The Kansas Portal

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Kansas (/ˈkænzəs/ (listen)) is a state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita. Kansas is a landlocked state bordered by Nebraska to the north; Missouri to the east; Oklahoma to the south; and Colorado to the west. Kansas is named after the Kansas River, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native Americans who lived along its banks. The tribe's name (natively kką:ze) is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.

The first Euro-American settlement in Kansas occurred in 1827 at Fort Leavenworth. The pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery debate. When it was officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854 with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine whether 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 prevailed, and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state, hence the unofficial nickname "The Free State".

By 2015, Kansas was one of the most productive agricultural states, producing high yields of wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans. Kansas, which has an area of 82,278 square miles (213,100 square kilometers) is the 15th-largest state by area and is the 36th most-populous of the 50 states, with a population of 2,940,865 according to the 2020 census. Residents of Kansas are called Kansans. Mount Sunflower is Kansas's highest point at 4,039 feet (1,231 meters). (Full article...)

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Mary Isenhour is an American political strategist, campaign manager, and government official. She was the Chief of Staff for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. Prior to the Wolf administration, Isenhour served executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, was state director of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and assisted with the successful campaigns of U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. She now serves with the firm Rooney Novak Isenhour, LLC and is a member of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Isenhour also previously worked as executive director of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee, and started a political consulting firm with former state party chairman T.J. Rooney. In 2010, PoliticsPA called her "one of the top consultants in the state", and said, "few can move between the strategy of campaigning and its mechanics with the ease that she does". (Full article...)

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Credit: User:Fir0002
The European honey bee Kansas' state insect.

Important dates in Kansas' history

July–August 1541
Coronado explores Kansas
April 30, 1803
Louisiana Purchase Treaty signed
May 30, 1854
Kansas Territory organized
July 29, 1859
Constitution adopted by convention
January 29, 1861
Kansas becomes 34th state
August 21, 1863
Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence
Spring 1879
Exodusters
February 19, 1881
First state to Constitutionally prohibit alcohol
1890s
Populist Revolt
July 1951
Great Flood of 1951
May 17, 1954
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

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The American Bison, Kansas' state mammal.
The American Bison, Kansas' state mammal.

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A slightly smiling man dressed in an overcoat and sporting a mustauche and shoulder-length, curly hair stares ahead.

James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876), better known as "Wild Bill" Hickok, was a folk hero of the American Old West known for his life on the frontier as a soldier, scout, lawman, gambler, showman, and actor, and for his involvement in many famous gunfights. He earned a great deal of notoriety in his own time, much of it bolstered by the many outlandish and often fabricated tales he told about himself. Some contemporaneous reports of his exploits are known to be fictitious, but they remain the basis of much of his fame and reputation.

Hickok was born and raised on a farm in northern Illinois at a time when lawlessness and vigilante activity were rampant because of the influence of the "Banditti of the Prairie". Drawn to this ruffian lifestyle, he headed west at age 18 as a fugitive from justice, working as a stagecoach driver and later as a lawman in the frontier territories of Kansas and Nebraska. He fought and spied for the Union Army during the American Civil War and gained publicity after the war as a scout, marksman, actor, and professional gambler. He was involved in several notable shootouts during the course of his life. (Full article...)
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