Wichita – Air Capital of the World

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Kansas

Kansas, whose capital is Topeka, is a state located in the Midwestern United States and is named after the Kansa tribe who once inhabited the region. Based upon archaeological findings, Kansas has been populated for thousands of years with the first residents of the state being nomadic Native Americans who primarily hunted the bison that were prevalent in the area.

It wasn’t until the 16th century that Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explored the region on his quest to find the mythical „cities of gold“. In the year 1672, the area was claimed by Sieur de la Salle in the name of France. Less than a hundred years later, the land was turned over to Spain only to be reclaimed by France in 1800. Three years later, the territory was sold to the United States by France as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

After its purchase in 1803, the territory was more greatly explored, this time by American explorers such as Lewis and Clark. The first European settlements were constructed in the 1830s with a great population explosion in the 1850s. The state became a battleground during the Civil War as both abolitionists from the New England states as well as citizens of pro-slavery states such as Missouri rushed to populate the area so as to determine whether the state would side with the North or the South. Because of this competition to make the state either free or slave, Kansas became the center of violence and chaos thus earning it the unfortunate moniker of Bleeding Kansas. The abolitionists eventually prevailed, making Kansas a member of the Union.

Despite the population boom during the 19th and early part of the 20th century, Kansas has become one of the slowest growing states in the nation. This is due in large part to the pattern of migration from rural areas to cities in search of jobs. Kansas still remains one of the primary farming states for crops such as wheat, corn, and sorghum. Kansas is also known for its oil fields and cattle farming, although the oil production in the state has decreased over time due to increased difficulty in extracting the oil. The state is also one of the leaders for the production of natural gas although this too has been in decline. Despite these setbacks, Kansas still remains economically stable due primarily to its aviation industry which is one of the largest in the country with Kansas being the primary state for private plane manufacturing in the United States.