A map of KansasKansas is located in the Midwest region of the United States. All of Kansas lies in the Great Plains. Mostly flat, it gradually increases in elevation from east to west by about 3000 feet (900 metres). Once covered in prairie grassland, today Kansas is famous for its endless fields of wheat, although the eastern third of the state features many hills and forests. The state is drained chiefly by the Kansas (known locally as the Kaw) and Arkansas rivers, both of flow from west to east across the state.
Prairie grasslands on the Great Plains of Kansas
An aerial view of Kansas City, looking east. The large river forming a loop on the left is the Missouri. Kansas River meets the...Read More >>An aerial view of Kansas City, looking east. The large river forming a loop on the left is the Missouri. Kansas River meets the Missouri in the centre of the photo (Kaw Point is just to the left of the confluence). Kansas City, Kansas is at the foot of the picture, while the high-rise buildings of Kansas City, Missouri are on the right of the picture, to the right of the bend in the Missouri River.
The name "Kansas" comes from the Native American Kansa or Kaw people, whose name means "people of the south wind” in their own language (part of Siouan group), although this was probably not the phrase’s original meaning. The French named what is now the Kansas River the Cansez after the local people, and it became the name of the whole area after the United States acquired it from France in the early 19th century.
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is one of the few large tracts of natural prairie grassland remaining in the United States.
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