Francisco de Leyva y Bonnilla and Antonio Guitierrez de Humana led another Spanish expedition to Kansas in 1593. It ended when the two men had an argument and Humana killed Bonnilla. It is believed Indians killed the rest of the expedition. In 1601, the governor of New Mexico, Juan de Onate, went in search of the 1593 expedition. After questioning some Wichita Indians about the earlier expedition and receiving no clear answers, he gave up the search and returned to New Mexico.
The French laid claim to Kansas in 1682 as part of the territory of Louisiana. Robert de LaSalle, a French explorer, claimed an area from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Appalachian Mountains in the east for the French Empire. He also claimed the land from Canada southward to the Gulf of Mexico.
The name Kansas was first used on maps drawn by Frenchmen Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette after the Kansa (or Kaw) Indian tribe they found living there. The French wanted the land not for gold, but for trade. They believed they could make money by trading with the Indians for fur-bearing animals living in Kansas. Frenchman Charles Claude du Tisne came to Kansas and set up trade agreements with the Osage, who had moved to southeastern Kansas in the late 1600s.
In the 1700s, the Comanche and Kiowa nations moved to Kansas. They lived mainly in western part of the state. They hunted the buffalo herds that roamed the plains and were usually on the move following the herds. Hostilities often occurred between Indian tribes and with the French and Spanish explorers who also claimed the land. Eventually, the Plains Apache were forced off their land and they moved to New Mexico. After conflicts with the Comanche and the Kiowa, the Wichita Indians left Kansas and went to Texas.
Frenchman Etienne Veniard de Bourgmont came to eastern Kansas in the 1720s to trade with the Indians. He traded with the Kansa and gave guns to the Comanches to use against the Spanish. The French built Fort Cavagnial in 1744, near what is now Fort Leavenworth. The fort's troops regulated trade in the area until it was abandoned in 1764. By the 1790s, the Chouteau family had established strong ties for trading with the Indians living in eastern Kansas. In 1800, Spain officially yielded control of the Louisiana territory to France.
Study Guide Questions