Wichita (/wtt/ WITCH-i-taw) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area whose estimated population in 2015 was 644,610. As of 2017, the city of Wichita had an estimated population of 391,586.
The city began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860s and was incorporated in 1870. It subsequently became a destination for cattle drives north from Texas to railroads, earning it the nickname "Cowtown". In the 1920s and 1930s, businessmen and aeronautical engineers established aircraft manufacturing companies in Wichita including Beechcraft, Cessna, and Stearman Aircraft. The city transformed into a hub of U.S. aircraft production and became known as "The Air Capital of the World".Textron Aviation, Learjet, Airbus and Spirit AeroSystems continue to operate design and manufacturing facilities in Wichita, and the city remains a major center of the U.S. aircraft industry. Wichita is also home to McConnell Air Force Base.
As an industrial hub and the largest city in the state, Wichita is an area center of culture, media, and trade. It hosts several large museums, theaters, parks, and entertainment venues, notably Intrust Bank Arena. Wichita State University is the third largest in the state. Wichita is also home to the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center and Kansas's largest airport, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.
Archaeological evidence indicates human habitation near the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers, the site of present-day Wichita, as early as 3000 B.C. In 1541, a Spanish expedition led by explorer Francisco Vzquez de Coronado found the area populated by the Quivira, or Wichita, people. Conflict with the Osage in the 1750s drove the Wichita further south. Prior to American settlement of the region, the site was located in the territory of the Kiowa. Claimed first by France as part of Louisiana and later acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it became part of Kansas Territory in 1854 and then the state of Kansas in 1861.
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