Kansas entered into statehood on Jan. 29, 1861, as the 34th state of the United States. The country admitted the state as a free state, further angering the slave states and supporters of slavery. The land that would become Kansas became part of the United States following the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. However, following the purchase, the land became Indian territory, prohibiting the settlement of non-Native Americans.Continue Reading
In 1853, Fort Riley opened in the future state as a means of protecting settlers along the Oregon and Santa Fe trails. In 1854, the territories of Kansas and Nebraska became open for settlement following the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The act permitted the settlers of the territories to decide upon the whether the future states would support slavery or make it illegal. The territory became a hot bed of violence due to clashes between pro and anti-slavery groups. John Brown led abolitionist guerrilla warfare in the territory against pro-slavery groups.
During the Civil War the state's troops had the highest rate of deaths during the Civil War, although the territory was spared of any major devastating battles.
The state continued to be a hotbed for the racial equality debate into the 20th century. The Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case went to the Supreme Court, ending the practice of segregation in the country.Learn more about US History