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A Brief Kansas History
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Kansas became part of the United States on January 19, 1861 as the 34th state in the Union. Prior to admission to the union, there was a bloody conflict between territorial settlers over the issue of slavery. Kansas was first explored by Euro-Americans in 1541 when the Spaniard Coronado entered the region on a quest for gold.

Towards the late 18th century, Kansas was one of several future states that comprised the Louisiana Territory and was claimed by France. In 1803, France sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States. Among the first Americans to explore the state that would become Kansas were Lewis and Clark who camped along the Missouri River in Kansas in 1804.

During the westward expansion, the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails crossed Kansas. In 1854, Kansas was opened to Euro-American settlement with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in congress. With this began the conflict between pro- and anti-slavery factions in Kansas.

While conflict raged over slavery, there did not seem to be any objections to the confiscation of Native American lands - except by the Native Americans who lived there. By 1871 most Indians had be removed to reservations, displaced or killed.

In 1857, gold was discovered at Pike's Peak and the gold fever drew many people to the area. Due to the continued growth in the region the need for faster communication was met by the establishment of the Pony Express in 1860. The utility of the Pony Express was short lived as the Transcontinental Telegraph was completed in 1861.

With the passage of the Homestead Law in 1862, torrents of settlers flowed into the area. In 1867, the arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad fostered the rise of some of the most notorious cow-towns of the old west, Abilene and Dodge City.

In 1874, immigrants brought in a variety of wheat called 'turkey red' that would foster Kansas's growth as a wheat growing economy.


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