Kansas is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansa Native American tribe which inhabited the area. The tribe's name (natively kką:ze) is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south wind," although this was probably not the term's original meaning. Residents of Kansas are called "Kansans". For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the Eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the Western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison. Kansas was first settled by European Americansin the 1830s, but the pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery issue.
When it was officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine whether Kansas would become a free state or a slave state. Thus, the area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as these forces collided, and was known as Bleeding Kansas. The abolitionists eventually prevailed and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. After the Civil War, the population of Kansas grew rapidly when waves of immigrants turned the prairie into farmland. Today, Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states, producing high yields of corn, wheat, sorghum, and sunflowers. Kansas is the 15th most extensive and the 34th most populous of the 50 United States.
|State of Kansas|
|Nickname(s): The Sunflower State (official);
The Wheat State
|Motto(s): Ad astra per aspera|
Areas under the protection of the National Park Service include:
Singers from Kansas include Leavenworth native Melissa Etheridge, Sharon native Martina McBride, Chanute native Jennifer Knapp (whose first album was titled Kansas), Kansas Citynative Janelle Monáe, and Liberal native Jerrod Niemann.
The state's most famous appearance in literature was as the home of Dorothy Gale, the main character in the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, published in 1935, is another well-known tale about Kansas.
Kansas was also the setting of the 1965 best-seller In Cold Blood, described by its author Truman Capote as a "nonfiction novel." Mixing fact and fiction, the book chronicles the events and aftermath of the 1959 murder of a wealthy farmer and his family who lived in the small West Kansas town of Holcomb in Finney County.
The winner of the 2011 Newbery Medal for excellence in children's literature, Moon Over Manifest, tells the story of a young and adventurous girl named Abilene who is sent to the fictional town of Manifest, Kansas, by her father in the summer of 1936. It was written by Kansan Clare Vanderpool.