Kansas

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State of Kansas
Flag of Kansas State seal of Kansas
Flag Seal
Nickname(s):
The Sunflower State (official);
The Wheat State [1]
The Jayhawker State [1]
The Free State [2]
Motto(s): Ad astra per aspera (Latin for To the stars through difficulties)
State song(s): "Home on the Range"
Map of the United States with Kansas highlighted
Official languageEnglish[3]
DemonymKansan
CapitalTopeka
Largest cityWichita
Largest metroKansas portion of Kansas City, Missouri metropolitan area
AreaRanked 15th
 • Total82,278[4] sq mi
(213,100 km2)
 • Width410[5] miles (660 km)
 • Length213[5] miles (343 km)
 • % water0.6[6]
 • Latitude37° N to 40° N
 • Longitude94° 35′ W to 102° 3′ W
PopulationRanked 35th
 • Total2,911,505 (2018)
 • Density34.9/sq mi  (13.5/km2)
Ranked 40th
 • Median household income$56,422[7] (31st[8])
Elevation
 • Highest pointMount Sunflower[9][10]
4,041 ft (1232 m)
 • Mean2,000 ft  (610 m)
 • Lowest pointVerdigris River at Oklahoma border[9][10]
679 ft (207 m)
Before statehoodKansas Territory
Admission to UnionJanuary 29, 1861
Kansas Day (34th)
GovernorLaura Kelly (D)
Lieutenant GovernorLynn Rogers (D)
LegislatureKansas Legislature
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. SenatorsPat Roberts (R)
Jerry Moran (R)
U.S. House delegation1: Roger Marshall (R)
2: Steve Watkins (R)
3: Sharice Davids (D)
4: Ron Estes (R) (list)
Time zones 
 • Majority of stateCentral: UTC −6/−5
 • Greeley, Hamilton, Sherman, and Wallace countiesMountain: UTC −7/−6
ISO 3166US-KS
AbbreviationsKS, Kan., Kans.
Websiteportal.kansas.gov
Kansas state symbols
Flag of Kansas.svg
Seal of Kansas.svg
Living insignia
AmphibianBarred tiger salamander
BirdWestern meadowlark
FlowerWild sunflower
GrassLittle bluestem
InsectWestern honey bee
MammalAmerican bison
ReptileOrnate box turtle
TreePlains cottonwood
Inanimate insignia
SoilHarney silt loam (unofficial)
State route marker
Kansas state route marker
State quarter
Kansas quarter dollar coin
Released in 2005
Lists of United States state symbols

Kansas (pronounced /kăn'zəs/)[11] is a state in the Midwestern United States of America. Kansas has a total population of 2.9 million, with an area of 82,000 sq mi (212,379 km2), making Kansas the 34th largest state by population and the 15th largest state by area. The name of the state comes from the Kansa Native Americans, whose name comes from a Siouan-language phrase meaning "people of the south wind".[12] The land that would become Kansas was bought in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Kansas became the 34th state to be admitted to the United States on January 29, 1861. Kansas' capital is Topeka, and its largest city is Wichita.

Kansas is in a region known as America's Breadbasket. Like other states in this area, Kansas is a large producer of wheat and other grains, producing one-fifth of all wheat grown in the United States.[13] In addition to wheat, Kansas produces large amounts of grain sorghum, summer potatoes, and sunflowers,[14] with other industries in Kansas including aviation and communications.

The terrain of Kansas consists of prairies and forests. All of Kansas is in the Great Plains.

History[change | change source]

Early history[change | change source]

In 1539, Marcos de Niza, a friar,[15] reported rumors of Cíbola, a city of gold, to Spanish colonial officials in Mexico City. Niza said the city was in modern-day New Mexico.[16] In response to the rumors, two years later, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, with an army of 3000 Spaniards and 8001 Mexicans, marched northward from Culiacán in hopes of finding the city.When Coronado did not find the city in New Mexico, he continued northeast into the Mississippi Valley, crossing the present area of Kansas diagonally. This made Conrado and his army the first Europeans to see the Great Plains, including Kansas.[17] Later, Juan de Oñate also traveled to Kansas in 1601.[15]

In 1682, Marquette, Joliet, Hennepin and other French leaders took formal control of the Mississippi Valley, including the land that would become Kansas. This land, known as the Louisiana territory, was used to organize trade with Native Americans. In 1762, France ceded the Louisiana territory to Spain. However, in 1801, Spain receded the territory back to France in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso.[15] On April 30, 1803, Napoleon sold the Louisiana territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.[15][18][19] In the early 1800s, Kansas was used to hold Native Americans that were removed from their native lands.[20]

Statehood[change | change source]

On May 30, 1854, the Congress signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Kansas-Nebraska Act stated that Kansas and Nebraska were both territories of the United States.[21][22] It also stated that Kansans would vote on the legality of slavery.[23]

Upon hearing this, about 1,200 armed New Englanders came to Kansas to vote against slavery. However, thousands of southerners, mostly from Missouri, came to vote for slavery.[23] The final vote was to make slavery legal, and Kansas adopted most of Missouri's slave laws. There was fighting between Southerners and Northerners in Kansas. In one fight, John Brown and his men killed five people in the Pottawatomie Massacre. Later, Southerners destroyed Lawrence, Kansas. Kansas was called "Bleeding Kansas".

Between 1854 and 1861, Kansas proposed four state constitutions. Out of the four proposed constitutions, three did not allow slavery.[24] Finally, in July 1859, Kansas passed the Wyandotte Constitution, which was anti-slavery.[25][26] The constitution for statehood was sent to the U.S. government in April 1860 to be voted on. The constitution was passed by the House of Representatives, but rejected by the Senate.[27] This is because southern voters in the Senate did not like that Kansas would become a state without slavery. In 1861, after the Confederate states formed, the constitution gained approval from the Union, and Kansas became a state.[20][23][27][28]

Kansas in the Civil War[change | change source]

The Lawrence Massacre on August 21, 1863

Four months after Kansas became a state, the Civil War started.[29] Out of the 381 battles in the Civil War, four were fought in Kansas.[30] Throughout the war, Kansas remained a Union state.

On August 21, 1863, William Clarke Quantrill led a force of 300 to 400 Confederates into the town of Lawrence, Kansas.[31] Quantrill and his troops burned, looted, and destroyed the anti-slavery town. This battle became known as the Lawrence Massacre. In total, 164 Union soldiers and 40 Confederate soldiers died in the Lawrence Massacre.[31] In the Battle of Mine Creek, on October 25, 1864, Union soldiers attacked Confederates as they were crossing the Mine Creek. The Union surrounded the Confederates, and captured 600 men and two generals. 1,000 Confederate soldiers and 100 Union soldiers died in the battle.[32] In total, 8,500 people from Kansas died or were wounded in the Civil War.[12]

Post Civil War[change | change source]

After the Civil War, many free slaves came to Oklahoma and Kansas. In fact, between the years of 1879 and 1881, about 60,000 African Americans came to this region.[33][34] This is because the slaves wanted economic opportunities, which they believed awaited them in Kansas. African Americans also came to Kansas for better political rights and to escape sharecropping.[34] These people were called "Exodusters."

Recent history[change | change source]

Dust Bowl[change | change source]

From 1930 to 1936, Kansas went through a period of time called the Dust Bowl. During this time, Kansas had little rainfall and high temperatures. Thousands of farmers became very poor and had to move to other parts of the United States. In total, 400,000 people left the Great Plains area.[35] The years from 1930 to 1940 was the only time the population of Kansas went down. The number of people living in Kansas decreased 4.3 percent.[36]

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas[change | change source]

During the 1950s, school segregation was required in fifteen U.S states. However, Kansas was not one of these states.[37] Instead, school segregation was permitted by local option, but only in elementary schools.[38] In 1896, the ruling from Plessy v. Ferguson stated that segregation was allowed, but equal facilities should be made available for blacks and whites.[39] Often, however, black schools received less funding and had fewer textbooks than white schools.[40]

For these reasons, Linda Brown and her family sued the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Brown won the case, and the ruling was to overturn the Plessy v. Ferguson decision.[41] This was considered by many a landmark case in the civil rights movement.[39][41][42]

Geography[change | change source]

The Great Plains of Kansas
The Flint Hills in eastern Kansas

Kansas is the 15th-largest state in the United States. It covers an area of 82,282 square miles (213,109 km2). Of this, about 462 square miles (1196.57 km2) are water. This makes up 0.60% of the total area of the state.[43]

Kansas is one of six states on the Frontier Strip. Kansas shares borders with Nebraska to the north, Oklahoma to the south, Missouri to the east, and Colorado to the west. The geographic center of the main 48 states is near Lebanon, Kansas. The geographic center of Kansas is in Barton County.

Topography[change | change source]

All of Kansas is in the Great Plains,[44] where the land is mostly flat with prairies and grasslands. Eastern Kansas has hills and forests, like the Flint Hills and the Osage Plains in the southeastern part of the state.

Kansas increases in elevation from east to west. The highest point in the state is Mount Sunflower near the Colorado border. Mount Sunflower is 4,039 ft (1,231 m) tall. The lowest point is the Verdigris River in Montgomery County, at 679 ft (207 m) above sea level. It is a common misconception that Kansas is the flattest state — in 2003, a tongue-in-cheek study famously said the state is "flatter than a pancake".[45] Kansas has a maximum topographic relief of 3,360 ft (1,020 m).[46] This makes Kansas the 23rd flattest U.S. state.[47]

Rivers[change | change source]

Spring River, Kansas

About 75 mi (121 km) of the Kansas's northeastern border is the Missouri River. The Kansas River is created by the junction of the Smoky Hill River and Republican River. This happens at Junction City. The Kansas River then joins the Missouri River at Kansas City. It goes 170 mi (270 km) across the northeastern part of the state.

The Arkansas River (pronunciation varies) starts in Colorado. It goes for about 500 mi (800 km) across the western and southern parts of Kansas.

Kansas's has other rivers. There is the Saline River and the Solomon River. They are tributaries of the Smoky Hill River. The Big Blue River, the Delaware River, and the Wakarusa River flow into the Kansas River. The Marais des Cygnes River is a tributary of the Missouri River. Spring River is between Riverton and Baxter Springs.

Weather[change | change source]

Köppen climate types in Kansas
Clouds in northeastern Kansas
Kansas Summer Wheat and Storm Panorama
A tornado in Manhattan, Kansas

The Köppen climate classification says that Kansas's climate has three types depending on where in the state it is: it has humid continental, semi-arid steppe, and humid subtropical. The eastern 2/3 of the state (especially the northeastern part) has a humid continental climate. This means it has cool to cold winters and hot, often humid summers. Most of the precipitation happens during both the summer and the spring.

The western 1/3 of the state – from about U.S. Route 83 to west of it – has a semiarid steppe climate. Summers are hot, often very hot, and generally less humid. Winters vary a lot. Winters can be anything between warm and very cold. The western region gets an average of about 16 inches (410 millimeters) of precipitation per year. Chinook winds in the winter can warm western Kansas all the way into the 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) range.

The far south-central and southeastern parts of Kansas, including the Wichita area, have a humid subtropical climate. This means it has hot and humid summers, and it has milder winters. It also has more precipitation than other places in Kansas. Some things about three climates can be found in most of Kansas. Many parts can get droughts and varied weather. Places can be dry or humid. Places can get both warm or cold in the winter.

Temperatures in many areas in the western half of Kansas reach 90 °F (32 °C) or hotter on most days of June, July, and August. Because of the high humidity, the heat index can be deadly, especially in Wichita, Hutchinson, Salina, Russell, Hays, and Great Bend. Temperatures are often high in Dodge City, Garden City, and Liberal, but the heat index in those three cities is usually lower than the actual air temperature.

Temperatures of 100 °F (38 °C) or higher are not as common in the eastern half of Kansas. However, higher humidity and the urban heat island effect make most summer days reach between 107 °F (42 °C) and 114 °F (46 °C) in Topeka, Lawrence, and the Kansas City metropolitan area. During the summer, the low temperatures each night in the northeastern part of the state don't get colder than 80 °F (27 °C) very often. Also, because of the humidity being between 85 and 95 percent, dangerous heat can be felt all day.

Kansas has a varied climate with an average yearly temperature of 56°F (13°C).[48] The highest temperature ever in Kansas is 121 °F (49.4 °C). This happened in Fredonia on July 18, 1936, and in Alton on July 24, 1936. The lowest temperature ever in Kansas is -40 °F (-40 °C). This occurred in Lebanon on February 13, 1905.[49] Kansas is in a temperate area of the country. Like other states in this region, Kansas has four distinct seasons.

Kansas can have extreme weather in all four seasons. For example, in spring and autumn, Kansas has many tornadoes. In fact, Kansas gets about 55 tornadoes per year.[50] This is because Kansas is in the area known as Tornado Alley, where cold and warm air masses come together to make severe weather.

In summer, Kansas has experienced severe droughts. For example, in 1934, 1936, and 1939, Kansas had less than average rainfall and widespread dust storms as a part of the Dust Bowl.[51][52]

In winter, Kansas has snow in most parts of the state.[53] The average snowfall in the northern half of the state is 16 inches, with the average snowfall in the southern half of the state being 8 inches.[54] Blizzards and related snowstorms are rare in Kansas.[55]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Kansas Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Concordia 36/17 43/22 54/31 64/41 74/52 85/62 91/67 88/66 80/56 68/44 51/30 40/21
Dodge City 41/19 48/24 57/31 67/41 76/52 87/62 93/67 91/66 82/56 70/44 54/30 44/22
Goodland 39/16 45/20 53/26 63/35 72/46 84/56 89/61 87/60 78/50 66/38 50/25 41/18
Topeka 37/17 44/23 56/33 66/43 75/53 84/63 89/68 88/65 80/56 69/44 53/32 41/22
Wichita 40/20 47/25 57/34 67/44 76/54 87/64 93/69 92/68 82/59 70/47 54/34 43/24
Concordia Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Dodge City Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Goodland Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Topeka Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Wichita Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall

People[change | change source]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860107,206
1870364,399239.9%
1880996,096173.4%
18901,428,10843.4%
19001,470,4953.0%
19101,690,94915.0%
19201,769,2574.6%
19301,880,9996.3%
19401,801,028−4.3%
19501,905,2995.8%
19602,178,61114.3%
19702,246,5783.1%
19802,363,6795.2%
19902,477,5744.8%
20002,688,4188.5%
20102,853,1186.1%
Est. 20182,911,5052.0%
1910–2010[56]
2018 Estimate[57]
A population map of Kansas, with densely populated areas in dark green

Kansas had 627 cities in 2008.[58] The largest city in Kansas is Wichita, which had a population of 382,368 in 2010. The other largest cities in Kansas are: Overland Park, 173,372; Kansas City, 145,786; Topeka, 127,473; and Olathe, 125,872.[59] Between the years of 2000 and 2010, the Kansas population increased 6.1 percent.

Ancestry[change | change source]

The 2010 Census says that the people of Kansas were:

Ethnically 10.5% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race).[60][61] They are mostly in southwest Kansas. Many black people in Kansas were from the Exodusters, free black people who left the South.

As of 2011, 35.0% of Kansas's population younger than one year old were part of a minority group (i.e., did not have two parents who were non-Hispanic white).[62]

Kansas ethnic breakdown of population
Racial composition 1990[63] 2000[64] 2010[65]
White 90.1% 86.1% 83.8%
Black 5.8% 5.8% 5.9%
Asian 1.3% 1.7% 2.4%
Native 0.9% 0.9% 1.0%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
0.1%
Other race 2.0% 3.4% 3.9%
Two or more races 2.1% 3.0%

Language[change | change source]

English is the most-spoken language in Kansas. About 95% of people only speak English. Spanish is second.[66]

Regions[change | change source]

Northeast Kansas[change | change source]

Aerial view Lawrence, Kansas

The northeastern part of the state, going from the eastern border to Junction City and from the Nebraska border to south of Johnson County, has more than 1.5 million people in the Kansas City (Kansas portion), Manhattan, Lawrence, and Topeka metropolitan areas. Overland Park is the biggest city in the county. Johnson County Community College is there, and the corporate campus of Sprint Nextel is also there. In 2006, Overland Park was ranked as the sixth best place to live in America; the nearby city of Olathe was 13th.[67]

Olathe is the county seat of Johnson County. Olathe, Shawnee, De Soto, and Gardner are some of Kansas's fastest growing cities.

There are many universities and colleges in the northeast. Baker University is the oldest university in the state (created in 1858), and it is in Baldwin City. Benedictine College is in Atchison. MidAmerica Nazarene University is in Olathe. Ottawa University is in Ottawa and Overland Park. Kansas City Kansas Community College and KU Medical Center are in Kansas City. The KU Edwards Campus is in Overland Park. Lawrence has the University of Kansas, the biggest public university in Kansas. Lawrence also has Haskell Indian Nations University.

Topeka is the state capital, and about 250,000 people live in the metropolitan area. Washburn University and Washburn Institute of Technology are in Topeka.

Wichita[change | change source]

Wichita, the biggest city in the state of Kansas

In south-central Kansas, the Wichita metropolitan area has over 600,000 people.[68] Wichita is the biggest city in the state in terms of both land area and number of people. 'The Air Capital' is a major manufacturing area for the aircraft industry. It's also where Wichita State University is. Before Wichita was 'The Air Capital' it was a cowtown.[69] Wichita's population growth has grown by more than 10%. The nearby suburbs are some of the fastest growing cities in Kansas. The number of people in Goddard has grown by more than 11% per year since 2000.[70]

Wichita was one of the first cities to add the city commissioner and city manager in their form of government.[69] Wichita is also home of the nationally recognized Sedgwick County Zoo.[69]

Southeast Kansas[change | change source]

Southeast Kansas is different in that it was a coal-mining region. It has many places on the National Register of Historic Places. Pittsburg is the biggest city in the region. It is where Pittsburg State University is. Frontenac in 1888 was where one of the worst mine disasters in Kansas happened; an underground explosion killed 47 miners. Fort Scott has a national cemetery. It was designated by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862.

Central Kansas[change | change source]

Salina is the biggest city in central and north-central Kansas. South of Salina is the small city of Lindsborg. Lindsborg has many Dala horses. Abilene was where President Dwight D. Eisenhower lived. It is where his Presidential Library is. It also has the tombs of the former President, First Lady and son who died in infancy.

Farmland and the Great Plains in central Kansas

Northwest Kansas[change | change source]

The city of Hays is the biggest city in the northwest as it has about 20,000 people living there. Hays is where Fort Hays State University is. It also has the Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

There are very few people that live west of Hays. There are only two towns that have at least 4,000 people: Colby and Goodland.

Southwest Kansas[change | change source]

Dodge City was famous for the cattle drives it had in the late 19th century. It was built along the old Santa Fe Trail route. The city of Liberal is along the southern Santa Fe Trail route. The first wind farm in the state was built east of Montezuma. Garden City has the Lee Richardson Zoo.

Economy[change | change source]

Largest private employers (as of 2016)[71]
Rank Business Employees Location Industry
No. 1 Spirit AeroSystems 12,000 Wichita Aviation
No. 2 Sprint Corporation 7,600 Overland Park Telecommunications
No. 3 Textron Aviation 6,812 Wichita Aviation
No. 4 General Motors 4,000 Kansas City Automotive manufacturing
No. 5 Bombardier Aerospace 3,500 Wichita Aviation
No. 6 Black & Veatch 3,500 Overland Park Engineering Consulting
No. 7 National Beef 3500 Liberal Food Products
No. 8 Tyson Foods 3,200 Holcomb Food Products
No. 9 Performance Contracting 2,900 Lenexa Roofing & siding
No. 10 National Beef 2,500 Dodge City Food Products

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Kansas's total gross domestic product in 2014 was US$140,964 billion.[72] In 2015, the job growth rate in was .8%. This was one of the lowest rate in America with only "10,900 total nonfarm jobs" added that year.[73] The Kansas Department of Labor's 2016 report found the average yearly wage was $42,930 in 2015.[74] In April 2016, the state's unemployment rate was 4.2%.[75]

The State of Kansas had a $350 million budget deficit in February 2017.[76] In February 2017, S&P downgraded Kansas's credit rating to AA-.[77]

Farming has always been an important part of the state economy of Kansas. The main crop grown in Kansas is wheat. In fact, Kansas farmers produce about 400 million bushels of wheat per year.[13] Kansas also ranks first in the United States in grain sorghum produced, second in cropland, and third in sunflowers produced.[14] However, farming is not the only important part of the economy of Kansas. Many parts of airplanes are made in the city of Wichita. Also, many important companies are near Kansas City, Missouri. For example, the Sprint Nextel Corporation is one of the largest telephone companies in the United States. Its main operational offices are in Overland Park, Kansas.[78]

About 90% of Kansas's land is used for farming.[79] Kansas's agricultural products are cattle, sheep, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, cotton, hogs, corn, and salt. As of 2018, there were 59,600 farms in Kansas, 86 (0.14%) of which are certified organic farms.[79] The average farm in the state is about 770 acres (more than a square mile). In 2016, the average cost of running the farm was $300,000.[79]

The industrial products are transportation equipment, commercial and private aircraft, food processing, publishing, chemical products, machinery, apparel, petroleum, and mining.

The median household income for Kansas was $47,709 in 2009.[80] The gross domestic product (GDP) for Kansas was $122,700,000,000 ($122.7 billion) in 2008. Overall, Kansas' GDP accounts for less than 1 percent of total U.S. economy.[81]

Kansas has three big military bases: Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth, and McConnell Air Force Base. The US Army reserve has about 25,000 soldiers at these bases, and they also have about 8,000 civilian employees there.

Taxes[change | change source]

During his campaign for the 2010 election, Governor Sam Brownback said he would get rid of the state income tax.[82] In May 2012, Governor Brownback signed into law the Kansas Senate Bill Substitute HB 2117.[83] Starting in 2013, the "ambitious tax overhaul" lowered income tax, got rid of some corporate taxes, and created pass-through income tax exemptions. He raised the sales tax by one percent to make up for the loss of the other taxes. However, the sales tax was not enough to make up for it. He made cuts to education and some state services to make up for the lost revenue.[84] The tax cut led to years of budget shortfalls. The worst was a $350 million budget shortfall in February 2017. From 2013 to 2017, 300,000 businesses were considered to be pass-through income entities and benefited from the tax exemption. The tax reform "encouraged tens of thousands of Kansans to claim their wages and salaries as income from a business rather than from employment."[76]

The economic growth that Brownback hoped for never happened. He argued that it was because of "low wheat and oil prices and a fewer aircraft sales."[82] The state general fund debt load was $83 million in fiscal year 2010. By fiscal year 2017 the debt load sat at $179 million.[85] In 2016, Governor Brownback earned the title of "most unpopular governor in America". Only 26 percent of Kansas voters approved of his job performance. 65 percent said they did not.[86] In the summer of 2016, S&P Global Ratings downgraded Kansas's credit rating.[77] In February 2017, S&P lowered it to AA-.[77]

In February 2017, a bi-partisan group wrote a bill that would repeal the pass-through income exemption, the "most important provisions of Brownback's overhaul", and raise taxes to make up for the budget shortfall. Brownback vetoed the bill but "45 GOP legislators had voted in favor of the increase, while 40 voted to uphold the governor's veto."[76] On June 6, 2017 a group of Democrats and newly-elected Republicans overrode Brownback's veto. They increased taxes to an amount that is close to what it was before 2013.[82] Brownback's tax plan was described in a June 2017 article in The Atlantic as the United States' "most aggressive experiment in conservative economic policy".[82] The tax cuts had made schools and infrastructure difficult to get funding in Kansas.[82]

"The Brownback experiment didn't work. We saw that loud and clear."

— Heidi Holliday, executive director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth 2017[82]

Transportation[change | change source]

Interstate 35 as it enters Kansas in Rosedale.

Highways[change | change source]

There are two interstate highways in Kansas. The first part of the interstate highway opened on Interstate 70 west of Topeka. It opened on November 14, 1956.[87]

Interstate 70 is an important east-west highway. People can go from Kansas City, Missouri to Denver, Colorado. Cities on this highway include Colby, Hays, Salina, Junction City, Topeka, Lawrence, Bonner Springs, and Kansas City.

Interstate 35 is a major north–south highway from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Des Moines, Iowa. Cities on this highway include Wichita, El Dorado, Emporia, Ottawa, and Kansas City (and suburbs).

Interstate Highways[change | change source]

U.S. Routes[change | change source]

Airports[change | change source]

Kansas's only major commercial (Class C) airport is Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. It is along US-54 on the western part of Wichita. Manhattan Regional Airport in Manhattan has flights every day to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. This would it the second-biggest commercial airport in Kansas.[88] Most air travelers in northeastern Kansas fly out of Kansas City International Airport, which is in Platte County, Missouri. Some also use the Topeka Regional Airport in Topeka.

In the state's southeastern part, people often use Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma or Joplin Regional Airport in Joplin, Missouri. People in the far western part of the state often use the Denver International Airport. Connecting flights are also available from smaller Kansas airports in Dodge City, Garden City, Hays, Hutchinson, Liberal, or Salina.

Rail[change | change source]

Passenger Rail[change | change source]

The Southwest Chief Amtrak route goes through the state on its route from Chicago to Los Angeles. Stops in Kansas include Lawrence, Topeka, Newton, Hutchinson, Dodge City, and Garden City.[89] An Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach connects Newton and Wichita to the Heartland Flyer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[90] Amtrak may change the Southwest Chief route from using train service for the entire route. Plans call for shortening the route to Los Angeles to instead end in Albuquerque. Buses would replace the train on the route between Albuquerque and Dodge City, where train service east to Chicago would continue.[91]

Freight Rail[change | change source]

Kansas has four Class I railroads, Amtrak, BNSF, Kansas City Southern, and Union Pacific, as well as many shortline railroads.[92]

Law and government[change | change source]

State and local politics[change | change source]

Executive branch: The executive branch has the governor, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the secretary of state, the treasurer, and the insurance commissioner.

Legislative branch: The legislative branch is the Kansas Legislature. It is a bicameral legislature. It has the Kansas House of Representatives and the Kansas Senate. The House has 125 members, and the Senate has 40 members.

Judicial Branch: The judicial branch is headed by the Kansas Supreme Court. The Kansas Supreme Court has seven judges. If there is a spot open, the governor picks who to replace them.

State symbols

Political culture[change | change source]

Since the middle of the 20th century, Kansas has been socially conservative. In 1999 and 2005, the Board of Education voted to stop teaching evolution in schools.[93] In 2005, Kansas banned same-sex marriage. In 2006, Kansas made the lowest age to marry 15 years old.[94]

Kansas allowed women's suffrage in 1912. This was nearly a decade before the United States allowed it.[95]

National politics[change | change source]

Treemap of the popular vote by county, 2016 presidential election.

The state's current delegation to the Congress of the United States includes Republican Senators Pat Roberts of Dodge City and Jerry Moran of Manhattan; and Republican Representatives Roger Marshall of Great Bend (District 1), Steve Watkins (District 2), Ron Estes of Wichita (District 4), and Democratic Representative Sharice Davids (District 3).

Kansas has been strongly Republican. The Republican Party was very strong since Kansas became a state. This is because Republicans were very anti-slavery, and Kansas was also anti-slavery. Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the United States Senate since 1932.

Abilene has the childhood house of Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Two Republican presidential candidates, Alf Landon and Bob Dole, were also from Kansas.

Education[change | change source]

Primary and secondary schools are controlled by the Kansas State Department of Education. Public colleges and universities are controlled by the Kansas Board of Regents.

In 1999 and 2005, the Board of Education voted to teach intelligent design in science classes.[96] Both times, they changed their decision after the next election.

Culture[change | change source]

The Famous Rio Theatre in Overland Park

Music[change | change source]

The rock band Kansas was created Topeka. Many of the band's members are from there.

Joe Walsh, guitarist for the famous rock band the Eagles, was born in Wichita.

Danny Carey, drummer for the band Tool, was raised in Paola.

Singer Melissa Etheridge is from Leavenworth. Singer Martina McBride is from Sharon. Singer Janelle Monáe is from Kansas City.

In 1947, Kansas chose "Home on the Range" as their state song.[97]

Books[change | change source]

Kansas's most famous appearance in a book was as the home of Dorothy Gale. She is the main character in the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).

Movies[change | change source]

The Plaza Cinema in Ottawa, Kansas was built on May 22, 1907. It is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest operating movie theater in the world.[98][99]

Sports[change | change source]

Professional[change | change source]

Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City
Team Sport League City
Sporting Kansas City Soccer Major League Soccer Kansas City
Swope Park Rangers Soccer United Soccer League Overland Park
Kansas City T-Bones Baseball American Association Kansas City
Garden City Wind Baseball Pecos League Garden City
Kaw Valley FC Soccer USL Lawrence, Kansas and Topeka, Kansas
Salina Liberty Indoor Football Champions Indoor Football Salina
Wichita Thunder Ice hockey ECHL Wichita
Wichita Force Indoor Football Champions Indoor Football Wichita
Wichita Wingnuts Baseball American Association Wichita

College[change | change source]

The group that governs college sports in the United States is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Their headquarters were in Johnson County, Kansas from 1952 until moving to Indianapolis in 1999.[102][103]

State symbols[change | change source]

The state symbols of Kansas are:[104][105]

Symbol State symbol Photograph Date adopted Notes
State flower Native Sunflower
A flower with yellow petals and a brown center against a blue background
1903
"...[The sunflower is] the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future".[106]
State bird Western Meadowlark
A grey bird with short black streaks and a yellow breast
1937
Students elected the western meadowlark as the state bird in a poll conducted by the Kansas Aubudon Society in 1923.[107]
State tree Cottonwood
A tree with branches and leaves, with a large branch to the left, a branch to the center, and one to the right
1937
"The cottonwood tree can rightfully be called "the pioneer tree of Kansas"".[106]
State song Home on the Range Home on the Range, performed by James Richardson in 1939
1947
State animal The American Buffalo
A black-and-white illustration of a buffalo
1955
The American Buffalo provided Kansan Native Americans with meat, rope, rawhide, and other materials for everyday life.[108]

Famous people[change | change source]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

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Book sources[change | change source]

  • Winans, George Wesley (1902). Kansas. The Macmillan Company. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  • Larned, J.N. (1894). history for ready reference. Retrieved January 12, 2011.

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Ingalls, John James (1892). Harper's magazine, Volume 86. Harper's Magazine Co. Retrieved January 15, 2011.

Other websites[change | change source]

Maps