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Kansas State History Facts

By the 1600s, the Native Americans living in the area of Kansas were the Kansa, the Osage, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Kiowa, and the Pawnee.

They hunted wild game and buffalo with spears and arrows.

Seal Of Kansas

However, when the European explorers and settlers arrived, they brought horses with them to trade with the natives for furs and food.

Horses made it much easier for the tribes people to hunt for buffalo.

Related: Kansas State Facts


European Explorers

In 1541, the first explorer to arrive in the area of Kansas was the Spanish explorer and conquistador Francisco de Coronado.

He started his expedition in Mexico with a party consisting of about 400 men-at-arms from Spain, up to 2000 Mexican Indians, four Franciscan friars, several native and African slaves, and family members and servants.


They brought with them many animals, including horses.

The party was on a fruitless quest for the Cities of Cibola, a mythical area where gold was to be found.


A little more than 100 years later, Robert de Las Salle arrived in the area and claimed the region for France.

All through the 1700s and 1800s, some Europeans arrived to trade goods for furs with the Native American tribes.

La Salle Fort Frontenac

The Louisiana Purchase

Did you know that Louisiana was once French territory?

Well, the United States bought the land claimed by  France in 1803 as a part of the Louisiana Purchase.

The next year, explorers Lewis and Clark traveled through the area on their way west.

Thousands of settlers followed and traveled through Kansas on their way west.

Louisiana Purchase

The United States had constructed and manned many forts along two important trails: the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon Trail.

Thousands of settlers followed these safe trails on their way westward and some stayed in Kansas and set up farms. Various towns sprang up around the forts.

York Factory Express

 Harpers Ferry Uprising

In the years before 1860, a fight was brewing between people who had slaves and people who wanted to see slavery abolished and made unlawful.

In 1859, one man tried to start a slave rebellion. His name was John Brown. He and a group of men decided to take over the supply of guns and ammunition at Harpers Ferry.

They were not successful and John Brown was hanged for treason.

Hw Fire House Brown

The U.S. Civil War

Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States in 1860. He was determined to abolish slavery.

A great divide occurred and Kansas was part of the northern states that wanted slavery abolished.

The southern states including South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana decided to join forces and create a new country called the Confederate States.

War was declared in 1861 and ended on April 9, 1865,when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered.

On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Also, in January 1861, Kansas became the 34th state of the United States.

Flag Of Kansas

Quiz Time!

quiz activity for kids


What tribes lived in the area known today as Kansas in the 1600s?

What were Francisco de Coronado and his party searching for?

In the 1700s and 1800s, what were Europeans doing in Kansas?

Who was John Brown?

What side of the Civil War was Kansas on?

Milky Way Over Monument Rocks Kansas Usa


By the 1600s, the Kansa, the Osage, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Kiowa, and the Pawnee lived in the area later called Kansas.

Francisco de Coronado and his party were searching for the Cities of Cibola, a mythical area where gold was to be found.

In the 1700s and 1800s, Europeans were mostly arriving to trade for furs.

John Brown was against slavery and tried to start a slavery rebellion.

Kansas was on the side of the Unionists against slavery.

US State History


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