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What follows was created 1998-1999, to introduce students in two Kansas Character, Kansas Characters classes to some of the big Kansas eras, themes and peoples. I've left it up online for the benefit of students in later versions of the course. However note that since I no longer teach the course, the timeline has not been updated since 2000.  For more information and suggestions for further topics, visit the Kansas State Historical Society website - Sara Tucker

European Explorations Before the Territorial Period
Coronado in Kansas: 1st recorded entry of Europeans into area. Spanish withdraw, but presence in North America introduces horse, plus missionaries and traders in overall area.
1600s- 700sFrench explorers & fur traders down from Canada via Mississippi (17th) and up Missouri (early 18th); ally with Kansa & Osage.
1803 Louisiana Purchase: Kansas becomes US territory 
1804-1820US explorations of new territory: Lewis & Clark 1804, Major Stephen H. Long's expedition 1819-20 (which labels  whole plains area "Great American Desert" fit only for non-farming, uncivilized peoples. 
Euro-American presence & interaction with native inhabitants expands
- Sante Fe Trail opens 1821.  
1825 Council Grove treaty with Osage to allow safe passage to travellers; see Susan Shelby Magoffin trail diary 1846-7.
- Frontier forts established (Ft Leavenworth 1827)
- Indian Missions founded in E. Kansas 1829: Shawnee Methodist Mission - Rev Thomas Johnson & wife, 1831: Shawnee Baptist Mission opened: Idea of Isaac McCoy:  missionionaries included Johnston Lykins, Jotham Meeker, John G. Pratt  
- 1830 "Indian Removal" moves eastern Native American tribes west of Mississippi to Great American Desert lands including Kansas; land to be held by them forever (revised starting 1853) 
-  Oregon Trail cuts across NE Kansas
Territorial and Civil War Era 1854-65
1854Kansas-Nebraska Act allows former Indian lands opened (as of May 30, 1854) to Euro-American settlement, leaves open to settler vote question of whether each will be slave or free
March 1854Eli Thayer of Massachusetts creats Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Society (1855 becomes New England Emigrant Aid Society) to send settlers committed to Free State cause.
1850sEarliest Kansas settlers arrive
- Emigrant Aid's Dr. Charles Robinson and Samuel C. Pomeroy; James H. Lane all become important Free State cause fighters and early Kansas state politicians; Robinson helps found both Lawrence and Topeka (with Cyrus K. Holliday) 
- Isaac T. Goodnow helps found Manhattan 
- John Brown, rabid free stater, arrives in Osawatomie 
- Clarina Nichols  arrives to urge Kansas state constitution, when written, give women equal rights 
- John Ritchie and wife arrive in Topeka 
- Robert Gaston Elliot founds Kansas Free State newspaper 1854 
Other free state newspaper editors include John Speer  and T. Dwight Thatcher 
- Thomas Ewing Jr. becomes first supreme court chief justice; commands Ks-Mo Border district  in Civil War.
- Edwin Tucker comes to Kansas 1857 as boy, keeps diary; later serves in legislature, is early Washburn U. regent 
- Thomas C. Wells letters describe life in Manhattan Kansas 1856-60 
- Edward Fitch arrives 1855, marries Sara Fitch, dies 1863 in Quantrill's raid: see Kansas History articles for many letters of both
1856-1858Bleeding Kansas: violence erupts between Missouri "ruffians" and Kansas Free State "Jayhawkers"; resulting disputed elections and events pushes whole nation closer to confrontation 
- 2 women Free State supporters publish influenctial books: Hannah H. Ropes (Six Months in Kansas) and Sara T. L. Robinson (Kansas: Its Interior and Exterior Life
- Julia Louisa Lovejoy writes letters home about emigrant experiences in Kansas 
- by 1857 Free Stater cause pretty safe in crucial NE Kansas Topeka-Lawrence corridor; increased anti-slave settlement and reports of "bogus" pro-slave elections means US Congress won't accept Pro-Slave Lecompton Consitution, laws. But some violence continues to south (including John Brown's  Osawatomie) through 1857-8
1859-60Free State Wyandotte Constitution drafted 1859; thanks to Clarina Nichols' work, some increased womens rights included
Jan 29, 1861Kansas becomes a state: Robinson 1st governor, Lane and Pomeroy 1st senators
1861-1865Civil War Era 
- many Kansas regiments serve in Union army; figures include Gen. James G. Blunt 
- Aug 21, 1863 Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence 
- Oct 1864 Price's Raid (most major Civil War fighting in Kansas)
Era of Settlement, Expansion, Agrarian Protest, c 1860s-1890  
1860s-1880sAge of Industrial, RR expansion. 1859 Atchison, Topeka & Sante Fe RR organized in Topeka; 1862 Congress OKs transcontinental RR. 1877 barbed wire helps fence prairies
1860s-80sGreat Plains settled: 1862 Homestead Act, buffalo slaughers, etc open up plains to common men and women. Howard Ruede, Abbie Bright, Ise family. Mary "Mother" Bickerdyke, Civil War Nurse, convinces 300 veterans to move to Kansas. Foreign immigration increases 1870s-90s; 1874 Russian Mennonites bring hard red winter wheat.
1850s-onKansas towns and cities grow. Ex:  Martha Farnsworth 
1870s-African-Americans: Exodusters: former slaves come to Kansas 1877 as Reconstruction ends in south; Nicodemus founded 1877; 1889 Alfred Fairfax 1st Black elected to state legislature
c 1867-late 1880sCattle trails link up with RR: 1867 Abilene 1st railhead. Cattle drives, cow towns follow until 1886 blizzard, drouth, overgrazing, fencing end open range grazing, trail drives; Nat Love famous black cowboy known as "Deadwood Dick"; Wyatt Earp appointed to Wichita Police 1875; later to Dodge City
1860s-Kansas women's suffrage expands, but not complete: 1867 campaign fails; 1886 Kansas women get right to vote in municpal elections (but not state or national); 1887 Susan Madora Salter elected mayor of Argonia (1st woman in nation).
1867Lucy Hobbs Taylor of Lawrence 1st woman dentist in Kansas
1880Kansas first state to adopt constitutional amendment establishing prohibition
1867-1930Orphan Trains to Kansas
Protest, Reform, Changing Life in Kansas, c. 1890-1920s
1890s Populist Era: 1890 Kansas People's (Populist) Party founded; important Populist speakers include Mary Elizabeth Lease, Annie Laporte Diggs and "Sockless" Jerry Simpson. William A. Peffer 1st Populist senator in nation 1891; 1892 Populist Lorenzo Lewellings elected governor; 1893 "Legislative War" for control Ks House of Representatives
1890s 1910s Progressive Era: William Allen White1895 begins publishing Emporia  Gazette;  Progressive governors E.W. Hoch  and Walter Stubbs bring reform
1890s-1920sKansas arts and education develops: artist  Birger Sandzen arrives Lindsborg 1894 (d. 1954); Margaret Hill McCarter of Topeka publishes 15+ novels, is 1st woman to address Republican National Convention
1897Charles M. Sheldon publishes In His Steps;  is prohibitionist
1890s-1901Carrie Nation's saloon smashing campaign to make prohibition actually enforced; also see other prohibitionists: Dr. Eva Harding, Rev. Frank Emerson, Rev. John Thomas McFarland 
1890s-1920sProminent African-Americans: Beginning of longest-running Black newspaper in US: Nick Chiles founds the Plaindealer 1899; John A. Gregg (b. 1877) grad KU 1902, becomes prominent pastor Kansas and elsewhere
1890sSports: James A. Naismith (basketball inventor) coaches KU basketball
1904-1923Samuel Crumbine, MD introduces progressive public health
1910s-20sWomen in politics: Kansas woman suffrage amendment ratified; 1918 Minnie Grinstead 1st woman elected to Kansas legislature; 1920s Lila Day Monroe works to keep women's issues important politically 
1910s-Publishing: 1911 Edgar Watson Howe, Atchison, begins publication of E. W. Howe's Monthly; 1912 E. Haldeman-Julius takes over Appeal to Reason, with wife Marcet begins book publishing
1919-1930sDr. John R. Brinkley claims successful goat gland therapy (eventually debunked); later runs unsuccessfully for governor
1925Dr. Karl Menninger helps found Menninger Sanitarium in Topeka 
1928Senator Charles Curtis elected Vice-President of US; only Native American in that office
Depression, Drought and Dust: 1930s
1929-39 Depression  in Kansas
1933-1938Drought and dust storms across Great Plains - region becomes "Dust Bowl"
1932Walter H. and Olive Ann Beech found Beech Aircraft in Wichita
1930s"Goat Doctor" John R. Brinkley; runs for governor 
1930sAdventurous Kansas Women: 1937 Amelia Earhart  disappears; Osa Johnson continues African/Asian photography, lectures after husband Martin dies 1937
1936Ks. Gov Alf Landon unsuccessful run for president
1930s-40sJohn Steuart Curry does statehouse murals
1930sCharlie Parker creats bebop in Kansas City
Today's Kansas: World War II and Beyond
1941-1945 WWII era: Kansans mobilized to serve in military and in homefront; bases & defense plants in Kansas; 
1940s-50sDwight D. Eisenhower: Runs D-Day; elected President of US
1949Georgia Neese Clark (Gray) US Treasurer
1950sWilliam Inge dramas set in Kansas very successful on Broadway
1954Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka overturns segregation; various Topekans involved
1980sElizabeth "Grandma" Layton gains national reputation for her paintings
1933-1980s Zula Bennington Greene writes "Peggy of the Flint Hills" column