: 288 m
Topeka, the capital of Kansas, is located in the center of the United States. It is located in the northeastern part of the state in Shawnee County, stretching on both banks of the Kansas River. See Kansas cities.
The original inhabitants of these parts are the Kanza Indians. The colonialists began to penetrate here in the 1840s. It is known that two brothers from Canada named Papan took two local Indian women as their wives and settled near the Kansas River. Later, they built a ferry crossing for immigrants from the eastern United States and thus made a living. Until the mid-1850s, this crossing with the settlement adjacent to it was perhaps the only corner of civilization for hundreds of miles around. In 1854, local residents at a meeting announced the creation of the city of Topeka. This name existed even before the arrival of the “whites”: in the Kanza language, the name of this area meant “a place where they dig up good potatoes.”
In 1861, Topeka became the capital of Kansas, the 34th state of the United States. The first “black” preschool west of the Mississippi was built here. The local authorities generally pursued a tolerant policy, creating Topeka’s reputation as an anti-racist city. In 1966, the city was hit by a massive tornado. In 1974, the Air Force base in Topeka was closed, and 10,000 citizens became unemployed. Gradually the city reoriented the economy. Today, Topeka’s main employer is the public sector.
Topeka attractions include the Kansas Capitol Building, the Cedar Crest Governor’s Residence, Historic Center development, several churches, museums, and parks.
Population: 361.420 thousand people (2005)
Area: 359.8 sq. km
Time zone: UTC-6, summer UTC-5
In the south of the state, in Sedgwick County lies the city of Wichita. It extends along the coast of the Arkansas River. The age of the settlement reaches almost 145 years. Its founders are considered to be enterprising merchants who traded with the indigenous people of the Wichita tribe. Thanks to their efforts, the Chisholm Road was laid at one time, connecting the cattle markets in the north and east of the country. At the beginning of the 20th century, the city began to be unofficially called the Aviation Capital of the World. The reason for this was the development of projects related to flights. Soon, several aircraft manufacturing companies appeared within the city limits. Some of them still continue to be based in Wichita.
The modern city is known not only for aircraft construction, but also for many entertainment complexes and cultural centers. Among them are picturesque parks with recreation areas, museums with unique exhibits, restaurants, nightclubs, an arena for 15,000 seats. In 2008, Wichita was named the best affordable city in the world. Geographically, its territory occupies a piece of land lying at the junction of the Central and Great Plains. This area is formed mainly by sandy deposits of rivers. The territory of the city also includes water resources. The Arkansas River passes through Wichita and has several branches that feed it. In addition, the city is crossed by two man-made canals that serve as protection against flooding.
Wichita is notable for its dry summers and wet winters. Each season is influenced by the continental climate. In the spring there are frequent thunderstorms, sometimes with hail. Intracity passenger communication is represented by 18 bus routes. Wichita has a major airport with flights to other cities. Along the Arkansas River is a small Riverside Park. The College Hill Historic District extends south of the University of Wichita. In the west and east of the city, two large shopping centers rise, each of which houses many restaurants and shops.