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Kansas (/ˈkænzəs/ (About this soundlisten)) is a state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska to the north; Missouri to the east; Oklahoma to the south; and Colorado to the west. Kansas is named after the Kansas River, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native Americans who lived along its banks. The tribe's name (natively kką:ze) is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. 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 Americans in 1827 with the establishment of Fort Leavenworth. The pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery debate. When it was officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854 with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, 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 prevailed, and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state, hence the unofficial nickname "The Free State".

By 2015, Kansas was one of the most productive agricultural states, producing high yields of wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans. Kansas, which has an area of 82,278 square miles (213,100 square kilometers) is the 15th-largest state by area and is the 34th most-populous of the 50 states with a population of 2,940,865 according to the 2020 census. Residents of Kansas are called Kansans. Mount Sunflower is Kansas's highest point at 4,039 feet (1,231 meters). (Full article...)

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Interstate 470 (I-470) is a 13.72-mile (22.08 km) loop highway that bypasses the downtown area of Topeka, Kansas. I-470 begins at an interchange with I-70 in western Topeka and heads generally southeast, running concurrent with U.S. Route 75 (US-75). The concurrency with US-75 ends 5.74 miles (9.24 km) later at the Burlingame Road interchange. I-470 becomes part of the Kansas Turnpike at its junction with I-335. From there, the highway heads generally northeast through the southeastern sections of Topeka. After traveling 7.03 miles (11.31 km) as the Kansas Turnpike, I-470 reaches its eastern terminus at I-70. The highway has annual average daily traffic values as high as 43,000 west of Gage Boulevard to as low as 10,370 near the eastern terminus. As an Interstate Highway, I-470 is a part of the United States National Highway System. The non-turnpike portions of the highway are maintained by the Kansas Department of Transportation, while the turnpike portion is maintained by the Kansas Turnpike Authority.

The Kansas Turnpike was opened in the 1950s, comprising the eastern portion of the route. In the late 1950s construction began on the western portion of I-470, and on October 21, 1960, the western section of I-470 was dedicated and opened to traffic. In 1982, Interstate 470 was designated as "Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Highway". The routing of I-470 has not changed since the completion of the highway. (Full article...)

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Credit: Edwin Olson
A view of the Flint Hills in eastern Kansas.

Important dates in Kansas' history

July–August 1541
Coronado explores Kansas
April 30, 1803
Louisiana Purchase Treaty signed
May 30, 1854
Kansas Territory organized
July 29, 1859
Constitution adopted by convention
January 29, 1861
Kansas becomes 34th state
August 21, 1863
Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence
Spring 1879
Exodusters
February 19, 1881
First state to Constitutionally prohibit alcohol
1890s
Populist Revolt
July 1951
Great Flood of 1951
May 17, 1954
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

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State facts


State symbols:

The American Bison, Kansas' state mammal.

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The University of Kansas (KU) is a public research university with its main campus in Lawrence, Kansas, United States, and several satellite campuses, research and educational centers, medical centers, and classes across the state of Kansas. Two branch campuses are in the Kansas City metropolitan area on the Kansas side: the university's medical school and hospital in Kansas City, the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, a hospital and research center in the state's capital of Topeka, and a hospital and research center in Hays. There are also educational and research sites in Garden City, Hays, Leavenworth, Parsons, and Topeka, an agricultural education center in rural north Douglas County, and branches of the medical school in Salina and Wichita. The university is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".

Founded March 21, 1865, the university was opened in 1866, under a charter granted by the Kansas State Legislature in 1864 and legislation passed in 1863 under the State Constitution, which was adopted two years after the 1861 admission of the former Kansas Territory as the 34th state into the Union. Disputes over Kansas' establishment as a free or slaveholding state prior to admission to the union prompted an internal civil war known as "Bleeding Kansas" during the 1850s. (Full article...)
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