Today is special to me. It’s Kansas Day. For those of you who don’t know what that means, Kansas officially became a state on January 29, 1861. Today, we celebrate 160 years of Statehood. The history of Kansas reaches back much farther than that, though.
When white settlers first came to the land that later became Kansas, four main tribes lived there. These were the Kanza (Kaw), the Osage, the Pawnee, and the Comanche. Best guesses for when whites encountered the native tribes in Kansas put the first contact sometime in the 1600s. Other tribes also called the region home over different periods. The oral traditions of each tribe are readily available. Much of their history has been transcribed into text.
Kansas was part of the land acquired through the Louisiana Purchase. It actually changed hands between France and Spain before its official acquisition by the United States, though. It was even designated an Indian territory from 1830 – 1854. At that time, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and introduced the nation to popular sovereignty. This new compromise sped the country towards Civil War through the impacts of Bleeding Kansas.
Kansas has enjoyed a proud history since becoming a state. Some of it is checkered with the same struggles for equality and individual rights that mirrors other states in the Union. I am proud to have been born a Kansan. I am thankful for the values I learned growing up there. While I no longer live in Kansas, I will always consider myself a Kansan. Today is my day to honor my home state. I hope you are proud of where you’re from. The lives we’ve built on the shoulders of our forefathers are not perfect. That doesn’t mean we can’t strive to make them better for ourselves and our neighbors. Reflecting on the words of my state’s motto, ad Astra per Aspera: to the stars (Heaven) through difficulty…
As always, this has been the World According to Chris. Please hit the like button or leave a reply.