Kansas, which became a part of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase, was the birthplace of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Amelia Earhart and is the home of Pizza Hut, the helicopter and the rotary-dial telephone. Additionally, the geographic center of the mainland United States is near the central northern border of Kansas.
Kansas was named after the indigenous Kansa tribe. Though until the 1850s it was still officially Indian territory, European settlers began living in Kansas around 1830 and soon advocated for the U.S. government to open it officially for settlement. This was problematic, as a new state would unbalance the slave-free ratio of the Union. Nevertheless, Congress opened Kansas in 1853 and let the state vote on whether or not to allow slaves, leading to the period of violence known as Bleeding Kansas.
During the Civil War, one end of the Transcontinental Railroad started in Kansas and soon the trans-state railroad became a popular end point for cattle trails. During this cattle town period, Kansas became known for Western heroes such as Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, who helped keep the peace. In the 1930s, Kansas was one of the states most deeply affected by the Dust Bowl, and its weather is still known for terrible tornadoes both fictional, as in the book "The Wizard of Oz," and in fact.