/wich"i taw'/, n., pl. Wichitas for 1.
1. a member of a tribe of North American Indians, originally of Kansas but relocated in Oklahoma after the Civil War.
2. the Caddoan language of the Wichita.
3. a city in S Kansas, on the Arkansas River. 279,272.

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City (pop., 2000: 344,284), south-central Kansas, U.S. On the Arkansas River, the city was founded in 1864 as a trading post on the site of a Wichita Indian village; it developed with the Texas cattle trade along the Chisholm Trail and the rapid spread of agricultural settlement along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Co. In the 1870s it was a major cattle-shipping centre.

It developed as a centre of the aircraft industry in the 1920s. Aircraft construction continues; other economic activities include oil refining, grain processing and storage, and livestock marketing.

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      city, seat (1870) of Sedgwick county, south-central Kansas, U.S. It lies on the Arkansas River near the mouth of the Little Arkansas, about 140 miles (225 km) southwest of Topeka. The city site is a gently rolling plain at an elevation of about 1,300 feet (400 metres). Summers are hot and winters cool; precipitation is moderate and falls mainly during the warm months.

      Wichita, the largest city in the state, is at the heart of a three-county metropolitan area. Nearby communities include Park City (north), Andover (east), and Derby and Haysville (south). Inc. city, 1871. Area city, 139 square miles (360 square km). Pop. (1990) city, 304,011; Wichita MSA, 485,270; (2000) city, 344,284; Wichita MSA, 545,220.

      Wichita was founded in 1864 as a trading post on the site of a village of the Wichita Indians. It owed its early development to the Texas cattle (livestock) trade along the Chisholm Trail and to the rapid spread of agricultural settlement along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, then under construction. In its early years Wichita was a stopover on cattle drives to Abilene (Kansas) and other points as the railroad moved west; in 1872 the line reached Wichita, and the city became a major cattle-shipping centre. By 1875 farmers' fences were obstructing the movement of beef herds, but grain became an important commodity.

      Growth was continuous and rapid after 1900, with the population surpassing 100,000 in the 1920s and 250,000 in the 1950s. Meatpacking was a major industrial activity at the beginning of the 20th century, but aircraft manufacturing, begun in the 1920s, soon dominated Wichita's economy. The discovery of oil there added to the city's wealth. People of European ancestry have for long constituted the great majority of the population. African Americans, roughly one-tenth of the total, constitute the largest minority group, and there are small but growing communities of Hispanics and Asians.

The contemporary city
      Wichita's economy has become much more diversified since the heyday of aviation manufacturing. Aircraft and aerospace industries continue to be leading economic activities, although they remain susceptible to market fluctuations (such as the downturn in the airline industry following the September 11 attacks in 2001). Other manufactures include machinery, computer and precision equipment, and chemicals and petrochemicals. Services (including wholesale and retail trade, government, and health care) are increasingly important, as is the economic input of McConnell Air Force Base, which adjoins the city on the southeast.

      Wichita is the seat of Friends University (1898), Newman University (1933), and Wichita State University (1895). The city has a symphony orchestra and a ballet company. The Museum of World Treasures houses an extensive collection of ancient arts; the Wichita Art Museum contains works by American artists; and the Mid-America All-Indian Center traces the culture and history of Native American peoples.

      Other popular attractions include the Sedgwick County Zoo; Botanica, the Wichita Gardens, which has several theme-based gardens; and Old Cowtown Museum, a 17-acre (7-hectare) living-history museum that contains restored buildings and re-creates Wichita life of the 1865–80 period. Wichita is home to the National Baseball Congress, the governing body for adult nonprofessional baseball in the United States, and Mid-Continent Airport, in the southwestern part of the city, is the headquarters of the International Flying Farmers, a pilots' association. The annual Wichita River Festival, held in May, is a popular multiple-day event. Nearby recreation areas are Cheney Reservoir (west) and El Dorado Lake (northeast), each of which has a state park.

      North American Indian people of Caddoan linguistic stock who originally lived near the Arkansas River in what is now the state of Kansas. They were encountered by the Spanish in the mid-16th century and became the first group of Plains Indians subject to missionization.

      Like most Caddoans, the Wichita traditionally subsisted largely by farming corn (maize), pumpkins, and tobacco; buffalo hunting was also an important part of their economy. They lived in communal lodges resembling haystacks and constructed of poles and thatch; on hunting expeditions they resided in tepees. More given to tattooing than most Plains Indians, they were known by other groups as the “tattooed people.” They performed a ceremonial dance resembling the green corn festivals of the southeastern tribes.

      In the late 18th century the Wichita moved south, probably under pressure from tribes to the northeast that were encroaching on Wichita territory. By 1772 they were located near what is now Wichita Falls, Texas. During the American Civil War they returned to Kansas, and in 1867 they were removed to a reservation in Oklahoma. Their estimated population in 1780 was 3,200; Wichita descendants numbered more than 1,900 in the early 21st century.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wichita — is the name of: *Wichita (tribe), a Native American tribe *Wichita language, the language of the tribePlacesIn the United States: *Wichita, Kansas *Wichita Falls, Texas *Wichita County, Kansas *Wichita County, Texas *Wichita Mountains, a small… …   Wikipedia

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  • Wichita — puede referirse a: Wichita, un tribu indígena norteamericana. Wichita, la lengua de la anterior tribu. Wichita, una película estadounidense. Wichita, una ciudad del estado de Kansas, EE. UU. Wichita Falls, una ciudad del estado de Texas,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Wichita — Wichita, KS U.S. city in Kansas Population (2000): 344284 Housing Units (2000): 152119 Land area (2000): 135.751445 sq. miles (351.594613 sq. km) Water area (2000): 3.180966 sq. miles (8.238663 sq. km) Total area (2000): 138.932411 sq. miles (359 …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Wichita, KS — U.S. city in Kansas Population (2000): 344284 Housing Units (2000): 152119 Land area (2000): 135.751445 sq. miles (351.594613 sq. km) Water area (2000): 3.180966 sq. miles (8.238663 sq. km) Total area (2000): 138.932411 sq. miles (359.833276 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Wichita — the largest city in the US state of Kansas. Wichita was on the ↑Chisholm Trail, the main route used by ↑cowboys moving cattle from Texas to the north of the US. Today the city is one of the main aircraft manufacturing centres in the US …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Wichita — [wich′ə tô΄] [after the Wichita (cf. Caddo wí·c ita, Osage wícita), a Caddoan people who relocated in a village at the site of the city in Kansas as Civil War refugees (1862 67)] city in S Kans., on the Arkansas River: pop. 344,000 …   English World dictionary

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  • Wichita — (spr. wítsch ), Ort im nordamerik. Staate Kansas, am Arkansas River, (1900) 24.671 E …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Wichita — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Wichita (homonymie). 37° 41′ 20″ N 97° 20′ 10″ W …   Wikipédia en Français

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