Manhattan KS Fun Facts
The city was founded by settlers from the New England Emigrant Aid Company as a Free-State town in the 1850s, during the Bleeding Kansas era. Nicknamed “The Little Apple” as a play on New York City’s “Big Apple“, Manhattan is best known as the home of Kansas State University and has a distinct college town atmosphere.
Before settlement by European-Americans in the 1850s, the land where Manhattan sits was home to Native American tribes. Most recently, from 1780 to 1830 it was home to the Kaw people (also known as the Kansa). The Kaw settlement was called Blue Earth Village (Manyinkatuhuudje). It was named after the river the tribe called the Great Blue Earth River – today known as the Big Blue River – which intersected with the Kansas River by their village. Blue Earth Village was the site of a large battle between the Kaw and the Pawnee in 1812.
The Kaw tribe ceded ownership of this land in a treaty signed at the Shawnee Methodist Mission on January 14, 1846.