Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado, in 1541, is considered the first
European to have traveled this region. Sieur de la Salle's extensive land
claims for France (1682) included present-day Kansas. Ceded to Spain by
France in 1763, the territory reverted to France in 1800 and was sold
to the U.S. as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, and Stephen H. Long explored the region
between 1803 and 1819. The first permanent white settlements in Kansas
were outpostsFort Leavenworth (1827), Fort Scott (1842), and Fort
Riley (1853)established to protect travelers along the Santa Fe
and Oregon Trails.
Just before the Civil War, the conflict between the pro- and anti-slavery
forces earned the region the grim title of Bleeding Kansas. Kansas was
granted statehood in 1861, becoming the 34th state in the US. Now with
a population of nearly 3,000,000, Kansas is known as the Sunflower State,
Wheat State, and the Jayhawker State.
Points of interest include the Kansas History Center at Topeka, the Eisenhower
boyhood home and the Eisenhower Memorial Museum and Presidential Library
at Abilene, John Brown's cabin at Osawatomie, re-created Front Street
in Dodge City, Fort Larned (an important military post on the Santa Fe
Trail), Fort Leavenworth, and Fort Riley.
For an in-depth look at Kansas history visit this website, painstakingly
created by Baxter Springs Middle School students and their instructors:
Standard History of Kansas and Kansans .