Meaning of KANSAS in English


The Midwest. constituent state of the United States of America lying at the geographic centre of the contiguous 48 states. Kansas is bounded by Nebraska on the north, Missouri on the east, Oklahoma on the south, and Colorado on the west. The capital is Topeka. Roughly rectangular in shape, the state extends about 410 miles (660 km) from east to west and 210 miles (340 km) from north to south. The earliest evidence of human occupation is found in the area of the Republican and Blue rivers where there had been a thriving agricultural society from about 1200 to 1500. At the time of initial European contact the main Indian groups were the Kansa, Osage, Pawnee, and Wichita. The first-known European explorer was Francisco Coronado, who in 1541 led a party northward from Mexico in search of gold. La Salle claimed the region for France in 1682, and French fur traders had a flourishing exchange with the Indians in what is now the northeastern part of the state in the 18th century. Kansas was acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. Until the KansasNebraska Act of 1854 created the Kansas Territory and opened it to white settlement, Kansas had been the trailhead for the Sante Fe and Oregon Trails and a dumping point used by the federal government for displaced eastern Indians. In the decade before the American Civil War, conflicts over whether to allow slavery in the territory earned it the sobriquet Bleeding Kansas. Kansas entered the Union as a free state in 1861. Physiographically Kansas is a fairly continuous plain rising steadily in elevation from 700 feet (210 m) above sea level in the Central Lowlands of the southeast to more than 4,000 feet (1,200 m) in the Great Plains near the Colorado border. The state drains generally eastward to the Mississippi through the systems of the Arkansas and Kansas rivers. The Kansas climate is temperate but continental, exhibiting great extremes between summer and winter temperatures. The average annual temperature is 55 F (13 C), with the growing season lasting from mid-April through mid-September. Annual precipitation, averaging from less than 20 inches (500 mm) in the west to more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) in the east, falls primarily as rain during the spring and summer months. Early settlement of Kansas was primarily by homesteaders who were antislavery New Englanders or European immigrants. About 90 percent of the land is used for agriculture, and one-third of the population lives in areas classified as rural. Wichita, Kansas City, and Topeka are the only cities with populations of more than 100,000. Because of insufficient economic opportunities, Kansas loses a considerable number of its young people to other states. Both agriculture and manufacturing contribute significantly to the state's economythe former providing many of the raw materials for the latter. Farm and ranch production rank Kansas high among the U.S. states in wheat, sorghum, beef and veal, and hogs. Manufacturing includes meat-packing, grain-milling, and the assembly of machinery and general aviation aircraft. Petroleum and natural gas are among the state's principal mineral resources. Kansas possesses an excellent system of more than a dozen railways. Spur lines and sidings connect to grain-storage elevators. Highways and airways crisscross the state. The Missouri River carries a great deal of barge traffic to and from the Mississippi River inland waterway system. Wichita and Topeka support cultural activities and the arts, and numerous colleges and universities do so in many small communities across the state. The University of Kansas is located at Lawrence and has an outstanding museum of natural history and an art museum. Fort Larned and Fort Scott, frontier outposts of the mid-19th century, are preserved as national historic sites. Area 82,277 square miles (213,098 square km). Pop. (1990) 2,477,574. constituent state of the United States of America. The state's 82,277 square miles (213,098 square kilometres) are bounded by Nebraska on the north, Missouri on the east, Oklahoma on the south, and Colorado on the west. Lying amid the westward-rising landscape of the Great Plains of the North American continent, it became the 34th state on Jan. 29, 1861. In that year the capital was located in Topeka by popular vote, outpolling nearby Lawrence by some 2,700 ballots. The state's name is derived from that of the Kansa, or Kaw, Indians. The geographic centre of the 48 coterminous states of the nation is marked by a limestone shaft and a flag located in a pasture near Lebanon, Kan., close to the Nebraska border. Some 40 miles (65 kilometres) to the south is the magnetic, or geodetic, centre of the terrestrial mass of North America; this is the reference point for all land survey in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Kansas was once seen as the agricultural heartland of the nation. After 1952, however, industry began to contribute more to the economy than did wheat fields and cattle ranches. Wichita, the state's largest city, is known locally as the Air Capital of the World because it produces more general aviation aircraft than any other city. Additional reading Federal Writers' Project, Kansas: A Guide to the Sunflower State (1939, reprinted as The WPA Guide to 1930s Kansas, 1984), provides a still-useful overview. A guide to the geology and landmarks of Kansas is Rex C. Buchanan (ed.), Kansas Geology: An Introduction to Landscapes, Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils (1984). Joseph T. Collins (ed.), Natural Kansas (1985), recounts the state's natural history. Homer E. Socolofsky and Huber Self, Historical Atlas of Kansas, 2nd ed. (1988), contains information on the state's geography, development, climate, and natural resources. DeLorme Mapping Company, Kansas Atlas & Gazetteer (1997), contains topographic maps. John Rydjord, Kansas Place Names (1972), is also a useful reference. Articles in Kansas! (quarterly) cover state geography, wildlife, arts, and history. Introductions to Kansas history include Bliss Isely and W. Marvin Richards, The Kansas Story (1961); Kenneth S. Davis, Kansas (1976, reissued 1984); and Robert W. Richmond, Kansas: A Land of Contrasts, 3rd ed. (1989). William E. Unrau, The Kansa Indians: A History of the Wind People, 16731873 (1971, reissued 1986), is a good account of the tribe from which Kansas got its name. Various historical periods are treated in Louise Barry, The Beginning of the West: Annals of the Kansas Gateway to the American West, 15401854 (1972); Eric Corder, Prelude to Civil War: Kansas-Missouri, 185461 (1970); Craig Miner, West of Wichita: Settling the High Plains of Kansas, 18651890 (1986); Scott G. McNall, The Road to Rebellion: Class Formation and Kansas Populism, 18651900 (1988); Robert R. Dykstra, The Cattle Towns (1968, reissued 1983); and Francis W. Schruben, Kansas in Turmoil, 19301936 (1969). Interesting pictures of life in early Kansas are found in David Dary, True Tales of Old-Time Kansas, rev. ed. (1984). Kansas History (quarterly) publishes current research. Charles G. Pearson The Editors of the Encyclopdia Britannica

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