The first Spanish explorers arrived in Kansas in 1541, followed by Lewis and Clark in 1804. Westward migration brought the first white settlers - government agents in 1808 and missionaries in 1825. Oil and gas were discovered in 1851. In 1854, Kansas became a territory with a population of 1,500 white people. On January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as the 34th state with a constitution that prohibits slavery. In 1862, Kansas passed the Homestead Act. Homesteaders could claim 160 acres of land by living on it for five years.
Kansas is named for the Kansa tribe, whose name means People of the Wind. Famous for its farming, oil, aircraft industry, and modern cities, Kansas is a proud, forward-looking state.