The Spanish explorer and conqueror Francisco Vásquez de Coronado was the first white person to enter the Kansas region. In April 1541 Coronado led an expedition from the region of Spanish New Mexico in search of a fabled wealthy kingdom called Quivira, which was actually only a village of the Wichita people living in what is now Kansas. The expedition was guided by a native inhabitant known as the Turk (because his headwrapping looked to the Spanish like a turban), who had promised the Spaniards the gold and silver of Quivira. After a difficult journey, Coronado finally reached Quivira in July, but finding none of the promised riches and suspecting that his guide had misled him, Coronado had the Turk killed. The Spaniards remained among the native inhabitants for nearly a month and then returned to the New Mexico region. Spain showed little interest in the Kansas area until more than 150 years later.
In 1682 René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, finished a journey down the Mississippi River by claiming all the land drained by the river for France, including present-day Kansas. The French then conducted an extensive fur trading operation along the Mississippi and its tributaries. As part of that effort, they sent traders and explorers into the lower Missouri River valley to win the friendship of the peoples there. In 1720 the Spanish, now concerned about French activity, dispatched a small force under Pedro de Villasur from Santa Fe to drive out the French. Pawnee attacked and killed Villasur’s men, and the French took undisputed possession of the Missouri Valley region. From 1744 until 1764 the French occupied Fort Cavagnial, a trading and military post, near present-day Leavenworth. From there they traded with the local peoples.
In 1763 after the French and Indian War, the last in a series of battles between Great Britain and France for domination in North America, France lost nearly all its North American territory, called the Louisiana Territory (Louisiane, in French). But in 1762 France had secretly ceded all its lands west of the Mississippi to Spain, France’s ally in the war. France then regained the land in 1800 under another secret agreement with Spain, and in 1803 the United States acquired what is now Kansas as part of the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France. Encarta "Kansas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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