Kansas State Facts, Symbols and History

Kansas Fast Facts

Capital: Topeka (pop. 122,642) (2010 est.)

Dodge City Facts

Kansas population: 2,885,905 ( 2012 est.) (33rd)

Kansas Quarter: The fourth quarter to be released in 2005 commemorates Kansas. This is the 34th coin to be released in the US Mint’s popular 50 State Quarters® Program and features a buffalo and sunflower motif symbolizing National history and natural beauty.

Language: English, others

Largest Cities: (by population) Wichita, Overland Park, Kansas City, Topeka, Olathe, Lawrence

Name: The origin of the name Kansas is reported to be from a name associated with the local Indians, who were called “Kansa”, or “Kaw”, meaning the South Wind or South Wind

Statehood: January 29, 1861 (34th state)

Kansas symbols

  • Animal: American buffalo (or bison)
  • Bird: Western Meadowlark
  • Flag of Kansas
  • Flower: sunflower
  • Insect: honey bee
  • Motto: “To the stars through difficulties”
  • Nicknames: (most used) Sunflower State, Wheat State, Midway, USA
  • Song: “Don’t Kick”
  • Wood: Cottonwood

Kansas is a state in the central part of the United States, one of the so-called states of the Northwest Center. Population – 2,871,238 (2011). The capital is the city of Topeka. The largest city is Wichita. See cities and towns in Kansas.

The state is also called the “bread basket of the nation” and leads the state in wheat production. The motto is “To the stars through thorns.” In the language of the Indians who inhabited Kansas, the name of the state means “people of the south wind.”

Kansas borders Missouri to the east, Colorado to the west, Nebraska to the north, and Oklahoma to the south. Area – 213.1 km.

Kansas became part of the United States on January 29, 1861.

In 1541, the Spanish conquistador Coronado passed through Kansas, followed by French explorers. The United States annexed the area as a result of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Kansas became the 34th US state. Before the start of the Civil War, Kansas became the scene of a fierce struggle between supporters and opponents of slavery. The construction of the railroads after the Civil War made Abilene and Dodge City major loading stations for cattle driven from Texas.

  • AbbreviationFinder: Demonstrates how the two-letter acronym of KS stands for Kansas and a list of frequently used abbreviations related to the state of Kansas.

The climate of Kansas is continental, with cool winters and hot summers. Located in the Midwest, the state often experiences extreme weather and temperature fluctuations, as it is not protected from both cold air intrusions from Canada and warm air from more southerly regions and the Gulf of Mexico.

GNP per capita – $ 35,013 (2008). Industry: aviation (aircraft building), mechanical engineering (transport equipment), oil and gas production, oil refining, mining, food (meat canning, flour milling), publishing, chemical, light industry. Agriculture: cattle breeding (cattle, pig breeding); crop production (wheat, corn, sorghum, daocerne, oats, soybeans, cotton), meat and dairy. Service sector: tourism, financial, trade.


The capital of Kansas is located in the northeast corner of the state on the banks of the Kansas River. Topeka is located on the historic Oregon Trail where pioneers crossed the river via Papin’s Ferry.

Missouri is about 60 miles to the east and Nebraska about 80 miles to the north, making visits to these states an easy walk on a Midwest vacation.

There are many great things to do in Topeka, including the Air Combat Museum, natural history and art museums, theatres, botanical gardens and many parks. As with much of Kansas, Topeka can attract vigorous storm chasers with its very common thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes. Storms pass quickly though, and the light becomes brilliant in moments.

For those looking for a family friendly place to live, the people are welcoming here and the opportunities are solid with government, education, social security, retail and generating the most jobs.

Topeka is at the heart of the Bible Belt and is often cited as the birthplace of Pentecostalism. It was the home of the Rev. Charles Sheldon, a Kansasian who coined the now famous phrase, “What Will Jesus Do?”

  • The word Topeka means “dig a good potato” in the native language of Kansa.
  • Bathtubs are not allowed in Topeka. (We hope the souls are ok!)
  • Topeka is one of the top cities in the United States for the widest variations in temperature, climate and winds. Temperature averages range from 17°F in January to 90°F in July.

Check out our Topeka attractions map for these other great things to do on a Kansas vacation :

Kansas State Capitol
The historic Kansas State Capital Building is ranked among the city’s top destinations for visitors of all ages. The Capitol contains extensive murals and other large-scale artwork depicting the history of Kansas and the United States of America.

Free tours are offered with the options of the Historical Tour or the Dome Tour. Visit the outer dome viewing area at the very top of the state building for a magnificent view of the entire city. Highlights include the breathtaking stained glass dome and the triple fountains that guard the entrance to the Kansas Capitol Building.

Brown v. Board of Education Topeka National Historic Landmark
This site is dedicated to the significant civil rights decision of 1952, the first decisive step in ending legal segregation in public schools. As appropriate, this educational monument is located in the preserved Monroe Elementary School.

Brown v. Topeka Board of Education was effectively a consolidation of five similar cases from Kansas, the District of Columbia, Delaware, South Carolina, and Virginia. The site contains exhibitions and documentation of the trial and related cases and with video clips of perhaps one of the most important trials of the century.

Topeka Zoo
Topeka Zoological Park is a world class zoo famous for the first golden eagle chick born in captivity. The zoo operates conservation and education programs throughout the state with support to Kansas school systems.

The wide range of exhibits show animals in near-environments and include theAfrican Savannah, Black Bear Forests, Tropical Rainforest and Jungle Cats. Special summer courses and a petting zoo cater to younger people. This is an all day family adventure to round off a great Kansas vacation.

Kansas State Symbols

Kansas State Facts, Symbols and History
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