Kansas is the epitome of the Wild West. The name is derived from the word Kansa and means “people of the south wind” in the Sioux language. In the vastness of this state the myth “America” arose and there is still an endless prairie here. Kansas is almost exactly in the middle of the United States, and therefore as far from the Atlantic Ocean as it is from the Pacific.
Although the summers in Kansas are hot and dry, much of the country lives off of agriculture. For travelers interested in American history, Kansas is a worthwhile destination as well as nature lovers. Europeans were not allowed to settle in Kansas until 1854, as the land was reserved for Indian tribes such as the Apaches and Comanches. The country is nicknamed “the sunflower state”.
With a total population of 2,917,220, Kansas is bordered by Nebraska (to the north), Oklahoma (to the south), Colorado (to the west), and Missouri to the east. The largest and most famous cities are Kansas City and Wichita but the political capital is Topeka. Almost a third of all Kansas residents are of German descent. That’s the highest percentage in all of America. The number of those who speak German is even higher, as Kansas also has many descendants of immigrants from Austria and Switzerland. The country lives mainly from agriculture and is also known as the “bread basket of the USA” because of its wheat production. In addition, cattle is raised here on a large scale. Kansas has the largest natural gas field on earth and has a successful economic foothold in aircraft construction.
Kansas is a good place to live and work. This is not least due to the fact that it is relatively flat – even if it borders on the Rocky Mountains. But it is rather the foothills of this spectacular range of mountains that arrive in Kansas as “high hills”. What Kansas may not have in height, it certainly has in width. The prairies, which were once ruled by the Indians and later by the cowboys, seem to be endless. The “Flint Hills” are world famous; an unusually green, lush prairie landscape that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Although the continental climate with its hot and dry summers creates good travel conditions, the weather is not entirely without it. The temperatures can change very quickly – upwards as well as downwards. In winter, the country is therefore often hit by blizzards. Kansas is also the US state with the most tornadoes.
The entire history of America can be traced in Kansas. Initially, Indian tribes lived here, whose reservations are now almost all in the northeast of the state and can of course also be visited there. One of the most famous reservations is that of the Iowa – Indians. It is located right on the border with the neighboring state of Nebraska. The “Kansas History Center” in the capital Topeka offers a good historical overview. Those who are more interested in the immediate past can visit the Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum in Abilene. On the huge site there is not only the house in which the former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower (nickname “Ike”) spent his childhood. There is also an extensive library and an Eisenhower Museum here. Other attractions such as the “Smokey Valley” excursion train can be easily reached on foot from there.
If you want to experience the Wild West up close, visit the city of Dodge City. Dodge City is world famous from both films and novels; one of its most famous residents was probably the gunslinger Wyatt Earp. To this day, daredevil rodeos are held in Dodge City that are definitely not to be missed.
In Wichita, the theme park “Wild West World” is an entertaining way to take a trip into the wild past of Kansas. Not far from there is one of the largest space exhibitions in the world in the “Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center”.
Kansas is a country whose people love and live with animals. Cattle breeding plays an important role here, but horses are also very important. Horse racing and equestrian sports are therefore part of Kansas like amen is part of the church. In addition to horseback riding, Kansas is great for golfing, hiking, and water sports. The country is not by the sea, but it has beautiful lakes. In the numerous theme and amusement parks that are scattered all over the country, even little visitors get their money’s worth during the holidays.