For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes.
Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys.
Southwest Kansas, however, was still a part of Spain, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas until the conclusion of the Mexican–American War in 1848, when these lands were ceded to the United States.
From 1812 to 1821, Kansas was part of the Missouri Territory.
The geographic center of the 48 contiguous states is in Smith County near Lebanon.
Until 1989, the Meades Ranch Triangulation Station in Osborne County was the geodetic center of North America: the central reference point for all maps of North America.
Many African Americans also looked to Kansas as the land of "John Brown" and, led by freedmen like Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, began establishing black colonies in the state.
Kansas was first settled by European Americans in 1812, in what is now Bonner Springs, but the pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery issue.
Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west.
The state is divided into 105 counties with 628 cities, and is located equidistant from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
By that time the violence in Kansas had largely subsided, but during the Civil War, on August 21, 1863, William Quantrill led several hundred men on a raid into Lawrence, destroying much of the city and killing nearly 200 people.
He was roundly condemned by both the conventional Confederate military and the partisan rangers commissioned by the Missouri legislature.The first European to set foot in present-day Kansas was the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, who explored the area in 1541.