Kansas History - the history of Kansas
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Kansas   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Kansas History

   
 

Kansas History


The first Native American peoples arrived in what is today the state Kansas, approximately 9,000 years ago. Initially these people were hunter-gatherers, but around 3,000 years some converted to a largely settled agricultural lifestyle and developed permanent dwellings in larger settlements.

In 1541, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado visited the region. During this expedition, the horse was introduced to the Plains Indian, and this greatly altered their lifestyle and range. The Kansa and Osage peoples arrived in Kansas during the 17th century. Other Native American peoples who inhabited present-day Kansas included the Pawnees and the Otoe tribe of the Sioux.

In 1724, the French visited the Kansas river and established a trading post near the mouth of the river. At this time, the territory was part of the area claimed as New France. Kansas became an unorganized territory of the United States following the 1803 Louisana Purchase from France.

In 1806, the Zebulon Pike explored the area, and labelled it as the "Great American Desert". As a result, in the 1820s, the federal government "permanently" set aside the region as Indian territory and closed it to white settlement. Between the 1820s and 1840s, the federal government moved many Native American tribes into the region. Despite the prohibition on white settlement, the Santa Fe trail passed through Kansas, US Army forts were established inside the territory (starting with Fort Leavenworth in 1827), and by the 1850s, many white Americans were illegally squatting in the area and calling for the entire territory to be opened for settlement.

In the 1850s, white settlers began to push for territorial government, and by 1853, Congress had decided that eastern Kansas should be open to settlement. The treaties with Native Americans were renegotiated, and the U.S. Government regained nearly all the land that it had ceded to them "forever" only a few years before. The Indians were then largely relocated to Oklahoma.

In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act became law, and established the Nebraska and Kansas Territories. A controversial provision of the Act was that settlers in the territories would decide for themselves whether to allow slavery within the borders ("popular sovereignty"), rather than following the earlier Missouri Compromise which banned slavery North of 36°30'. The Kansas-Nebraska Act led to violence and chaos in Kansas with fighting between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers, and four different competing constitutions for Kansas, earning the territory the nickname of "Bleeding Kansas". Eventually, Kansas was admitted as the 34th state of the Union on January 29th, 1861 as a free state.

During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), most Kansans strongly favored the Union. More than 20,000 men were enlisted from the state, a remarkable number considering the state had only 30,000 men of military age. These forces suffered over 8,500 casualties during the war. During the war, many guerilla raids and atrocities took place in the state, the worst of which occured at Lawrence which destroyed much of the city include the massacre of about 200 men and boys. The biggest battle in the state was the Battle of Mine Creek which involved around 25,000 men.

The 1860s also saw the Indian Wars in Kansas and Nebraska, between Cheyennes and Araphoes on one side, and white settlers and the US Army on the other. The worst incident was the massacre of a band of friendly Indians at Sand Creek near Fort Lyon, who were on their own reservation and had been ordered there as a place of safety.

Following the Civil War, many former slaves, known as "Exodusters", moved to Kansas, which was known as the land of John Brown. These Exodusters founded the town of Nicodemus.

Kansas led the way in the prohibition movement: On February 19th 1881, Kansas was the first US state to ban all alcoholic beverages.

Kansas contributed troops to guard the US-Mexico border during the Mexican Revolution (1916), and over 80,000 troops to the US military after the US entry into World War I in 1917.

After World I, there were several legal battles between the state of Kansas and the Ku Klux Klan, which eventually resulted from their explusion from the state. The region also suffered during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and many farmers left the state as a result.

In 1954, Kansas was at the center of controversy in the court case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka which concerned the Monroe Elementary School, one of four segregated elementary schools in Topeka. The US Supreme Court eventually ruled 9-0 that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" reversing the precedent set by the Court's previous (1899) decision in Cumming v. Richmond County Board of Education.


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Kansas: The History of the Sunflower State, 1854-2000

By Craig Miner

Brand: University Press of Kansas
Paperback (528 pages)

Kansas: The History of the Sunflower State, 1854-2000
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Kansas is not only the Sunflower State, it's the very heart of America's heartland. It is a place of extremes in politics as well as climate, where ambitious and energetic people have attempted to put ideals into practice-a state that has come a long way since being identified primarily with John Brown and his exploits.

Craig Miner has written a complete and balanced history of Kansas, capturing the state's colorful past and dynamic present as he depicts the persistence of contrasting images of and attitudes toward the state throughout its 150 years. A work combining serious scholarship with great readability, it encompasses everything from the Kansas-Nebraska Act to the evolution-creationism controversy, emphasizing the historical moments that were pivotal in forming the culture of the state and the diverse group of people who have contributed to its history.

Kansas: The History of the Sunflower State is the first new state history to appear in over twenty-five years and the most thoroughly researched ever published. Written to enlighten general readers within and well beyond the state's borders, it offers coverage not found in previous histories: greater attention to its cities-notably Wichita-and to its south central and western regions, accounts of business history, contributions of women and minorities, and environmental concerns. It presents the dark as well as the bright side of Kansas progressivism and is the first Kansas history to deal with the post-World War II era in any significant detail.

Craig Miner has spent almost forty years researching, teaching, and writing Kansas history and has dug deeply into primary sources-especially gubernatorial papers-that shed new light on the state. That research has enabled him to assemble a wider cast of characters and more entertaining collection of quotations than found in earlier histories and to better show how individual initiative and entrepreneurial aspirations have profoundly influenced the creation of present-day Kansas.

Ranging from the days of cattle and railroads to the era of oil and agribusiness, this history situates the state in its own terms rather than as a sidebar to a larger American epic. Miner brings to its pages an identifiable Kansas character to preserve what is distinctive about the state's identity for future generations, echoing what one Kansan said over half a century ago: "Kansas is simply Kansas. May she never be tempted to become anything else."

It Happened in Kansas: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened In Series)

By Sarah Smarsh

Brand: Globe Pequot
Released: 2010-08-17
Paperback (160 pages)

It Happened in Kansas: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened In Series)
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It Happened in Kansas features over 25 chapters in Kansas history. Lively and entertaining, this book brings the varied and fascinating history of the Sunflower State to life.

Handy Kansas Genealogy Handbook: All You Need to Find Genealogy Resources for Kansas

By Gary L. Morris

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (38 pages)

Handy Kansas Genealogy Handbook: All You Need to Find Genealogy Resources for Kansas
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This Genealogy Handbook contains Internet Links, Physical Addresses, Email Addresses, Telephone Numbers, and Lists the Record Holdings of Every Important Archive and Organization in Kansas. In short, it contains everything you'll need to find Kansas Genealogy Records. What's more, ALL OF THE RESOURCES LISTED ARE FREE! Additionally, it's easy to transport and you can take it with you when visiting archives, libraries, or any other place where you're conducting genealogy research.

A history of Kansas

By Anna Estelle Arnold

RareBooksClub.com
Paperback (54 pages)

A history of Kansas
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1914 edition. Excerpt: ...could little more than equal waste and loss. The population of Kansas numbered about 100,000 at the beginning of the war, and about 136,000 at the close. There had been little improvement in the manner of living during the four years. SUMMARY The Civil War began within three months after Kansas became a state. Although Kansas had had no opportunity to recover from the Territorial struggle, it took an active part in the war. General Price threatened to invade Kansas with a large Confederate force, but did not succeed. The Indians committed depredations on the western frontier. The worst feature of the war was the border trouble, of which the Quantrill raid was the climax. During the four years of the Civil War Kansas did not make a large gain in population or in progress. REFERENCES Andreas, History of Kansas, pp. 179-215. Blackmar, Life of Robinson. Crawford, Kansas in the Sixties. Cordley, History of Lawrence. Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars. Historical Collections, vol. vm, pp. 271, 352; vol. ix, pp. 430, 455; vol. XI, p. 217; vol. v, p. 116; vol. VI, pp. 305, 317. Prentis, History of Kansas, pp. 143-168. Spring, Kansas, chap. xm. QUESTIONS 1. When did the Civil War begin? How long was this after Kansas had become a state? 2. What part did Kansas take in the war? Explain. 3. What were the three classes of danger to which Kansas was exposed? Discuss each. 4. To which of these does the Price campaign belong? 5. Who was General Price? Give an account of his threatened invasion of Kansas. 6. Who was Quantrill? Give an account of his raid on Lawrence. 7. How long did the Civil War last? 8. How long had it been since Kansas was opened for settlement? What progress had been made? 9. What was the population of kKansas in 1865? It has...

Miracle Moments in Kansas City Royals History: The Turning Points, the Memorable Games, the Incredible Records

By Jeff Deters

Deters Jeff
Hardcover (184 pages)

Miracle Moments in Kansas City Royals History: The Turning Points, the Memorable Games, the Incredible Records
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Since their founding in 1969, the Kansas City Royals have provided memorable moments to generations of fans in America’s heartland and beyond.

Miracle Moments in Kansas City Royals History is the ultimate tribute book for die-hard fans of the team from the City of Fountains. Jeff Deters recounts the most memorable moments in Royals history, including:

Steve Busby’s throwing two no-hitters in each of his first two season, a first for a big-leaguer;
George Brett’s hitting .333 to win his first batting title while leading the Royals to the AL West championship in 1976;
Brett’s second batting title in 1980 as he just misses batting .400 for the season;
Dick Howser’s firing by the Yankees and revenge five years later as he manages the Royals to a championship in 1985;
Bo Jackson’s electrifying but brief career as a Royal while starring for the Los Angeles Raiders;
The Royals’ sweep of the Orioles in the 2014 ALCS to return to the World Series in 29 years;
The magnificent 2015 season capped by a World Championship.

Miracle Moments in Kansas City Royals History is much more than just a comprehensive resource. It recounts the hidden stories behind one of the most successful franchises in baseball..

The Mafia and the Machine: The Story of the Kansas City Mob

By Frank Hayde

Frank Hayde
Paperback (240 pages)

The Mafia and the Machine: The Story of the Kansas City Mob
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  • The Mafia and the Machine The Story of the Kansas City Mob
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The story of the American Mafia is not complete without a chapter on Kansas City. The City of Fountains has appeared in the The Godfather, Casino, and The Sopranos, but many Midwesterners are not aware that Kansas City has affected the fortunes of the entire underworld. In The Mafia and the Machine, author Frank Hayde ties in every major name in organized crime-Luciano, Bugsy, Lansky-as well as the city's corrupt police force.

Kansas Fishes

By Kansas Fishes Committee

University Press of Kansas
Hardcover (542 pages)

Kansas Fishes
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A guide and a first-rate reference for the angler, scientist, and amateur naturalist alike, this comprehensive volume profiles each of the 144 fish species inhabiting the waterways of Kansas—as well as 27 others that might make their way to the state from nearby river basins.

With 121 maps and 184 full-color drawings by Joseph Tomelleri, arguably the best illustrator of North American fishes, Kansas Fishes is an incomparable resource. For each species, the authors, an all-star cast of regional biologists, provide information about fundamental natural history, anatomy, and physiology, along with in-state distributions, habitats, characteristics, and pertinent issues of conservation and ecology. With these experts authoring detailed accounts of the species they know best, this is a uniquely authoritative account of the region's fishes. As such, it will prove useful to students and professionals while providing the passionate amateur and the simply curious an entry into the fascinating world of the fishes of Kansas and nearby states.

The Kansas Fishes Committee members represent each of the six state universities (Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Kansas State, Pittsburg State, and Wichita State Universities, and the University of Kansas), as well as the Kansas Biological Survey, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism—the people responsible for studying, protecting, and educating people about the fishes and waters of Kansas. In addition to the committee, nearly 50 biologists from the United States and Canada volunteered to contribute species accounts to the book based on their expertise with those species in Kansas and nearby states. These individuals work for a variety of universities, federal and state agencies, and private companies, making this book a broad collaboration of experts on the fish species of Kansas.

John Brown to Bob Dole: Movers and Shakers in Kansas History

By Virgil W Dean

Brand: Univ Pr of Kansas
Paperback (408 pages)

John Brown to Bob Dole: Movers and Shakers in Kansas History
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Presents portraits of twenty-seven notable men and women, including radical abolitionist John Brown; wheat king Theodore C Henry; women's rights activist Clarina Nichols; William Allen White, the Sage of Emporia; President Dwight D Eisenhower; Esther Brown, who challenged segregation in public schools; political icon Bob Dole; and, Gordon Parks.

The Last Wild Places of Kansas: Journeys into Hidden Landscapes

By George Frazier

University Press of Kansas
Released: 2017-02-10
Paperback (232 pages)

The Last Wild Places of Kansas: Journeys into Hidden Landscapes
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Winner of the Midwest Book Award, Kansas Notable Book Award, Hamlin Garland Prize, and the Ferguson Book Award

Since the last wild bison found refuge on the back of a nickel, the public image of natural Kansas has progressed from Great American Desert to dust bowl to flyover country that has been landscaped, fenced, and farmed. But look a little harder, George Frazier suggests, and you can find the last places where tenacious stretches of prairie, forest, and wetland cheat death and incubate the DNA of lost, wild America. Documenting three years spent roaming the state in search of these hidden treasures, The Last Wild Places of Kansas is Frazier's idiosyncratic and eye-opening travelogue of nature's secret holdouts in the Sunflower State.

These are places where extirpated mammalian species are making comebacks; where flying squirrels leap between centuries-old trees lit by the unearthly green glow of foxfire; where cold springs feed ancient watercress pools; where the ice moon paints the Smoky Hill with memories of the buffalo wolf and the lonesome rattle of false indigo; where the blue lid of the sky forms a vacuum seal over treeless pastel hills, orange in winter; where bluestem rises. Some are impossible to find on maps. Most are magnificently bereft of anything beneficial to 99.9 percent of modern America. True wildernesses they may not be, but at the correct angle of light, when the wind blows pollen carrying biological memories of the glaciers, these places are a crack between the worlds, portals to the lost buffalo wilderness.

En route Frazier takes us from the unexpected wilds of the Kansas City suburbs to the Cimarron National Grassland in the far southwestern corner of the state. He visits ancient springs, shares a beer with prairie dog hunters, and fails in his mission to canoe the upper Marais des Cygnes--a trip that requires permission from every landowner on the route. Along the way we encounter a host of curious characters--ranchers, farmers, Native Americans, explorers, wildlife experts, and outdoor enthusiasts--all fellow travelers in a quest to know, preserve, and share the last wild places of Kansas.

Ghost Towns of Kansas: A Traveler's Guide

By Daniel C. Fitzgerald

Brand: University Press of Kansas
Paperback (368 pages)

Ghost Towns of Kansas: A Traveler s Guide
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As soon as the Kansas Territory was opened for settlement in 1854, towns sprang up like mushrooms—first along the Missouri border, then steadily westward along trail routes, rivers, and railroad lines. Many of them barely got beyond the drawing board and hundreds of them flowered briefly and died, victims of the "boom or bust" economy of the frontier and the vagaries of weather, finance, mining, agriculture, railroad construction, and politics.

Ghost Towns of Kansas is a practical guide to these forsaken settlements and a chronicle of their role in the history of Kansas. It focuses on 100 towns that have either disappeared without a trace or are only "a shadowy remnant of what they once were," telling the story of each town's settlement, politics, colorful figures and legends, and eventual abandonment or decline.

The culmination of more than ten years of research, this new book is a distillation of the author's immensely popular three-volume work on the state's ghost towns, now out of print. Condensed and redesigned as a traveler's guide, it is organized by region and features ten maps and detailed instructions for finding each site. Twenty of the towns included are discussed for the first time in this volume. The book also contains more than 100 black-and-white photographs of town scenes.

With this new guide in hand, travelers and armchair adventurers alike can journey back to the Kansas frontier—to places like Octagon City, where settlers signed a pledge not to consume liquor, tobacco, or "the flesh of animals" in order to purchase land at $1.25 per acre from the Vegetarian Settlement Company. Or to Sheridan, a tough, end-of-the-line railroad town where, according to the Kansas Commonwealth, "the scum of creation have congregated and assumed control of municipal and social affairs." At least thirty men were hanged and a hundred killed either in gunfights or by Indians during Sheridan's tumultuous two-year life span. Today the only remainder of Octagon City is a stream named Vegetarian Creek, and "wild and woolly" Sheridan is again a pasture.


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