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Kansas was first settled by European Americans in 1812, in what is now Bonner Springs, but the pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery issue. When it was officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854 with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine whether 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 prevailed, and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. After the Civil War, the population of Kansas grew rapidly when waves of immigrants turned the prairie into farmland.
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Kansas is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita. Kansas is named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe’s name (natively kką:ze) is often said to mean “people of the (south) wind” although this was probably not the term’s original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.
By 2015, Kansas was one of the most productive agricultural states, producing high yields of wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans. Kansas, which has an area of 82,278 square miles (213,100 km2) is the 15th-largest state by area and is the 34th most-populous of the 50 states with a population of 2,911,641. Residents of Kansas are called Kansans. Mount Sunflower is Kansas’ highest point at 4,041 feet (1,232 m).
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The state of Kansas has an extensive highway system. There are 9 Interstate Highways, 23 U.S. Higwhays, and over 150 state highways either entirely or partially within the state lines. The longest of these roadways is U.S. Highway US-400 which stretches 465.556 miles east-west across the state. US-400 enters Kansas from the Colorado state line just west of Coolidge, and ends at the Missouri state line just east of Baxter Springs. US-50 is the second longest highway in the state, running nearly the same path as US-400. The highway also begins at the Colorado state line in Coolidge, and travels 447.93 miles before ending at the Missouri state line in Leawood. The longest Interstate Highway in Kansas is Interstate 70 at 424.2 miles. I-70 also runs east-west throughout the state, beginning in the west at the Colorado state line west of Kanorado and ending in the east at the Missouri state line in Kansas City. The Kansas Turnpike is another important road in the state. The toll road begins at the Oklahoma state line in Emporia, and travels 236 miles until reaching Kansas City.