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Although commonly referred to as the Sunflower State, Kansas is also known as Midway USA. This nickname comes from the fact that the geographic center of the U.S. continent lies in a Kansas pasture! All of the land surveys done in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. are done using this magnetic mark as the reference point.
When Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado visited Kansas in search of gold in 1541, he found what he considered the best land he'd ever seen for producing all the products of Spain. But, not only did Spain benefit; he introduced the horse to the Plains Indians and completely changed their lives.
After changing hands between France and Spain several times, the U.S. acquired most of the state in 1809 with the Louisiana Purchase; the remaining southwest corner came from Texas in 1850. It was designated Indian territory in 1825 and around 30 tribes gave up land in other areas to move to the region.
In the 1850's bloody battles broke out over slavery that would rage for seven years and it took four attempts before the Kansas constitution was finally approved by the House of Representatives in 1860. On January 29, 1861, Kansas became the 34th state.
Today, Kansas is the location of the greatest airplane manufacturing plant in the world. It's also the largest exporter of wheat and helps power the nation with oil from its many wells. And, it ranks number one in the processing of commercial cattle. And, the land that once offered a wealth of buffalo to native Indians, once again is starting to flourish with buffalo.
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