Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys.Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state on January 29, 1861, making it the 34th state to join the United States.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.After the Civil War, the population of Kansas grew rapidly when waves of immigrants turned the prairie into farmland.By 2015, Kansas was one of the most productive agricultural states, producing high yields of wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans.) is the 15th-largest state by area and is the 34th most-populous of the 50 states with a population of 2,911,641. Mount Sunflower is Kansas' highest point at 4,041 feet (1,232 m).
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.
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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.
When it was officially opened to settlement by the U. government in 1854 with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine whether Kansas would become a free state or a slave state.