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Kansas is a state in the central United States. Bounded on the north by Nebraska, on the east by Missouri, on the south by Oklahoma, and on the west by Colorado, Kansas was originally home to various nomadic and settled Native American nations. The area that became Kansas came to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. It was later part of the Louisiana and Missouri territories. From 1821 to 1854, it was part of unorganized territory. Per provisions of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, it became a portion of the Kansas Territory. Anti and pro-slavery settlers battled over the status of slavery in the territory, leading to violent clashes. Disputes over slavery slowed the move to statehood, but Congress finally admitted Kansas as the thirty-fourth state in the Union on January 29, 1861. Kansas entered the Union as a free state and remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War. Its capital is Topeka.
Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1997), 568-70; A. Bower Sageser, “Kansas,” Dictionary of American History , rev. ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), 4:25-26; “An Act for the Admission of Kansas into the Union,” 29 January 1861, Statutes at Large of the United States 12 (1863):126-28.