Portal:Kansas

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Kansas /ˈkænzəs/ is a Midwestern state in the central region of the United States of America, an area often referred to as the American "Heartland". It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa people, 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.

Historically, the area was home to large numbers of nomadic Native Americans that 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 England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri 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 and sunflower production most years.

Selected article

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The Nazareth Convent and Academy in Concordia, Kansas is the official Motherhouse and Home for the 260 Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. It was built in 1903 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The beautiful Lourdes-Park, restored in 1990, offers a place for walking and enjoying nature and the large stained glass window is known as "the beacon light of Concordia" as it looks over the community from the convent.

In 1884, the Rev. Joseph Perrier invited the Sisters of St. Joseph to come to Concordia to open a school in the Catholic Parish. Mother Stanislaus Leary, superior, and five sisters answered the invitation. They came to Concordia and established the Nazareth Motherhouse and Academy in a new building located next to the church. (Read more...)

Spotlight city

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Topeka (Kansa: Tó Ppí Kˀé) is the capital city of the U.S. state of Kansas and the county seat of Shawnee County. It is situated along the Kansas River in the central part of Shawnee County, located in northeast Kansas, in the Central United States. The population was 122,377 at the 2000 census, and it was estimated to be 122,647 in the 2007 census. The Topeka Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, and Wabaunsee counties, had an estimated population of 226,268 in the year 2003. Three ships of the US Navy have been named USS Topeka in honor of the city.

In the 1840s, wagon trains made their way west from Independence, Missouri, on a 2,000 miles (3,000 km) journey following what would come to be known as the Oregon Trail. In the early 1850s, traffic along the Oregon Trail was supplemented by trade on a new military road stretching from Fort Leavenworth through Topeka to the newly-established Fort Riley. After a decade of Bleeding Kansas abolitionist and pro-slavery conflict, the Kansas territory was admitted to the Union in 1861 as the 34th state. Topeka was finally chosen as the capital, with Dr. Charles Robinson as the first governor. In 1862, Cyrus K. Holliday donated a tract of land to the state for the construction of a state capitol. Construction of the Kansas State Capitol began in 1866. It would take 37 years to build the capitol, first the east wing, and then the west wing, and finally the central building, using Kansas limestone. Home to the first African-American kindergarten west of the Mississippi River, Topeka became the home of Linda Brown, the named plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education which was the case responsible for eliminating the standard of "separate but equal", and requiring racial integration in American public schools.

Selected picture

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Credit: Edwin Olson
A view of the Flint Hills in eastern 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
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

More...

State facts


State symbols:

The American Bison, Kansas' state mammal.

Selected biography

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Laura Mae Cobb (May 11, 1892–September 27, 1981) was a member of the United States Navy Nurse Corps who served during World War II. She received numerous decorations for her actions during the defense of Manila and her 37 months as a POW of the Japanese, during which she continued to serve as Chief Nurse for ten other imprisoned Navy nurses—some of the "Angels of Bataan." She retired from the Nurse Corps as a Lieutenant Commander in 1947.

Laura Cobb was born in Atchison, Kansas on May 11, 1892, and moved with her family to Mulvane, Kansas (near Wichita) the following year. She graduated from Mulvane High School in 1910, taught school for a time, entered the nursing training program at Wesley Hospital in Wichita in 1915, and graduated from that program in 1918.

Cobb served as a nurse in the United States Navy from July 5, 1918, to July 21, 1921 (including brief service at the Canacao Naval Hospital in Manila at the end of World War I), and then worked in civilian hospitals in Iowa and Michigan for three years. She rejoined the Navy in April 1924 and served in naval hospitals throughout the US in the 1920s and 1930s. After serving for more than a decade in a naval hospital in Washington DC, rumors of war prompted her to request "to go overseas because someone had to go." She was subsequently transferred to the naval hospital on Guam in April 1940, where she received a commendation for "continuous duty for forty-eight hours, during which she repeatedly risked life and limb in her efforts to insure the safety and comfort of the patients..." during the typhoon of November 3, 1940. (Read more...)

Kansas news

Wikinews Kansas portal
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