World History

Nebraska State History – War, Explorers, Population, Facts

Native Americans

Humans have lived in Nebraska for thousands of years. When Europeans first arrived, the state was inhabited by several Native American tribes. The west was inhabited by nomadic tribes of the Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux.

They lived in tipis and roamed constantly, following herds of bison who provided them with food, clothing and shelter. To the east were the Omaha, Pawnee, and Otoe tribes. They lived in more permanent huts made of dirt and turf. They hunted water buffalo, but grew corn, beans, and squash for most of their diet.

Information about Nebraska State:

Capital Lincoln
Population 1,967,923 (Source: 2022 U.S. Census)
Major Cities Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, Grand Island, Kearney, Fremont
Borders  Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $161,702.0 million (2022 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Key Industries Agriculture including corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle, and pigs
Food processing, meatpacking, freight transportation, insurance, and machinery

Flag of Nebraska State:

Europeans Arrive

The first European to arrive in Nebraska, he was probably the Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado in 1541. He claimed land for Spain. Then, more than 100 years later, in 1682, another explorer, the Frenchman Robert Cavrier, claimed French ownership of the land. Over the next century, the country was claimed and contested by France, Spain, and Britain.

Louisiana Purchase

In 1800 France controlled a large area west of the Mississippi River. In 1803, the United States purchased this area, including Nebraska, from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase. American explorers Lewis and Clark traveled through Nebraska in 1804, planning his journey and reporting on the plains and bison hordes he saw there.

Nebraska State Symbols

  • Nebraska State Nickname: Cornhusker State
  • Nebraska State Slogan:(formerly) The Good Life; Possibilities…Endless
  • Nebraska State Motto:Equality before the law
  • Nebraska State flower: Goldenrod
  • Nebraska State bird: Western Meadowlark
  • Nebraska State fish:Channel catfish
  • Nebraska State tree: Eastern Cottonwood
  • Nebraska State mammal: White-tailed deer
  • Nebraska State foods: NA

Settling the Land

United States He established Fort Atkinson in Nebraska in 1819. This was the first army post built west of the Mississippi River. A small fur trading post was founded on the Missouri River in 1823. It is Nebraska’s oldest city and became the first settlement, Bellevue.

In the early 1840s, people began traveling west through Nebraska via the Oregon Trail. At the time, much of Nebraska was reserved for Native Americans as part of the Indian Territory. However, some people ignored the law and settled on the land.

The Geography of Nebraska State:

  • Total Size of Nebraska: 76,872 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
  • Geographical Low Point of Nebraska: Missouri River at 840 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Richardson (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Geographical High Point of Nebraska: Panorama Point at 5,424 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Kimball (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Central Point of Nebraska: Located in Custer County approx. 10 miles northwest of Broken Bow (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Counties of Nebraska: 93 (source: National Association of Counties)
  • Bodies of Water of Nebraska: Platte River, Missouri River, Niobrara River, Republican River, Lake McConaughy, Harlan County Lake

Becoming a State

In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act created the Nebraska Territory. People actually started moving to Nebraska in the 1860s when the Homestead Act allowed people to get land in the area for free. A new railroad line across the area also made it much easier for people to get there.

On March 1, 1867, Nebraska became her 37th state to join the Union. The capital was moved to Lancaster and renamed Lincoln in honor of Abraham Lincoln. Native Americans were driven out as more and more settlers migrated.

By the late 18th century, conflict raged, forcing most of the Cheyenne and Sioux to migrate to Indian territory in Oklahoma. Nebraska prospered as ranchers migrated and farmers tended the land. However, natural disasters such as droughts, snowstorms and locust swarms did not make life easier for the settlers.

Famous People of Nebraska State:

Malcolm X Civil rights activist
Hilary Swank Actress
Nicholas Sparks Author (The Notebook, Safe Haven)
Andy Roddick Professional tennis player
Larry the Cable Guy Comedian
Red Cloud War leader of the Sioux Nation
Gerald Ford The 38th President of the United States
Dick Cheney Vice President of the United States
Warren Buffett Famous investor and entrepreneur
Marlon Brando Actor
Fred Astaire Dancer and actor

Interesting Facts of Nebraska State:

Kool-Aid was invented by Edward Perkins of Hastings, Nebraska.

Nebraska is said to have more river miles than any other state.

Boys Town is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

The state song of Nebraska is “Beautiful Nebraska”.

It is sometimes called the planter state. This is because Arbor Day, a day for planting trees across the country, began here in 1872.

Spam Foods is made in Fremont, Nebraska.

It is the only state with a single legislature.

The world’s largest woolly mammoth fossil has been found in Lincoln County.

The name Nebraska comes from a Native American name and means “shallow water.” President Gerald Ford was born in Omaha.

Other Nebraska celebrities include Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Andy Roddick, Warren Buffett, and more.

Timeline Overview:

1541 – Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado becomes the first European to visit Nebraska.
1682 – Frenchman Robert Cavrier claims French lands.
1803 – The United States purchases Nebraska from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
1804 – Explorers Lewis and Clark pass through Nebraska on their way west.
1819 – Fort Atkinson is built by the US military.
1823 – The first European settlement is established at Bellevue.
1840s – Pioneers traveled through Nebraska on the Oregon Trail.
1854 – The Kansas-Nebraska Act creates the Nebraska Territory.
1854 – City of Omaha incorporated.
1862 – The Union Pacific Railroad is established in Omaha.
1867 – Nebraska becomes the 37th state to join the United States.
1872 – The first Arbor Day is held in Nebraska.
1877 – Native American war leader Crazy Horse surrenders.
1927 – The Kool-Aid Company is founded in Hastings.
1939 – Kingsley Dam is completed, forming Lake McConaughey.