The Kansas Portal

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, the 36th most-populous of the 50 states, with a population of 2,940,865 according to the 2020 census, and the 10th least densely populated. 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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John Clifford Hodges Lee

John Clifford Hodges Lee (1 August 1887 – 30 August 1958) was a career US Army engineer, who rose to the rank of lieutenant general and commanded the Communications Zone (ComZ) in the European Theater of Operations during World War II.

A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, with the class of 1909, Lee assisted with various domestic engineering navigation projects as well as in the Panama Canal Zone, Guam and the Philippines. During World War I, he served on the Western Front on the staff of the 82d and 89th Divisions and earned promotions to major, lieutenant colonel and colonel as well as the Silver Star Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal and the Croix de Guerre from the French government. (Full article...)

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Credit: Kevin Zollman
Riley County Courthouse in Manhattan, Kansas.

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
February 19, 1881
First state to Constitutionally prohibit alcohol
Populist Revolt
July 1951
Great Flood of 1951
May 17, 1954
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka


State facts

State symbols:

The American Bison, Kansas' state mammal.

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The headquarters of the Westboro Baptist Church with the sign "". The graffiti on the sign reads "God Hates The Phelps".

The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is an American, unaffiliated Primitive Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas, that was founded in 1955 by pastor Fred Phelps. It is widely considered a hate group, and is known for its public protests against homosexual people and for its usage of the phrases "God hates fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers". It also engages in hate speech against atheists, Jews, Muslims, transgender people, and even other Christian denominations. WBC's theology and practices are widely condemned by other Christian churches, including the Baptist World Alliance and the Southern Baptist Convention, and by politicians and public figures, including former President Barack Obama.

WBC has been protesting against gay people since 1989. Within a few years, the group expanded to protesting across the country. They often protest at public and private events, including funerals, sports games, and concerts. Notably, the group protested at the funerals for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the West Nickel Mines School shooting. The group is known to deface the American flag or fly it upside down while protesting. It also draws counter-protests. (Full article...)
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