Kansas celebrates its 160th birthday

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – On January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union as free state. It was the 34th state to join the Union.

Jessica Young, Kansas Historical Society Communication Specialist, said “The Kansas Historical Society will be celebrating Kansas’ 160th birthday on Friday with a virtual celebration. Our education department has created games, virtual lessons and videos to learn about Kansas History and since this year is also the bicentennial of the Santa Fe Trail, we are also having lessons and activities around that.  You can go to kshs.org and search for Kansas Day to participate.”

The Kansas Museum of History, although currently closed because of COVID-19 contains several artifacts that depict the history of Kansas, including Native American culture, the bison that roamed the prairie, the covered wagons that crossed Kansas on their way to the west coast, the log cabins that the first settlers built, the first plow that opened up the vast prairies, General Custer’s leather boots, the birthplace of the civil war, William Allen White’s printing press and of course the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.

The Kansas Historical Society is celebrating Kansas Day with several virtual events, including online activities and videos about Kansas History. Click here to sign up for Kansas History Day activities and to learn more about Kansas History.

By the 1850s immigration pressure was increasing and organization into a Territory was desired. The Territory of Kansas was an incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 30, 1854, until January 29, 1861 when it was admitted to the United States.

The land that would become Kansas Territory was considered to be infertile by 19th century American pioneers. It was called the Great American Desert, for it lacked trees and was dryer than land in the east. Technically, it was part of the vast grasslands that make up the North American Great Plains and supported giant herds of American bison.

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