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The Midwest > Kansas

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Summary:

On the great central plain of the U.S., Kansas rolls from the hills of the Ozarks in the south-east to a nearly flat prairie land rising gently through farms and fields until it meets the border of Colorado. Often called 'The Central State,' within its borders lie both the geographic center of the contiguous U.S. states and the geodetic center of North America. First visited by Europeans in 1541, it was not until 1682 that Kansas was claimed for France and given its name, a word from the local Native American tribes meaning 'south wind'. The early history of Kansas leading up to the U.S. Civil War was rife with blood-shed. When it became clear that the establishment of Kansas as a state could swing the balance of power between Free and Slave states, Pro-slavery representatives and their opposition began flooding the state. Raids by both against each other crossed the border into Missouri and earned Kansas its first nickname: Bloody Kansas. Pro-slavery forces were unsuccessful and Kansas entered the union as a free state on January 29, 1861. The memory of this time is echoed in the mascot of the University of Kansas at Lawrence: the Jayhawk. Jayhawkers was the name given to Kansas forces at that time.

Background:

Demographically, some 25.9% of people from Kansas claim German ancestry. In 1990, the African-American population in the state stood at about 5.7%, while the Hispanic population was roughly 3.8%. 2005 estimates have shown that Hispanics make up about 8.2% of the population, while the African-American population has stayed roughly the same. Kansas has long had a reputation for progressive legislation. While not the first state to allow women to vote it was the first state to elect a woman mayor (Argonia, KS, 1887). Other firsts include the institution of a system for worker’s compensation in 1910 and the abolishment of the 'separate but equal' standard for racial segregated schools. The Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka trial banned racially segregated schools throughout the U.S. Over the last 40 years the barometer has swung more to the conservative side of things. A Democratic presidential candidate has not won the state since 1964. In 2004, George W. Bush won the state’s 6 electoral votes with a whopping 62 percent of the vote, 25 percent over his opponent.

Borders:

Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado

Population:

2,744,687

GDP per capita:

$36,102.48 per capita

Capital with population:

Topeka - 122,377

Largest city with population:

Wichita - 353,823


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COMPARE Kansas TO THESE COUNTRIES:

Maps of Kansas

Fort Scott National Historic Site [Kansas]
Fort Scott National Historic Site [Kansas]
Kansas (base map)
Kansas (base map)
Wichita, Kansas 1920
Wichita, Kansas 1920
Dodge City, Kansas 1920
Dodge City, Kansas 1920
(View 7 more maps)
 
 

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10th May 2007
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