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History - November 20, 2015

The new state bird for West Kansas was to be the pheasant. (Flickr Photo by gary noon)

Q: In the early 1990s, a number of residents in western Kansas considered the idea of breaking away from the rest of Kansas to create their own state. They even held a constitutional convention in Ulysses to discuss their plans. This secession movement was short-lived, but the group did come up with a name for their new state. What was it?

A: West Kansas 

On September 11, 1992, a constitutional convention was held in Ulysses, where residents from several southwestern Kansas counties discussed the idea of breaking away from the rest of the state. The group was hoping to form its own new and separate state. At the time, many western Kansans were upset about taxes, school financing and other issues.

While that part of the state never did succeed in seceding, those gathered at the meeting did agree on a name for their new state: West Kansas. They also selected a new state bird, the pheasant. And, they decided on a new state flower, the yucca. Alas, secession never materialized. Consequently, there never was a West Kansas. Fortunately, there still is a western Kansas!

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