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named for the river, which is named for the native people, from French variant of Kansa, native name of the Siouan people who lived there (1722). It is a plural (see Arkansas). Established as a U.S. territory in 1854, admitted as a state 1861. Related: Kansan.
Note: In the 1850s, the state came to be known as “bleeding Kansas” because of the violence between hostile free-staters and pro-slavery settlers.