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Kansas ( ) is a state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas Rivermarker which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa tribe, who inhabited the area. The tribe's name (natively kką:ze) is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south wind," although this was probably not the term's original meaning. Residents of Kansas are called "Kansans."

Historically, the area was home to large numbers of nomadic Native Americans who hunted bison. It was first settled by European Americans in the 1830s, but the pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery issue. When officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854, abolitionist Free-Staters from New Englandmarker and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missourimarker rushed to the territory to determine if 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 eventually prevailed and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. After the Civil War, the population of Kansas exploded when waves of immigrants turned the prairie into productive farmland. Today, Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states, producing many crops, and leading the nation in wheat, sorghum and sunflower production most years.


Kansas is bordered by Nebraskamarker on the north; Missourimarker on the east; Oklahomamarker on the south; and Coloradomarker on the west. The state is divided into 105 counties with 628 cities, and is located equidistant from the Pacificmarker and Atlanticmarker oceans. The geographic center of the 48 contiguous statesmarker is located in Smith County near Lebanonmarker. The geodetic center of North America was located in Osborne County until 1983. This spot was used until that date as the central reference point for all maps of North America produced by the U.S. government. The geographic center of Kansas is located in Barton County.


Kansas is underlain by a sequence of horizontal to gently westward dipping sedimentary rocks. A sequence of Mississippian, Pennsylvanian and Permian rocks underlie the eastern and southern part of the state. The western half of the state consists of Cretacous through Tertiary sediments derived from the erosion of the uplifted Rocky Mountains to the west. The northeastern corner of the state was subjected to glaciation in the Pleistocene and is covered by glacial drift and loess.


The western two-thirds of the state, lying in the great central plainmarker of the United States, has a generally flat or undulating surface, while the eastern third has many hills and forests. The land gradually rises from east to west; its altitude ranges from along the Verdigris River at Coffeyvillemarker in Montgomery County, to at Mount Sunflowermarker, one half mile from the Colorado border, in Wallace County. It is a popular belief that Kansas is the flattest state in the nation, reinforced by a well-known 2003 study stating that Kansas was indeed "flatter than a pancake". This has since been debunked, with most scientists ranking Kansas somewhere between 20th and 30th flattest state, depending on measurement method.


The Missouri Rivermarker forms nearly of the state's northeastern boundary. The Kansas Rivermarker (locally known as the Kaw), formed by the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republicanmarker rivers at appropriately-named Junction Citymarker, joins the Missouri at Kansas Citymarker, after a course of across the northeastern part of the state. The Arkansas Rivermarker (pronunciation varies), rising in Coloradomarker, flows with a bending course for nearly across the western and southern parts of the state. It forms, with its tributaries (the Little Arkansas, Ninnescah, Walnut, Cow Creek, Cimarronmarker, Verdigris, and the Neosho), the southern drainage system of the state. Other important rivers are the Saline and Solomon Rivers, tributaries of the Smoky Hill River; the Big Blue, Delaware, and Wakarusa, which flow into the Kansas River; and the Marais des Cygnes, a tributary of the Missouri River.

National parks and historic sites

Areas under the protection of the National Park Service include:


Clouds in northeastern Kansas
Kansas contains three climate types, according to the Köppen climate classification: humid continental, semiarid steppe, and humid subtropical. The eastern two-thirds of the state has a humid continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. Most of the precipitation falls in the summer and spring. The western third of the state has a semiarid steppe climate. Summers are hot, often very hot. Winters are cold in the northwest and cool to mild in the southwest. Also, the western region is semiarid, receiving an average of only about 16 inches (40 cm) of precipitation per year. Chinook winds in the winter can warm western Kansas all the way into the 80°F (25°C) range. The far south-central and southeastern reaches of the state have a humid subtropical climate, hot summers, mild winters and more precipitation than the rest of the state.

Precipitation ranges from about 46 inches (1200 mm) annually in the southeast of the state, to about 16 inches (400 mm) in the southwest. Snowfall ranges from around 5 inches (130 mm) in the fringes of the south, to 35 inches (900 mm) in the far northwest. Frost-free days range from more than 200 days in the south, to 130 days in the northwest. Thus, Kansas is the 9th or 10th sunniest state in the country, depending on the source. Western Kansas is as sunny as parts of California and Arizona.

In spite of the frequent sunshine throughout much of the state, the state is also vulnerable to strong thunderstorms, especially in the spring. Many of these storms become Supercell thunderstorms. These can spawn tornadoes, often of F3 strength or higher. According to statistics from the National Climatic Data Center, Kansas has reported more tornadoes (for the period 1 January 1950 through to 31 October 2006) than any state except for Texasmarker - marginally even more than Oklahomamarker. It has also - along with Alabamamarker - reported more F5 tornadoes than any other state. These are the most powerful of all tornadoes. Kansas averages over 50 tornadoes annually.

According to NOAA, the all time highest temperature recorded in Kansas is 121°F (49.4°C) on July 24, 1936, near Alton, and the all time low is -40°F (-40°C) on February 13, 1905, near Lebanon.

Kansas' all time record high of 121°F (49.4°C) ties with North Dakotamarker for the fifth-highest all-time record high recorded in a state, behind Californiamarker (134°F/56.7°C), Arizonamarker (128°F/53.3°C), Nevadamarker (125°F/51.7°C), and New Mexicomarker (122°F/50°C).

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


For millennia, the land that is presently Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans. The first European to set foot in present-day Kansas was Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who explored the area in 1541.

In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. From 1812 to 1821, this larger portion of Kansas was part of the Missouri Territory.

The jurisdictional history of southwest Kansas, specifically the area west of the 103rd meridian and south of the Arkansas River, is more complicated.

Prior to the Louisiana Purchase Francemarker and Spainmarker had disputed jurisdiction over a wide area of North America, a small part of which included territory now in Southwest Kansas. With the Louisiana Purchase the United States assumed the position of France in that dispute. The Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819, negotiated between the American Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and the Spanish Foreign Minister Luis de Onis Gonzalez Vara, completely resolved at least that portion of the dispute which concerned these disputed lands, including what is now southwest Kansas. Under the Adams-Onis Treaty all of the territory in North America which earlier had been the subject of dispute between Spain and France was conceded to Spain by the United States. In turn, under the terms of the Adams-Onis Treaty Spain awarded Florida to the United States. The Florida which the United States received from Spain included not only the territory of the present State of Floridamarker, but also a coastal strip now located in southern Alabamamarker, southern Mississippimarker, and south-eastern Louisianamarker.

When Mexicomarker achieved independence from Spain in 1821, the area of what is now southwestern Kansas that had been ceded to Spain under the Adams-Onis Treaty fell under Mexican rule. It became a small part of the contemporaneous Mexican State of Coahila y Tejas.

In 1836 a portion of Coahila y Tejas seceded from Mexico and became the Republic of Texas. Although Mexico was forced de facto to recognize the independence of the Republic of Texas in 1836, the western boundary of the Republic of Texas remained in dispute. A small portion of the area in dispute between Mexico and the Republic of Texas is now southwestern Kansas. Under the "Treaties of Velasco," signed by General Antonio de Santa Ana on behalf of Mexico, this disputed area was recognized as part of the Republic of Texas. However, Mexico did not ratify the "Treaties of Velasco" on the ground that at the time of signing Santa Ana was not the President. (Indeed, only the American government had ever referred to these documents, one public and one secret, as treaties, and then only 10 years later by President Polk when justifying war with Mexico.) The Republic of Texas was annexed to the United States and simultaneously admitted into the Union as the 28th State on December 29, 1845. The large area which the Treaties of Velasco recognized as being part of the Republic of Texas all remained within the State of Texasmarker at this time.

The admission of Texas into the American Union as a State resulted in the rupture of diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States. The territorial dispute ultimately led to the Mexican-American War. The conclusion of that war was formalized on February 2, 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. One provision of that treaty established the western boundary of Texas as being in accordance with the Treaties of Velasco. Thus, with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Mexico was removed as a contender for the large territory under consideration, a small part of which is now Southeastern Kansas. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo also transferred a large area, which has become called the Mexican Cession of 1848 and includes present-day Californiamarker, Nevadamarker, and Utahmarker, all of present-day Arizonamarker except for a strip along the southern border, western New Mexicomarker (except for a strip along the southern border), that portion of present-day Coloradomarker that is west of the crest of the Rocky Mountains, and a part of present-day Wyomingmarker, to the United States. The Mexican Cession is distinct and separate from the clarification of the boundaries of the former Republic of Texas. However, the fate of the area that became southwestern Kansas was not part of the Mexican Cession but was affected only by the resolution of the boundary between Mexico and the former Republic of Texas.)

The Compromise of 1850 was a series of five laws attempting to strike a political balance between pro- and anti-slavery interests. One of those laws, enacted September 9, 1850 drastically adjusted the borders of the State of Texas. Texas transferred a large amount of its area to the federal government in trade for $10,000,000 "stock," redeemable in 14 years and bearing 5% interest. The area stripped away from the State of Texas was divided into three portions. Part of this area was assigned to a newly organized Territory of New Mexico and another part was assigned to a newly organized Territory of Utah. However, the third part remained unorganized territory of the United States. (The formal territories had their own local governments, whereas the unorganized territories were ruled from Washington and/or by the military. The then-unorganized territory derived from Texas included southwestern Kansas, the Panhandle of present-day Oklahomamarker, portion of eastern Colorado, and a small part of southern Wyoming.

The Santa Fe Trail traversed Kansas from 1821 to 1880, transporting manufactured goods from [Missouri and silver and furs from Santa Fe, New Mexicomarker. Wagon ruts from the trail are still visible in the prairie today.

In 1827, Fort Leavenworthmarker became the first permanent settlement of white Americans in the future state. The Kansas-Nebraska Act became law on May 30, 1854, establishing the U.S. territories of Nebraskamarker and Kansas, and opening the area to broader settlement by whites. Kansas Territory stretched all the way to the Continental Divide and included the sites of present-day Denvermarker, Colorado Springsmarker, and Pueblomarker.
Missouri and Arkansasmarker sent settlers into Kansas all along its eastern border. These settlers attempted to sway votes in favor of slavery. The secondary settlement of Americans in Kansas Territory were abolitionists from Massachusettsmarker and other Free-Staters, who attempted to stop the spread of slavery from neighboring Missouri. Directly presaging the American Civil War, these forces collided, entering into skirmishes that earned the territory the name of Bleeding Kansas. Kansas was admitted to the United States as a free state on January 29, 1861, making it the 34th state to enter the Union. By that time the violence in Kansas had largely subsided. However, during the Civil War, on August 21, 1863, William Quantrill led several hundred men on a raid into Lawrence, destroying much of the city and killing nearly two hundred people. Until the 1995 Oklahoma City bombingmarker, Quantrill's raid was the single bloodiest act of domestic terrorism in America. He was roundly condemned by both the conventional confederate military and the partisan rangers commissioned by the Missouri legislature. His application to that body for a commission was flatly rejected due to his pre war criminal record (see Jones, Gray Ghosts and Rebel Riders Holt & Co. 1956, p. 76).

After the Civil War, many veterans constructed homesteads in Kansas. Many African Americans also looked to Kansas as the land of "John Brown," and led by men like Benjamin "Pap" Singleton began establishing black colonies in the state. At the same time, the Chisholm Trail was opened and the Wild West era commenced in Kansas. Wild Bill Hickok was a deputy marshal at Fort Rileymarker and a marshal at Haysmarker and Abilenemarker. Dodge Citymarker was another wild cowboy town, and both Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp worked as lawmen in the town. In one year alone, 8 million head of cattle from Texas boarded trains in Dodge City bound for the East, earning Dodge the nickname "Queen of the Cowtowns."

In part as a response to the violence perpetrated by cowboys, on February 19, 1881 Kansas became the first U.S. state to adopt a Constitutional amendment prohibiting all alcoholic beverages.


As of 2007, Kansas has an estimated population of 2,775,997, which is an increase of 20,180, or 0.7%, from the prior year and an increase of 87,579, or 3.3%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 93,899 people (that is 246,484 births minus 152,585 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 20,742 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 44,847 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 65,589 people. The population density of the state is 52.9 people per square mile. The center of population of Kansas is located in Chase County, at , approximately three miles north of the community of Strong Citymarker.

As of 2004, the population included 149,800 foreign-born (5.5% of the state population). The largest reported ancestries in the state are: German (25.9%), Irish (11.5%), English (10.8%), American (8.8%), French (3.1%), and Swedish (2.4%). People of German ancestry are especially strong in the northwest, while those of British ancestry and descendants of white Americans from other states are especially strong in the southeast. Mexicans are present in the southwest and make up nearly half the population in certain counties. Many African Americans in Kansas are descended from the Exodusters, newly freed blacks who fled the South for land in Kansas following the Civil War.

See Also British American and German-American


According to a 2008 attitudes survey the religious makeup of Kansas was as follows:

Christian 86%

Non-religious 9%

Jewish 2%

Other 2%

Though small, the Kansas Baha'i community has the distinction of being the second in the western hemisphere, founded in 1897 in Enterprise, Kansas.

Rural flight

Kansas is one of the slowest-growing states in the nation. Known as a rural flight, the last few decades have been marked by a migratory pattern out of the countryside into cities.

Out of all the cities in these Midwestern states, 89% have fewer than 3000 people, and hundreds of those have fewer than 1000. In Kansas alone, there are more than 6,000 ghost towns, according to one Kansas historian.

At the same time, some of the communities in Johnson County (metropolitan Kansas City) are among the fastest growing in the country.


The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total GDP in 2008 was $122.7 billion, making its United States's 32nd highest state by GDP. Per capita personal income in 2008 was $35013. The December 2003 unemployment rate was 4.9%. The agricultural outputs of the state are cattle, sheep, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, cotton, hogs, corn, and salt. Eastern Kansas is part of the Grain Beltmarker, an area of major grain production in the central United States. The industrial outputs are transportation equipment, commercial and private aircraft, food processing, publishing, chemical products, machinery, apparel, petroleum and mining.

Kansas ranks 8th in U.S. oil production. Production has experienced a steady, natural decline as it becomes increasingly difficult to extract oil over time. Since oil prices bottomed in 1999, oil production in Kansas has remained fairly constant, with an average monthly rate of about in 2004. The recent higher prices have made carbon dioxide sequestration and other oil recovery techniques more economical.

Kansas ranks 8th in U.S. natural gas production. Production has steadily declined since the mid-1990s with the gradual depletion of the Hugoton Natural Gas Field—the state's largest field which extends into Oklahoma and Texas. In 2004, slower declines in the Hugoton gas fields and increased coalbed methane production contributed to a smaller overall decline. Average monthly production was over 32 billion cubic feet (0.9 km³).

Largest Employers (by number of Kansan employees)
Rank Business Employees Location
#1 Spirit AeroSystems 21,000 Wichitamarker
#2 Fort Rileymarker 12,500 Riley County
#3 Van Enterprises 6,000 Shawnee Mission
#4 University of Kansas Medical Centermarker 5,000 Kansas Citymarker
#5 Via Christi St. Joseph Hospital 5,000 Wichitamarker
#6 Olathe Medical Center 4,000 Olathemarker
#7 Via Christi St. Francis Hospital 3,300 Wichitamarker
#8 Kansas State Universitymarker 3,030 Manhattanmarker
#9 Examone World Wide 3,000 Lenexamarker
#10 Koch Industries 3,000 Wichitamarker
The Kansas economy is also heavily influenced by the aerospace industry. Several large aircraft corporations have manufacturing facilities in Wichita and Kansas City, including Boeing, Cessna, Learjet, and Hawker Beechcraft (formerly Raytheon).

Kansas has three income brackets for income tax calculation, ranging from 3.5% to 6.45%. The state sales tax in Kansas is 5.3%. Various cities and counties in Kansas have an additional local sales tax. Except during the 2001 recession (March–November 2001) when monthly sales tax collections were flat, collections have trended higher as the economy has grown and two rate increases have been enacted. Total sales tax collections for 2003 amounted to $1.63 billion, compared to $805.3 million in 1990.

Revenue shortfalls resulting from lower than expected tax collections and slower growth in personal income following a 1998 permanent tax reduction has contributed to the substantial growth in the state's debt level as bonded debt increased from $1.16 billion in 1998 to $3.83 billion in 2006. Some increase in debt was expected as the state continues with its 10-year Comprehensive Transportation Program enacted in 1999. As of June 2004, Moody's Investors Service ranked the state 14th for net tax-supported debt per capita. As a percentage of personal income, it was at 3.8%—above the median value of 2.5% for all rated states and having risen from a value of less than 1% in 1992. The state has a statutory requirement to maintain cash reserves of at least 7.5% of expenses at the end of each fiscal year, however, lawmakers can vote to override the rule, and did so during the most recent budget agreement.

Major company headquarters in Kansas include the Sprint Nextel Corporation (with world headquarters in Overland Parkmarker), Embarq (with national headquarters in Overland Parkmarker), YRC Corp Overland Parkmarker, Garmin in Olathemarker, Payless Shoes (National headquarters and major distribution facilities in Topeka), and Koch Industries (with national headquarters in Wichitamarker).


Map of the Kansas road system.
Kansas is served by two Interstate highways with one beltway, two spur routes, and three bypass, with over a total of in all. The first section of Interstate in the nation was opened on I-70 just west of Topekamarker on November 14, 1956. I-70 is a major east/west route connecting to St. Louismarker and Kansas City, Missourimarker, in the east and Denver, Coloradomarker, in the west. Cities along this route (from east to west) include Kansas Citymarker, Lawrencemarker, Topekamarker, Junction Citymarker, Salinamarker, Haysmarker, and Colbymarker. I-35 is a major north/south route connecting to Des Moines, Iowamarker, in the north and Oklahoma City, Oklahomamarker, in the south. Cities along this route (from north to south) include Kansas City (and suburbs), Ottawamarker, Emporiamarker, El Doradomarker, and Wichitamarker.

Spur routes serve as connections between the two major routes. I-135, a north/south route, connects I-70 at Salina to I-35 at Wichita. I-335, a northeast/southwest route, connects I-70 at Topeka to I-35 at Emporia. I-335 and portions of I-35 and I-70 make up the Kansas Turnpike. Bypasses include I-470 around Topeka and I-235 around Wichita. I-435 is a beltway around the Kansas City Metropolitan Areamarker while I-635 bypasses through Kansas City, Kansas.

US Route 69 runs north and south, from Minnesotamarker to Texasmarker. The highway passes through the eastern section of Kansas, from the Kansas Citymarker area, through Louisburg, Fort Scottmarker, Frontenacmarker, Pittsburgmarker, and Baxter Springsmarker before entering Oklahomamarker.

Kansas also has the second largest state highway system in the country after Californiamarker. This is because of the high number of counties and county seats (105) and the intertwining of them all.

In January 2004, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) announced the new Kansas 511 traveler information service. By dialing 511, callers will get access to information about road conditions, construction, closures, detours and weather conditions for the state highway system. Weather and road condition information is updated every 15 minutes. The elaborate and efficient transportation system in Kansas has attracted praise from experts nationwide, including the former Mayor of New York City, Ed Koch, who frequents Kansas roadways.

The state's only major commercial airport is Wichita Mid-Continent Airportmarker, located along US-54 on the western edge of the city. Most air travelers in eastern Kansas fly out of Kansas City International Airportmarker, located in Platte County, Missourimarker. For those in the far western part of the state, Denver International Airportmarker is a popular option. Manhattan Regional Airportmarker in Manhattanmarker will commence commercial flights to Dallas in August 2009, making it the second commercial airport of the state.Connecting flights are available from smaller airports in Dodge City, Garden City, Great Bend, Hays, and Salina. Forbes Fieldmarker in Topeka, Kansasmarker sustained commercial flights on Allegiant Air for many years until that service was terminated in 2007.

Law and government

State and local politics

The top executives of the state are Democratic Governor Mark Parkinson (as of April 28, 2009) and Lieutenant Governor Troy Findley. Both officials are elected on the same ticket to a maximum of two consecutive four-year terms. Parkinson replaced Kathleen Sebelius, who was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services by President Barack Obama. Parkinson will be eligible for election in his own right in 2010, although he has publicly stated his intention not to run for a full term. The state's Attorney General is Democrat Stephen Six, a former Douglas County District Court Judg who was appointed to the post.

The legislative branch of the state government is the Kansas Legislature. The bicameral body consists of the Kansas House of Representatives, with 125 members serving two-year terms, and the Kansas Senate, with 40 members serving four-year terms.

The judicial branch of the state government is headed by the Kansas Supreme Courtmarker. The court has seven judges, who are selected via the Missouri Plan.

Kansas has a reputation as a progressive state with many firsts in legislative initiatives—it was the first state to institute a system of workers' compensation (1910) and to regulate the securities industry (1911). Kansas also permitted women's suffrage in 1912, almost a decade before the federal constitution was amended to require it. Suffrage in all states would not be guaranteed until ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. The council-manager government was adopted by many larger Kansas cities in the years following World War I while many American cities were being run by political machines or organized crime, notably the Pendergast Machine in neighboring Kansas City, Missourimarker. Kansas was also at the center of Brown v. Board of Education of Topekamarker, a 1954 Supreme Court decision that banned racially segregated schools throughout the U.S.

Kansas was one of the few states in which Franklin D. Roosevelt had limited political support, winning Kansas only twice in his four campaigns. The state backed Republicans Wendell Willkie and Thomas E. Dewey in 1940 and 1944, respectively. Kansas also supported Dewey in 1948 despite the presence of incumbent president Harry S. Truman, who hailed from Independence, Missourimarker, approximately 15 miles east of the Kansas-Missouri state line.

Over the past four decades, Kansas has remained more socially conservative than many parts of the nation. The 1990s brought new restrictions on abortion, the defeat of prominent Democrats, including Dan Glickman, and the Kansas State Board of Education's 1999 decision to eliminate evolution from the state teaching standards, a decision that was later reversed. In 2005, voters accepted a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The next year, the state passed a law setting a minimum age for marriage at 15 years. In 2008, Governor Sebelius vetoed permits for the construction of new coal-fired energy plants in Kansas, saying: "We know that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. As an agricultural state, Kansas is particularly vulnerable. Therefore, reducing pollutants benefits our state not only in the short term – but also for generations of Kansans to come." However, shortly after Mark Parkinson became governor in 2009 upon Sebelius's resignation, Parkinson announced a compromise plan to allow construction of a coal-fired plant.

Federal politics

The state's current delegation to the Congress of the United States includes Republican Senators Sam Brownback of Topekamarker and Pat Roberts of Dodge Citymarker and Representatives Jerry Moran (R) of Haysmarker (District 1marker), Lynn Jenkins (R) of Topekamarker (District 2), Dennis Moore (D) of Lenexamarker (District 3), and Todd Tiahrt (R) of Goddardmarker (District 4).

Historically, Kansas has been strongly Republican, dating from the Antebellum age when the Republican Party was created out of the movement opposing the extension of slavery into Kansas Territory. Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since the 1932 election, when Franklin D. Roosevelt won his first term as President in the wake of the Great Depression. This is the longest Senate losing streak for either party in a single state. Senator Sam Brownback was a candidate for the Republican party nomination for President in 2008. Brownback has stated he will not be a candidate for re-election in 2010.

The only non-Republican presidential candidates Kansas has given its electoral vote to are Populist James Weaver and Democrats Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt (twice), and Lyndon Johnson. In 2004, George W. Bush won the state's six electoral votes by an overwhelming margin of 25 percentage points with 62% of the vote. The only two counties to support Democrat John Kerry in that election were Wyandotte, which contains Kansas Citymarker, and Douglas, home to the University of Kansas, located in Lawrencemarker. The 2008 election brought similar results as John McCain won the state with 57% of the votes. Douglas (64% Obama, 34% McCain), Wyandotte (70% Obama, 29% McCain), and Crawford County (49% Obama, 48% McCain) were the only counties in support of President Barack Obama.

State law

See also: Alcohol laws of Kansas
The legal drinking age in Kansas is 21. In lieu of the state retail sales tax, a 10% Liquor Drink Tax is collected for liquor consumed on the licensed premises and an 8% Liquor Enforcement Tax is collected on retail purchases. Although the sale of cereal malt beverage (also known as 3.2 beer) was legalized in 1937, the first post-Prohibition legalization of alcoholic liquor did not occur until the state's constitution was amended in 1948. The following year the Legislature enacted the Liquor Control Act which created a system of regulating, licensing, and taxing, and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) was created to enforce the act. The power to regulate cereal malt beverage remains with the cities and counties. Liquor-by-the-drink did not become legal until passage of an amendment to the state's constitution in 1986 and additional legislation the following year. As of November 2006, Kansas still has 29 dry counties and only 17 counties have passed liquor-by-the-drink with no food sales requirement. Today there are more than 2600 liquor and 4000 cereal malt beverage licensees in the state.

State agencies

The state's investigative branch is the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. The Kansas Corporation Commission regulates public utilities, common carriers, oil and gas production, telecommunications companies, and motor carriers. The Kansas Department of Agriculture regulates the supply of meat, milk and eggs among other agricultural goods and services. The Secretary of Agriculture is Adrian Polansky, who heads the department as well as operating Polansky farms.

Important cities and towns

Cities with population of at least 15,000
City Population* Growth rate** Metro area
1 Wichitamarker 366,046 0.49% Wichita
2 Overland Parkmarker 171,231 1.71% Kansas City, MOmarker-KS
3 Kansas Citymarker 142,562 -0.36% Kansas City
4 Topekamarker 123,446 0.00% Topeka
5 Olathemarker 119,993 3.48% Kansas City
6 Lawrencemarker 90,520 1.55% Lawrence
7 Shawneemarker 60,954 3.17% Kansas City
8 Manhattanmarker 52,284 1.79% Manhattan
9 Lenexamarker 46,822 2.00% Kansas City
10 Salinamarker 46,483 0.19%
11 Hutchinsonmarker 40,889 -0.28%
12 Leavenworthmarker 34,729 -0.26% Kansas City
13 Leawoodmarker 31,342 1.60% Kansas City
14 Garden Citymarker 28,557 -0.02%
15 Emporiamarker 26,380 -0.21%
16 Dodge Citymarker 25,689 0.21%
17 Derbymarker 22,517 2.85% Wichita
18 Prairie Villagemarker 22,072 -0.33% Kansas City
19 Junction Citymarker 20,671 1.16% Manhattan
20 Haysmarker 20,368 0.21%
21 Liberalmarker 20,074 0.24%
22 Pittsburgmarker 19,649 0.25%
23 Newtonmarker 18,133 0.26% Wichita
24 Gardnermarker 17,462 10.01% Kansas City
25 Great Bendmarker 15,564 0.18%
*Estimated as of July 1, 2008
**Estimated annual growth rate 2000–2008
‡Defined as a micropolitan area

Kansas has 627 incorporated cities. By state statute, cities are divided into three classes as determined by the population obtained "by any census of enumeration." A city of the third class has a population of less than 5,000, but cities reaching a population of more than 2,000 may be certified as a city of the second class. The second class is limited to cities with a population of less than 25,000, and upon reaching a population of more than 15,000, they may be certified as a city of the first class. First and second class cities are independent of any township and are not included within the township's territory.

Northeast Kansas

The northeastern portion of the state, extending from the Eastern border to Junction Citymarker and from the Nebraska border to south of Johnson County, has a rich history and is home to more than 1.5 million people in the Kansas City (Kansas portion), Lawrence,and Topeka metropolitan areas. In the Kansas City Metropolitan Areamarker, the cities of Johnson County have some of the fastest growing populations and highest median incomes in the state and the entire country. Overland Parkmarker, a young city incorporated in 1960, has the largest population and the largest land area in the county. It is home to Johnson County Community College, the state's largest community college, and the corporate campus of Sprint Nextel, the largest private employer in the metro area. In 2006 the city was ranked as the 6th best place to live in America; the neighboring city of Olathemarker was 13th. Olathe is the county seat and home to Johnson County Executive Airportmarker. The cities of Olathe, Shawneemarker, and Gardnermarker have some of the state's fastest growing populations. The cities of Overland Park, Lenexamarker, Olathe, and Gardner are also notable because they lie along the former route of the Santa Fe Trail. Among cities with at least one thousand residents, Mission Hillsmarker has the highest median income in the state.

Several institutions of higher education are located in Northeast Kansas including Baker University (the oldest university in the state) in Baldwin City, MidAmerica Nazarene Universitymarker in Olathe, Ottawa University in Ottawa and Overland Park, Kansas City Kansas Community College and KU Medical Center in Kansas City, and KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Less than an hour's drive to the west, Lawrencemarker is home to the University of Kansasmarker, the largest public university in the state, and Haskell Indian Nations Universitymarker.

To the north, Kansas City, Kansasmarker, with the second largest land area in the state, contains a number of diverse ethnic neighborhoods. Its attractions include the Kansas Speedwaymarker, Kansas City T-Bones and The Legends at Village West retail and entertainment center. Further up the Missouri Rivermarker, the city of Lansingmarker is the home of the state's first maximum-security prison. Historic Leavenworthmarker, founded in 1854, was the first incorporated city in Kansas. North of the city, Fort Leavenworthmarker is the oldest active Army post west of the Mississippi River. The city of Atchisonmarker was an early commercial center in the state and is well-known as the birthplace of Amelia Earhart.

To the west, nearly a quarter million people reside in the Topeka metropolitan area. Topekamarker is the state capital and home to Washburn Universitymarker. Built at a Kansas Rivermarker crossing along the old Oregon Trail, this historic city has several nationally registered historic places. Further westward along Interstate 70 and the Kansas River is Junction Citymarker with its historic limestone and brick buildings and nearby Fort Rileymarker, well-known as the home to the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division, also known as the "Big Red One." A short distance away, the city of Manhattanmarker is home to Kansas State Universitymarker, the second largest public university in the state and the nation's oldest land-grant university, dating back to 1863. South of the campus, Aggievillemarker dates back to 1889 and is the state's oldest shopping district of its kind.


In south-central Kansas, the four-county Wichita metropolitan area is home to nearly 600,000 people. Wichitamarker is the largest city in the state in terms of both land area and population. 'The Air Capital' is a major manufacturing center for the aircraft industry and the home of Wichita State Universitymarker. With a number of nationally registered historic places, museums, and other entertainment destinations, it has a desire to become a cultural mecca in the Midwest. Although Wichita's population growth has been anemic in recent years, surrounding suburbs are among the fastest growing cities in the state. The population of Goddardmarker has grown by more than 11% per year since 2000. Other fast-growing cities include Andovermarker, Maizemarker, Park Citymarker, Derbymarker, and Haysvillemarker.

Up river (the Arkansas Rivermarker) from Wichita is the city of Hutchinsonmarker. The city was built on one of the world's largest salt deposits, and it has the world's largest and longest wheat elevator. It is also the home of Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Centermarker, Prairie Dunes Country Club and the Kansas State Fair. North of Wichita along Interstate 135 is the city of Newtonmarker, the former western terminal of the Santa Fe Railroad and trailhead for the famed Chisholm Trail. To the southeast of Wichita are the cities of Winfieldmarker and Arkansas Citymarker with historic architecture and the Cherokee Strip Museum (in Ark City). The city of Udallmarker was the site of the deadliest tornado in Kansas on May 25, 1955; it killed 80 people in and near the city. To the southwest of Wichita is Freeportmarker, the state's smallest incorporated city (population 8).

Around the state

Kansas Population Density Map
Located midway between Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita in the heart of the Bluestem Region of the Flint Hillsmarker, the city of Emporiamarker has several nationally registered historic places and is the home of Emporia State Universitymarker, well-known for its Teachers College. It was also the home of newspaper man William Allen White.

Southeast Kansas

Southeast Kansas has a unique history with a number of nationally registered historic places in this coal-mining region. Located in Crawford County (dubbed the Fried Chicken Capital of Kansas), Pittsburgmarker is the largest city in the region and the home of Pittsburg State Universitymarker. The neighboring city of Frontenacmarker in 1888 was the site of the worst mine disaster in the state in which an underground explosion killed 47 miners. "Big Brutusmarker" is located a mile and a half outside the city of West Mineralmarker. Along with the restored fort, historic Fort Scottmarker has a national cemetery designated by President Lincoln in 1862.

Central and North-Central Kansas

Salinamarker is the largest city in central and north-central Kansas. South of Salina is the small city of Lindsborgmarker with its numerous Dala horses. Much of the architecture and decor of this town has a distinctly Swedishmarker style. To the east along Interstate 70, the historic city of Abilenemarker was formerly a trailhead for the Chisholm Trail and was the boyhood home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. To the west is Lucasmarker, the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas.

Northwest Kansas
Westward along the Interstate, the city of Russellmarker, traditionally the beginning of sparsely-populated northwest Kansas, is the home of former U.S. Senator Bob Dole and the boyhood home of U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. The city of Haysmarker is home to Fort Hays State Universitymarker and the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, and is the largest city in the northwest with a population of around 20,000. Two other landmarks are located in smaller towns in Ellis County: the "Cathedral of the Plains" is located east of Hays in Victoriamarker, and the boyhood home of Walter Chrysler is west of Hays in Ellismarker. West of Hays, population drops dramatically, even in areas along I-70, and only two towns containing populations of more than 3,000: Colbymarker and Goodlandmarker, which are located 35 milies apart along I-70. The city of Wichita, the largest in both area and population, has been mentioned in a handful of films and television programmes such as 90210, a CW teen drama from which a family emigrate to Beverly Hills (hence the title).

Southwest Kansas

Dodge Citymarker, famously known for the cattle drive days of the late 19th century, was built along the old Santa Fe Trail route. The city of Liberalmarker is located along the southern Santa Fe Trail route. The first wind farm in the state was built east of Montezumamarker. Garden Citymarker has the Lee Richardson Zoomarker.


Education in Kansas is governed at the primary and secondary school level by the Kansas State Board of Education. The state's public colleges and universities are supervised by the Kansas Board of Regents.

Twice since 1999 the Board of Education has approved changes in the state science curriculum standards that encouraged the teaching of intelligent design. Both times, the standards were reversed after changes in the composition of the board in the next election.



Club Sport League
Kansas City Wizards Soccer Major League Soccer
Kansas City T-Bones Baseball Northern League
Wichita Wingnuts Baseball American Association of Independent Professional Baseball
Topeka Golden Giants Baseball Independent Collegiate Summer Wood Bat
Topeka Roadrunners Ice hockey North American Hockey League
Wichita Thunder Ice hockey Central Hockey League
Kansas Koyotes Indoor Football American Professional Football League
Wichita Wild Indoor Football Indoor Football League

The Wizards, who have played their home games at CommunityAmerica Ballparkmarker since 2008, are the first top-tier professional sports league and first Major League Soccer team to be located within Kansas.

Historically, many Kansans have supported the major league sports teams of Kansas City, Missourimarker, including the Kansas City Royals (MLB), the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) and the Kansas City Brigade (AFL) – in part because the home stadiums for these teams are just miles from the Kansas border. The Chiefs and the Royals play at the Truman Sports Complexmarker, located about from the Kansas-Missouri state line. The Kansas City Brigade play in the newly opened Sprint Centermarker, which is even closer to the state line. Additionally, from 1973 to 1997 the flagship radio station for the Royals was WIBW in Topeka, Kansas.

Western Kansans sometimes also support the major league teams in Denvermarker, while those who live close to the Oklahoma state line may support the Dallas Cowboys. All Chiefs games are televised throughout Kansas by television stations in Topeka and Wichita, and Broncos and Cowboys games which do not conflict with Chiefs telecasts are also broadcast across the state.

Two major auto racing facilities are located in Kansas. The Kansas Speedwaymarker located in Kansas City hosts races of the NASCAR, IRL, and ARCA circuits. Also, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) holds drag racing events at Heartland Park Topekamarker.


The history of professional sports in Kansas probably dates from the establishment of the minor league Topeka Capitals and Leavenworth Soldiers in 1886 in the Western League. The African-American Bud Fowler played on the Topeka team that season, one year before the "color line" descended in professional baseball.

In 1887, the Western League was dominated by a reorganized Topeka team called the Golden Giants – a high-priced collection of major leaguer players, including Bug Holliday, Jim Conway, Ecky Stearns, Perry Werden and Jimmy Macullar, which won the league by 15½ games. On April 10, 1887, the Golden Giants also won an exhibition game from the defending World Series champions, the St. Louis Browns (the present-day Cardinals), by a score of 12-9. However, Topeka was unable to support the team, and it disbanded after one year.


While there are no franchises of the four major professional sports within the state, many Kansans are fans of the state's major college sports teams, especially the Jayhawks of the University of Kansasmarker, commonly referred to as "KU", and the Wildcats of Kansas State Universitymarker, known as "KSU" or "K-State" by many. Wichita State Universitymarker, which also fields teams (called the Shockers) in Division I of the NCAA, is best known for its baseball program, winning the College World Series in 1989.

Both KU and K-State have tradition-rich programs in men's college basketball. The Jayhawks are a perennial national power, ranking third in all-time victories among NCAA programs, behind Kentuckymarker and North Carolinamarker. In April 2008, the Jayhawks won their fifth national crown (third NCAA tournament title). K-State also had a long stretch of success on the hardwood, lasting from the 1940s to the 1980s. Kansas State returned to the NCAA tournament in 2008 for the first time in 12 years. KU is tied for 4th all-time with 13 Final Four appearances, while K-State is tied for 17th with 4 appearances in the Final Four. Wichita State has made 1 Final Four appearance.

However, success on the football field has been infrequent for either team. When the two teams met in 1987, KU's record was 1-7 and K-State's was 0-8. Fittingly, the Governor's Cup that year, dubbed the "Toilet Bowl" by the media, ended in a 17-17 tie when the Jayhawks blocked a last-second K-State field goal attempt. There have been recent breakthroughs for both schools. KU won the Orange Bowl for the first time in three tries in January 2008, capping a 12-1 season, the best in school history. K-State was historically one of the worst college football programs in the country, until Bill Snyder arrived to coach the Wildcats in 1989. He turned K-State into a national force for most of the 1990s and early 2000s, until he retired after the 2005 season. Bill Snyder will return to the sideline for the 2009 season. The team won the Fiesta Bowl in 1997 and took the Big 12 Conference championship in 2003.

Notable success has also been achieved by the state's smaller schools in football. Pittsburg State Universitymarker, a NCAA Division II participant, has claimed three national titles in football, two in the NAIA and most recently the 1991 NCAA Division II national title. Pittsburg State became the winningest NCAA Division II football program in 1995. PSU passed Hillsdale College at the top of the all-time victories list in the 1995 season on its march to the national runner-up finish. The Gorillas, in 96 seasons of intercollegiate competition, have accumulated 579 victories – posting a 579-301-48 overall mark.

Washburn Universitymarker, in Topeka, won the NAIA Men's Basketball Championship in 1987. The Fort Hays State Universitymarker men won the 1996 NCAA Division II title with a 34-0 record, and the Washburn women won the 2005 NCAA Division II crown. St. Benedict's College (now Benedictine College), in Atchison, won the 1954 and 1967 Men's NAIA Basketball Championships.

In 1992-93, KU became the second college program to participate in a football bowl game, the NCAA men's basketball tournament, and the College World Series in the same academic year. And in the 2007-08 academic year, KU's football and basketball programs set an NCAA Division I record for most combined victories with 49 total victories (12 in football and 37 in basketball).

Notable residents

Amelia Earhart (aviation pioneer), Carrie Nation (temperance activist), former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Vice President Charles Curtis, and former presidential candidates Bob Dole and Alf Landon called Kansas their home. NASAmarker astronauts Ronald Evans, Joe Engle, and Steve Hawley also lived in Kansas.

Kansas was home to industrial and intellectual pioneers Walter Chrysler of automotive fame, Clyde Cessna and Lloyd Stearman (aviation pioneers), Jack Kilby (microchip inventor, The Nobel Prize Winner in Physics 2000), George Washington Carver (educator and scientist), Earl W. Sutherland, Jr. (The Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine 1971), and Vernon L. Smith (The Nobel Prize Winner in Economics 2002). Also from Kansas are General Richard Myers (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2001-05) and Robert Gates (United States Secretary of Defense December 2006 - Present). In addition, Kansas is the home of "Top Cop" Vern Miller who raided an Amtrak train on July 20, 1972, and confiscated all the liquor on board. He charged Amtrak with selling liquor-by-the-drink, illegal in Kansas at that time and the case was eventually declared, "al certiore," validating both the lower court's conviction and the flamboyant Miller's stance that, "If you don't like a law, get it changed...don't break it."

Kansas was also home to Danny Carey (musician), Del Close (comdedian/actor), Inger Stevens (actress), Vivian Vance (actress), Samuel Ramey (opera singer), Louise Brooks (actress), Annette Bening (actress), Bill Kurtis (Journalist), Jack Cafferty (Journalist), John Brown (abolitionist), Langston Hughes (poet), Gordon Parks (photographer, movie director, musician, author), Fatty Arbuckle (actor), William Inge (writer), Dennis Hopper (actor), Kelli McCarty (actress and Miss USA 91), Buster Keaton (actor), Coleman Hawkins (Jazz musician), Martina McBride (Country Singer), William Stafford (poet), Joe Walsh (Musician), Chely Wright (Country Musician), Melissa Etheridge (musician), Kirstie Alley (actress), Paul Rudd (actor), Sarah Lancaster (actress), Charlie Parker (Jazz musician), Mike Jerrick (network journalist), Steve Doocy (network journalist, author), Campbell Brown (network journalist), Jeff Probst (Survivor host), Melissa McDermott (Journalist), Phil McGraw (psychologist), and William Allen White (editor). And members of the progressive rock band Kansas: Dave Hope (bass), Phil Ehart (drums, percussion) and Kerry Livgren (guitars, keyboards, synthesizers) formed the group named Kansas in 1970 in their hometown of Topeka, along with vocalist Lynn Meredith from Manhattan, Kansas.

Famous athletes from Kansas include Clint Bowyer, Terence Newman, Braden Looper, Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Wes Santee, Joe Carter, Wilt Chamberlain, George Brett, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, Darren Sproles, John H. Outland, Steve Fritz, Billy Mills, Jim Ryun, Walter Johnson, Jackie Stiles, Scott Fulhage, Caroline Bruce, John Riggins, Jim Everett, Maurice Greene, Kendra Wecker, and Lynette Woodard. Kansas was also home to coaches James Naismith, Larry Brown, Phog Allen, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Ralph Miller, Gene Keady, Lon Kruger, John Calipari, Roy Williams, Glen Mason, Tex Winter, Dana Altman, Mark Turgeon, Bill Self, Bill Snyder, and Eddie Sutton.

Famous fictional residents include: "Marshal Matt Dillon," from the TV show Gunsmoke, "Mary Ann Summers," of Gilligan's Island, "Dennis Mitchell," of Dennis the Menace, "Dean" and "Sam Winchester," from the TV show Supernatural, "Clark Kent"/Superman, "Liz Sherman," from the "Hellboy" comic book series, "Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell," of Stargate SG-1, "Walter" and "India Bridge," from, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, "Jonas Nightengale," from, Leap of Faith, "Bailey," from The Suite Life on Deck, "Sam" from Rocket Power and "Dorothy Gale," from The Wizard of Oz.


See also


  1. Census.gov
  2. John Koontz, p.c.
  3. Rankin, Robert. 2005. "Quapaw." In Native Languages of the Southeastern United States, eds. Heather K. Hardy and Janine Scancarelli. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, pg. 492
  4. Connelley, William E. 1918. Indians. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, ch. 10, vol. 1
  5. Today in History: January 29
  6. Kansas.gov - The Official Web site of the State of Kansas
  7. Sorghumgrowers.com
  8. Kansas Is Flatter Than a Pancake
  9. Study finds Kansas Flatter Than Pancake
  10. Fracas over Kansas pancake flap
  11. NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Retrieved October 25, 2006.
  12. State Population Estimates. Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States, Regions, and States and for Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007 (NST-EST2007-01). U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Released 2007-12-22. Six year change is from 2000-07-01 to 2007-07-01.
  13. State Population Estimates. Kansas population has increased at a decreasing rate; reducing the number of congressmen from 5 to 4 in 1992 (Congressional Redistricting Act, eff. 1992). Cumulative Estimates of the Components of Population Change for the United States, Regions and States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 (NST-EST2006-04). U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Released 2006-12-22.
  14. Kansas - Race and Hispanic Origin: 1860 to 1990
  15. Bea.gov; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
  16. America's Career InfoNet
  17. Testa, Anthony Manhattan Regional Airport adds connection to Dallas-Fort Worth International The Kansas State Collegian, Published April 6, 2009, Retrieved on 2009-04-29
  18. Los Angeles Times. Vote by Kansas School Board Favors Evolution's Doubters
  19. Azcentral.com
  20. Kansas Governor Rejects Two Coal-Fired Power Plants
  21. 2008 Election Results - Kansas
  22. 2008 US Census Population Estimates
  23. Annual estimates of the population through 2006-07-01. Released 2007-06-28.
  24. Making Airwaves Through History
  25. Wichita Eagle, July 20, 1972
  26. Historic Lecompton - Constitution Hall State Historic Site. Retrieved on 13 April 2007.
  27. Kansas Historical Society

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