Timeline of Kansas history

Last updated
Important dates in Kansas's history
Flag of Kansas Flag of Kansas.svg
Flag of Kansas
July–August 1541
Coronado explores Kansas
April 30, 1803
Louisiana Purchase; US buys most of Kansas
May 30, 1854
Kansas Territory organized
July 29, 1859
Constitution adopted by convention; prohibits slavery
January 29, 1861
Kansas becomes 34th state
August 21, 1863
Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence
Spring 1879
February 19, 1881
First state to prohibit alcohol
Populist Revolt
July 1951
Great Flood of 1951
May 1954
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

The timeline of Kansas details past events that happened in what is present day Kansas. Located on the eastern edge of the Great Plains, the U.S. state of Kansas was the home of sedentary agrarian and hunter-gatherer Native American societies, many of whom hunted American bison. The region first appears in western history in the 16th century at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, when Spanish conquistadors explored the unknown land now known as Kansas. It was later explored by French fur trappers who traded with the Native Americans. It became part of the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In the 19th century, the first American explorers designated the area as the "Great American Desert."


When the area was opened to Euro-American settlement in the 1850s, Kansas became the first battlefield in the conflict in the American Civil War. After the war, Kansas was home to Wild West towns servicing the cattle trade. With the railroads came heavy immigration from the East, from Europe, and from Freedmen called "Exodusters". For much of its history, Kansas has had a rural economy based on wheat and other crops, supplemented by oil and railroads. Since 1945 the farm population has sharply declined and manufacturing has become more important, typified by the aircraft industry of Wichita.

Early history

1820s to 1840s: Indian treaties and westward trails

1850 to 1854: Washington opens the territory; Indian tribes sell their lands

1855 to 1859: State formation

1860s to 1890s

20th century

21st century


  1. 1 2 "Kansas Archeology Basics." Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved 25 Jan 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 "Scott County: History." Scott County, Kansas. Retrieved 25 Jan 2012.
  3. Olson, Kevin (2012). Frontier Manhattan. University Press of Kansas. pp. 9–10. ISBN   978-0-7006-1832-3.
  4. "Lincoln's Hazel Avery Made State's First Flag". Lincoln Sentinel-Republican. March 28, 1996. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  5. "Before Harris, This Vice President Broke a Racial Barrier". New York Times . November 10, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  6. "1952 Missouri Basin flooding" (PDF). United States Department of Interior. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  7. Schneider, Russell S.; Harold E. Brooks; Joseph T. Schaefer. "Tornado Outbreak Day Sequences: Historic Events and Climatology (1875-2003)" (PDF). Norman, Oklahoma: Storm Prediction Center . Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  8. Larson, Lee W. "The Great USA Flood of 1993". National Weather Service. Retrieved May 3, 2022.

See also

Cities in Kansas

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kansas–Nebraska Act</span> 1854 organic act

The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 was a territorial organic act that created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. It was drafted by Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas, passed by the 33rd United States Congress, and signed into law by President Franklin Pierce. Douglas introduced the bill intending to open up new lands to develop and facilitate the construction of a transcontinental railroad. However, the Kansas–Nebraska Act effectively repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, stoking national tensions over slavery and contributing to a series of armed conflicts known as "Bleeding Kansas."

The Missouria or Missouri are a Native American tribe that originated in the Great Lakes region of what is now the United States before European contact. The tribe belongs to the Chiwere division of the Siouan language family, together with the Ho-Chunk, Winnebago, Iowa, and Otoe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Indian Territory</span> Historic sovereign territory set aside for Native American nations, 1834–1907

Indian Territory and the Indian Territories are terms that generally described an evolving land area set aside by the United States government for the relocation of Native Americans who held original Indian title to their land as an independent nation-state. The concept of an Indian territory was an outcome of the U.S. federal government's 18th- and 19th-century policy of Indian removal. After the American Civil War (1861–1865), the policy of the U.S. government was one of assimilation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kaw people</span> Federally recognized Native American tribe

The Kaw Nation is a federally recognized Native American tribe in Oklahoma and parts of Kansas.

The U.S. state of Kansas, located on the eastern edge of the Great Plains, was the home of nomadic Native American tribes who hunted the vast herds of bison. In around 1450 AD, the Wichita People founded the great city of Etzanoa. The city of Etzanoa was abandoned in around 1700 AD. The region was explored by Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century. It was later explored by French fur trappers who traded with the Native Americans. Most of Kansas became permanently part of the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. When the area was opened to settlement by the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 it became a battlefield that helped cause the American Civil War. Settlers from North and South came in order to vote slavery down or up. The free state element prevailed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bleeding Kansas</span> Violent slavery-related confrontations in Kansas territory in latter half of 1850s

Bleeding Kansas, Bloody Kansas, or the Border War was a series of violent civil confrontations in Kansas Territory, and to a lesser extent in western Missouri, between 1854 and 1859. It emerged from a political and ideological debate over the legality of slavery in the proposed state of Kansas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kansas Territory</span> Territory of the United States between 1854 and 1861

The Territory of Kansas was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 30, 1854, until January 29, 1861, when the eastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the free state of Kansas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Platte Purchase</span> Land acquisition in 1836 by the United States government from American Indian tribes

The Platte Purchase was a land acquisition in 1836 by the United States government from American Indian tribes of the region. It comprised lands along the east bank of the Missouri River and added 3,149 square miles (8,156 km2) to the northwest corner of the state of Missouri.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sac and Fox Nation</span> Sauk tribe based in Oklahoma

The Sac and Fox Nation is the largest of three federally recognized tribes of Sauk and Meskwaki (Fox) Indian peoples. Originally from the Lake Huron and Lake Michigan area, they were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma in the 1870s and are predominantly Sauk. The Sac and Fox Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Area (OTSA) is the land base in Oklahoma governed by the tribe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Otoe</span> Native American people of the Midwestern United States

The Otoe are a Native American people of the Midwestern United States. The Otoe language, Chiwere, is part of the Siouan family and closely related to that of the related Iowa, Missouria, and Ho-Chunk tribes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ponca</span> Indigenous people of North America

The Ponca people are a nation primarily located in the Great Plains of North America that share a common Ponca culture, history, and language, identified with two Indigenous nations: the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma or the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Osage Nation</span> Native American Siouan-speaking tribe

The Osage Nation is a Midwestern American tribe of the Great Plains. The tribe developed in the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys around 700 B.C. along with other groups of its language family. They migrated west after the 17th century, settling near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as a result of Iroquois expansion into the Ohio Country in the aftermath of the Beaver Wars.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pawnee, Kansas</span> Ghost town in Geary County, Kansas

Pawnee is a ghost town in Geary County, Kansas, United States, which briefly served as the first official capital of the Kansas Territory in 1855. Pawnee was the territorial capital for exactly five days – the legislature met there from July 2 to July 6 – before legislators voted to move the capital to Shawnee Mission, which is located in present-day Fairway. It may be the shortest-lived capital of any U.S. state or territory.

The Osage Treaty was signed in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 2, 1825, between William Clark on behalf of the United States and members of the Osage Nation. It contained 14 articles. Pursuant to the most important terms, the Osage ceded multiple territories to the United States government. According to the first article of the treaty, the territories ceded entailed lands lying within and west of both the State of Missouri and the Territory of Arkansas, lands lying north and west of the Red River, all territories south and east of the Kansas River, and all lands located through the Rock Saline. The accord was proclaimed on December 30, 1825.

A Half-Breed Tract was a segment of land designated in the western states by the United States government in the 19th century specifically for Métis of American Indian and European or European-American ancestry, at the time commonly known as half-breeds. The government set aside such tracts in several parts of the Midwestern prairie region, including in Iowa Territory, Nebraska Territory, Kansas Territory, Minnesota Territory, and Wisconsin Territory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Native American tribes in Nebraska</span>

Native American tribes in the U.S. state of Nebraska have been Plains Indians, descendants of succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples who have occupied the area for thousands of years. More than 15 historic tribes have been identified as having lived in, hunted in, or otherwise occupied territory within the current state boundaries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joseph James and Joseph James Jr.</span>

Joseph James and "'Joseph James Jr."' were two men of Kansa-Osage-French descent who became interpreters on the Kansas and Indian Territory frontier in the 19th century. European Americans often referred to each as "Joe Jim" or "Jojim".

On the eve of the American Civil War in 1861, a significant number of Indigenous peoples of the Americas had been relocated from the Southeastern United States to Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi. The inhabitants of the eastern part of the Indian Territory, the Five Civilized Tribes, were suzerain nations with established tribal governments, well established cultures, and legal systems that allowed for slavery. Before European Contact these tribes were generally matriarchial societies, with agriculture being the primary economic pursuit. The bulk of the tribes lived in towns with planned streets, residential and public areas. The people were ruled by complex hereditary chiefdoms of varying size and complexity with high levels of military organization.


Further reading