Kansas is a state in the United States of America. It is surrounded on the north by Nebraska, on the east by Missouri, on the south by Oklahoma, and on the west by Colorado. Kansas became the 34th state on January 29, 1861, amid the westward-rising topography of the North American continent's Great Plains. That year, Topeka was elected as the state capital, beating out neighboring Lawrence by almost 2,700 votes. The state's name is taken from the Kansa, or Kaw, whose name is derived from a Siouan-language term that means "people of the south wind."