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History of the Kansas City

The history of the Kansas City metropolitan area dates back to the 19th century. The Kansas City metropolitan area, straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, was a good place to build several settlements. When the area was opened to Euro-American settlement, the area became the first battlefield in the conflict in the American Civil War. Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO), was incorporated in 1850 on the banks of the Missouri River. [edit]Exploration [edit]Bourgmont The first documented French visitor to the Kansas City area was Etienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont, who was also the first European to explore the lower Missouri River. He was on the lam from French authorities after deserting his post as commander of Fort Detroit after being criticized for his handling of a Native American attack on the fort. Bourgmont lived with a Native American wife in the Missouri village about 90 miles (145 km) east near Brunswick, Missouri, and illegally traded furs. In order to clear his name, he wrote "Exact Description of Louisiana, of Its Harbors, Lands and Rivers, and Names of the Indian Tribes That Occupy It, and the Commerce and Advantages to Be Derived Therefrom for the Establishment of a Colony" in 1713 followed in 1714 by "The Route to Be Taken to Ascend the Missouri River." In these documents he described the junction of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, being the first to refer to them by those names. French cartographer Guillaume Delisle used the descriptions to make the first reasonably accurate map of the area. The French rewarded him by giving him their highest honors and naming him commander of the Missouri. He built the first fort (and first extended settlement in Missouri) in 1723 at Fort Orleans near his Brunswick home. In 1724 he led a gr

up of Native Americans probably up the Kansas River en route to the southwest to set up an alliance with the Commanche to fight the Spanish, thereby creating a New France empire extending from Montreal through Kansas City to New Mexico. To celebrate the success of the venture, he took the Native American chiefs on a junket to Paris to hunt with Louis XV and see the glory of France at Versailles and Fontainebleau. Bourgmont got promoted to official noble status and stayed in Normandy, not accompanying the chiefs back to the New World. According to legend, the Native Americans then slaughtered everybody in the Fort Orleans garrison. The Spanish took over the region in the Treaty of Paris (1763) but were not to play a major role in the area other than taxing and licensing all traffic on the Missouri River. The French continued their fur trade on the river under Spanish license. Lewis & Clark era Following the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 the Lewis and Clark Expedition left St. Louis on a mission to reach the Pacific Ocean. In 1804, Lewis and Clark camped for three days at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers in Kansas City, Kansas (today recognized at the Kaw Point Riverfront Park. [1]). During their stay at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas, they met French fur traders and mapped the area Quality Hill, calling it "a fine place for a fort." Because of the burgeoning trade up the Missouri River from St. Louis, especially following Lewis and Clark's expedition, the United States Government sought to create government posts all throughout the area. In 1808, Fort Osage was established twenty miles from the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers. In 1809, Louis Bertholet, the first white settler of Kansas City, Kansas, built a cabin three blocks south of Minnesota Avenue and Fifth Street