Kansas History Timeline

By | May 12, 2022

Kansas was once occupied by legions of American Indians; they raised their children and crops; hunted tens of thousands of buffalo that roamed the vast plains, and for the most part, lived in peace.

Looking for gold and other treasures, the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado arrived here in 1540. He was followed in 1682 by the explorer La Salle, who quickly claimed the land of France.

Regardless of the claims of other countries, in the mid 1700s and very early 1800s, Kansas was still wide open Indian territory and a land of great potential. When the American Purchased Kansas from France in 1803, as part of the Louisiana Purchase, thousands of settlers from the east began to flow through this land.

Traveling Footprints Santa Fe and Oregon west into the Pacific Ocean, many pioneers in search of new life found the wide open spaces and farmland here a great place to settle.

In this land of opportunity, life was tough; the Indians were pushing into the corner as the settlers seized their long held land; fights broke out and eventually forts ( I.E. Fort Hay, Fort Leavenworth and Fort Dodge ) were built to provide defense against the now (understandably) hostile Indians.

The Kansas Territory was formed in 1854 and soon serious controversies regarding slavery erupted; the pros and cons clashed across the territory, ending in 1859 when the non-slavery constitution was finally approved.

  • Topschoolsintheusa: Guides to study in Kansas, including geography, climate, economy, and tourism of the state.
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Kansas Statehood

On January 29, 1861, US President James Buchanan signed into law a bill making Kansas the 34th state, with the city of Topeka as its capital. America ‘s Civil Warsoon began and this new Kansas sent thousands of its male population to help the Union defeat southern Confederacy and slavery.

The Civil War finally ended in 1865, and across America the recovery process has begun. In Kansas, and in some other Western states, the American Indians were now being pressured to the point where violence was their only option; their historic lands were taken, and sadly they were no match for the country’s military, and they disappeared into the tragic footnote of American history.

In 1867 the railroad came to Abilene and the first cattle drive on the Chisholm Trail began with cowboys and herds converging on growing cities like Dodge City ; soon cities were established and family farms spread across the state; the cattle industry flourished, and miles and miles of wheat fields put Kansas on the map.

Kansas today

In the early 1900s, Kansas developed into the most significant aircraft manufacturing center on the planet. Aeronautical pioneers like Cessna, Training and Beach have made Wichita the ‘Air Capital of the World’. Cessna and Beechcraft were founded here in the 1920s and today Learjet, Airbus and Boeing all have a strong presence in Wichita, Kansas.

In the 20th century, the state’s prolific farms helped feed the country and the world, and Kansas became the largest wheat exporter on the planet. This is the true Center American state, located on the Central American Prairies with Nebraska to the North, Missouri to the East, Oklahoma to the south and Colorado to the west.

This is the State of the Bible Belt, and Topeka often referred to as the home of the Pentecostal Christian movement, and a large segment of the Kansas population are active church goers. While much of the state is devoted to agriculture, Kansas cities are centers of culture, commerce and rich old western history.

Kansas cities

The capital city of Topeka is home to art history and natural history museums, theater and green parks, the excellent Topeka Zoo and the elegant Capitol Building.

Located on the Arkansas River in Red Hills, Dodge City – the embodiment of Old Western culture. Historic Boot Hill Cemetery, old style bars, Master Gunners wax museum and gunfire reconstructions keep Cowboy Legend alive. Dodge isn’t just a show town, it’s a thriving Kansas community and a great place to live.

Situated at the crossroads of America’s future and historical past, Kansas – the legendary land of Indian lore, cattle movers and cowboys – is replete with famous Kansas names and places like Abilene, Bat Masterson, Dodge City, Wild Bill Hickok and Wyatt Earp.

Kansas Timeline

1500s – 1600s

  • (1541) Explorers seeking gold claimed Kansas Spain
  • (1682) French explorer La Salle claimed the entire Kansas Territory for France


  • (1803) US acquired most of Kansas from France in the Louisiana Purchase
  • (1822) W. H. Becknell drove the Santa Fe Trail
  • (1827) Fort Leavenworth established
  • (1830s) Settlers arrived by the thousands
  • (1854) Kansas Territory was organized
  • (1855-1859) The Kansas-Nebraska Act sparked a hell of a fight over slavery; Kansas was called “Bloody Kansas”.
  • (1860) First railroad reached Kansas
  • (1862) Kansas became a state
  • (1867) The railroad arrived at Abilene and the first cattle were brought up Chisholm’s Trail
  • (1887) Susanna Salter elected mayor of Argonia, Kansas; became the first female mayor in the country
  • (1894-1895) The state’s oil and gas fields entered production


  • (1930s) Severe sandstorms destroyed acres and acres of crops
  • (1951) Floods hit state causing extensive damage
  • (1952) Dwight David Eisenhower, adopted favorite son of Kansas, became US President
  • (1952) S. Supreme Court declared public school segregation illegal in landmark Brown v. Topeka Board of Education case
  • (1961) The world’s largest wheat elevator was built in Hutchinson
  • (1969) President Dwight David Eisenhower died
  • (1976) Famed Kansas politician Bob Dole ran for vice president
  • (1978) Nancy Landon Kassebaum became the first woman from Kansas to be elected a S. senator
  • (1988) Kansas Jayhawks won the NCAA Tournament
  • (1996) Bob Dole (Russell, Kansas) ran for President


  • (2002) First flight of an Airborne Laser designed to destroy missles during early stage launch took off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita
  • (2003) Tornado killed seven people
  • (2005) BTK (Tie, ​​Torture, Kill), Serial Killer, Dennis Raeder, Arrested
  • (2009) Abortion doctor, George Tiller, murdered in Wichita church
  • (2009) Huge snowstorm caused road closures, flight cancellations
  • (2011) US soldier Bradley Manning involved in Wikileaks scandal moved to Fort Leavenworth military prison

Kansas History