Kansas, a state in the central United States. It is bordered by Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Colorado. The geographic center of the United States, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, is in Smith County, Kansas. The total area of Kansas is 82,282 square miles (213,110 km 2 ).

Kansas is one of the nation's leading agricultural states and is sometimes called the “Breadbasket of the Nation.” Its economy, however, has become increasingly diversified, and manufacturing and services are now more important than agriculture. Kansas is known for sunflowers, vast fields of wheat, seemingly endless plains, and, historically, such frontier cattle towns as Dodge City and Abilene.

KansasKansas state bird - Western meadowlark
Kansas in brief
General information
Statehood: Jan. 29, 1861, the 34th state.
State abbreviations: Kans. or Kan. (traditional); KS (postal).
State capital: Topeka, since 1861. Earlier capitals were Fort Leavenworth (1854), Shawnee Mission (1854-1855), Pawnee (1855), and Lecompton (1855-1861).
State motto: Ad Astra per Aspera (To the Stars Through Difficulties).
Popular name: The Sunflower State.
State song: "Home on the Range." Words by Brewster Higley; music by Daniel Kelley.
Symbols of Kansas
State bird: Western meadowlark.
State flower: Native sunflower.
State tree: Cottonwood.
State flag and seal: Kansas's state flag, adopted in 1927, has the state seal centered above the word Kansas on a blue background. The state crest-a twisted blue and gold bar with a sunflower, the state flower, is above the state seal. The flag was modified in 1963. On the state seal, adopted in 1861, the rising sun represents the East, from where most Kansas settlers came. The 34 stars stand for Kansas as the 34th state. The farmer plowing and the settlers' cabin symbolized the future prosperity of the state through agriculture.
Land and climate
Area: 82,282 mi2 (213,110 km2), including 459 mi2 (1,189 km2) of inland water.
Elevation: Highest--Mount Sunflower, 4,039 ft (1,231 m) above sea level. Lowest--680 ft. (207 m) above sea level along the Verdigris River in Montgomery County.
Record high temperature: 121 °F (49 °C), at Fredonia on July 18, 1936, and near Alton on July 24, 1936.
Record low temperature: –40 °F (–40 °C), at Lebanon on Feb. 13, 1905.
Average July temperature: 78 °F (26 °C).
Average January temperature: 30 °F (–1 °C).
Average yearly precipitation: 27 in (69 cm).
People
Population: 2,688,418.
Rank among the states: 32nd.
Density: 33 persons per mi2 (13 per km2), U.S. average 78 per mi2 (30 per km2).
Distribution: 71 percent urban, 29 percent rural.
Largest cities in Kansas: Wichita (344,284); Overland Park (149,080); Kansas City (146,866); Topeka (122,377); Olathe (92,962); Lawrence (80,098).
Economy
Chief products
Agriculture: beef cattle, corn, grain sorghum, hay, hogs, soybeans, sunflowers, wheat.
Manufacturing: chemicals, food products, machinery, transportation equipment.
Mining: natural gas, petroleum.
Government
State government
Governor: 4-year term.
State senators: 40; 4-year terms.
State representatives: 125; 2-year terms.
Counties: 105.
Federal government
United States senators: 2.
United States representatives: 4.
Electoral votes: 6.
Sources of information
For information about tourism, write to: Kansas Department of Commerce, Travel and Tourism Development Division, 1000 S.W. Jackson St., Suite 100, Topeka, KS 66612-1321. The Web site at http://www.travelks.com also provides information. The Department of Commerce and Housing also handles requests for information about the state's economy.
The state's official Web site at http://www.accesskansas.org also provides a gateway to much information on Kansas's economy, government, and history.
Places to visit in Kansas
Following are brief descriptions of some of Kansas's many interesting places to visit:
Boot Hill Museum, in Dodge City, is on the original site of the Boot Hill cemetery. The site consists of historic and reconstructed buildings, including the one-block reconstruction of Front Street, the original business district of Old Dodge City.
Eisenhower Library and Museum, in Abilene, house the mementos and papers of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. His boyhood home and the Place of Meditation, where Eisenhower and his wife Mamie are buried, are also there.
Exploration Place, in Wichita, features interactive exhibits and activities related to flight, health and human life, people, places, and the environment of Kansas.
Fort Larned National Historic Site, near Larned, includes a fort built in the 1860's to protect travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Many of the buildings have been restored.
Fort Riley, near Junction City, became famous as a cavalry center. Many buildings, including a cavalry museum, an early Kansas Capitol, and the home of General George A. Custer, still stand on the grounds of the fort. It is also an active U.S. military base.
Fort Scott National Historic Site, in Fort Scott, is a restored cavalry post of the 1840's. Eleven historic buildings, including a hospital, guardhouse, barracks, and officers' quarters, stand on the site.
Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, in Hutchinson, is a wide-ranging museum that features a large space exploration exhibit. The exhibit contains original spacecraft, space suits, and a lunar roving vehicle.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, in the Flint Hills region in the Southeastern Plains, has almost 11,000 acres (4,500 hectares) of rolling hills covered with one of the nation's last unplowed areas of tallgrass prairie. The preserve includes a nature trail and a historic ranch and one-room schoolhouse.
State parks and lakes. Kansas's system of state recreation areas includes 23 state parks, about 50 state lakes, and many small roadside parks. For information about the parks and lakes, write to Director, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, 900 Southwest Jackson, Suite 502, Topeka, KS 66603.