History of Kansas
The U.S. State of Kansas was admitted as the 34th state of the union on January 29th, 1861. Like much of North America at the time, and specifically the mid-western region, several indigenous Native American tribes inhabited the area of modern day Kansas for thousands of years. The first Europeans to make contact with the tribes living in the region were the Spanish. Spanish conquistador, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explored the area in the mid-1500’s, but settlements weren’t established in the area until the early 1800’s, when the first European Americans began moving into the region following the Louisiana Purchase, which included most of Kansas.
The entire land comprising modern day Kansas did not become property of the United States until after the Mexican American War in the mid-1800’s when the Spanish ceded territory to the United States as a condition of their loss in the war. Kansas was formally recognized as an official territory under the Kansas-Nebraska act in 1854, with its admission to statehood following shortly after in 1861.
Present – Kansas
Currently, Kansas is the 15th largest among the 50 states in terms of area and the 34th most populous. The state capital of Topeka is located in the northeastern region of Kansas. As of the 2010 census conducted by the United States Census Bureau, Topeka has a population of 127,473. Although it stands as the capital, Topeka is not the largest or most popular city in the state. Wichita nearly doubles the population of Topeka and serves as the largest city in Kansas by both area and population. As of a 2014 estimation by the United States Census Bureau, Wichita is home to 388,143 people with the full metropolitan area inhabiting over 600,000 people. In addition, Wichita is host to one of the nation’s largest aircraft manufacturing centers.
Kansas has built a name for itself through its extensive agricultural output over the years with their main exports being grain, along with wheat, sorghum, cotton, cattle, and sheep, among others. In addition, Kansas has significant stock in petroleum and oil production, ranking eighth in the nation in both industries, respectively. Some of the largest employers in the state are among the aviation industry, the telecommunications industry, and the automobile manufacturing industry.
Throughout the years, Kansas has appeared as a home and an inspiration for musicians and literature writers. The rock band by the same name formed in Topeka in the 1970’s, and the main character in The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, is written to be from Kansas with the famous line, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Although lacking in professional sports programs, Kansas is home to several Division I NCAA colleges. The University of Kansas and Kansas State University field some the most popular collegiate sports programs in the nation, along with Wichita State University.
Politics of Kansas
Kansas has been a staple of the traditional conservatism most associate with the Republican Party. Both of its federal representatives in the United States Senate are Republicans along with the four representatives in the United States House of Representatives. Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in nearly a century.