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Wichita(wĭch`ĭtô), Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Caddoan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ). They formerly occupied central Kansas and ranged into Oklahoma and Texas. The Wichita were the people of QuiviraQuivira
, land sought and reached by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1541 and explored by later Spanish expeditions (1593 and 1601). The records do not make it entirely clear exactly where Quivira was located.
..... Click the link for more information. , which Francisco CoronadoCoronado, Francisco Vásquez de
, c.1510–1554, Spanish explorer. He went to Mexico with Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza and in 1538 was made governor of Nueva Galicia.
..... Click the link for more information. visited in 1541. Juan de PadillaPadilla, Juan de
, c.1490–1521, Spanish revolutionary leader in the war of the comuneros [municipalities] against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Charles's conduct and his foreign advisers offended Spanish national feeling and led to a rising in Toledo under Padilla's
..... Click the link for more information. , left by the expedition to undertake the Christianization of the Native Americans, was the earliest missionary among the Plains Indians. Padilla, however, was killed by Native Americans three years later. In 1662 the Wichita were defeated by Diego Dionisio de Peñalosa. By 1765, forced southward by hostile northern and eastern tribes, they had a village on the north fork of the Red River in Oklahoma. Following a severe smallpox epidemic, they abandoned the village, moving to the present site of Fort Sill; later they moved again, and in the Civil War they fled for a time to Kansas; the site became Wichita, Kans. In 1872 they ceded all their lands to the United States. Later they were settled on a reservation, now dissolved, in W Oklahoma. In 1990 there were over 1,200 Wichita in the United States. Culturally the Wichita were similar to their Plains relatives the Pawnee. The French called the Wichita Panis piqués, or Pawnee Picts, because they practiced tattooing. Distinctive to the Wichita was the conical grass house, which resembled a haystack. They practiced a dance for agricultural fertility, and in the late 19th cent. they adopted the Ghost DanceGhost Dance,
central ritual of the messianic religion instituted in the late 19th cent. by a Paiute named Wovoka. The religion prophesied the peaceful end of the westward expansion of whites and a return of the land to the Native Americans.
..... Click the link for more information. .
Wichita(wĭch`ĭtô), city (1990 pop. 304,011), seat of Sedgwick co., S central Kans., at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers; inc. 1870. It is the chief commercial and industrial center of S Kansas and the largest city in the state. It has railroad shops, flour mills, meatpacking plants, grain elevators, oil refineries, and a major aircraft industry. Other manufactures include machinery, electrical products, and computer equipment.
Wichita is located on the site of a Native American village (1863–65) inhabited by Wichitas who had been driven out of Oklahoma and Texas for their Union sympathies during the Civil War. A trading post was established there in 1864, and the city was founded in 1868 by settlers serving the Chisholm TrailChisholm Trail,
route over which vast herds of cattle were driven from Texas to the railheads in Kansas after the Civil War. Its name is generally believed to come from Jesse Chisholm, a part-Cherokee trader who, in the spring of 1866, drove his wagon, heavily loaded with
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1872 the railroad was extended to Wichita and the city boomed as a cow town. After 1880 it became the trade center of an agricultural and livestock region. Oil was discovered just E of Wichita in 1915.
The city has many civic and cultural facilities, including art museums, a symphony orchestra, a modernistic convention and cultural complex (Century II), and a large speech-and-hearing rehabilitation center. It has fine parks, a zoo, a "cow-town" restoration, and two large stadiums. It is the seat of Wichita State Univ., Friends Univ., and Newman Univ. Nearby is McConnell Air Force Base.
a city in the United States, in the state of Kansas; situated on the Arkansas River. Population, 277,000 (1970; including suburbs, 389,000). Wichita, a railroad junction, is an industrial city. It manufactures aircraft, farm machinery, drilling equipment, leather goods, and footwear. Oil refining is another important industry in an area that contains many oil and natural gas wells. The city also produces foodstuffs and is a trading center for grain and cattle. Wichita has two universities.