Lawrence is the county seat of Douglas County and sixth-largest city in Kansas. It is in the northeastern sector of the state, astride Interstate 70, between the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 87,643; by 2018 the estimated population had risen to 98,193. Lawrence is a college town and the home to both the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University.
Lawrence was founded by the New England Emigrant Aid Company (NEEAC), and was named for Amos Adams Lawrence, a Republican abolitionist originally from Massachusetts, who offered financial aid and support for the settlement. Lawrence was central to the "Bleeding Kansas" period (1854–61), and the site of the Wakarusa War (1855) and the Sacking of Lawrence (1856). During the American Civil War it was also the site of the Lawrence massacre (1863).
Lawrence began as a center of free-state politics. Its economy diversified into many industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, and education, beginning with the founding of the University of Kansas in 1865 and Haskell Indian Nations University in 1884.
Prior to Kansas Territory being established in May 1854, most of Douglas County was part of the Shawnee Indian Reservation, which had been created in 1830.