Nebraska is the 37th state to join the Union
Located in the western central region of the country, Nebraska is a richly fertile, sparsely populated state with many rivers. Its name comes from “Nebrathka,” the Oto distinction for the Platte River. Like many other tribes living on the Great Plains, the Oto were driven to reservations within and outside Nebraska’s borders. Americans claimed Nebraska through the Louisiana Purchase, and it was explored during the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Mostly, Nebraska served as a thruway for travelers on the Oregon Trail, or fur trappers and gold miners travelling to the Pacific. It wasn’t until railroads were built that Americans realized Nebraska’s fertile fields and settled there to raise cattle and corn. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 opened it for settlement, but led to the difficult and bloody question of slavery that ushered in the Civil War. After the messy war, Nebraska was admitted to the Union in 1867. Today, Nebraska is a critical to American agriculture and is also a leader in the cattle industry. Its people, nicknamed the “Huskers,” live mostly around the Missouri and Platte Rivers.
Why is agriculture so important to Americans?