History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People
1541, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explored the American Southwest,
claiming all for Spain.
In 1682, French explorer Robert Cavelier followed the Mississippi
River south, claiming the same land for France.
Unlike the Spanish, French traders began settling the land they
had named Louisiana.
1762, France gave Louisiana to Spain, although French exploration and
In 1800, France reclaimed the area only to sell it to the United
States in 1803.
Nebraska was part of this famous Louisiana Purchase.
year later, Lewis and Clark were sent to chart the West and explored the
eastern edge of Nebraska.
Zebulon Pike explored southern Nebraska in 1806.
By 1807 fur-trading posts began to be established along the
Fort Lisa, established by Manuel Lisa, was only 10 miles from
Stuart set out from Oregon in 1812, in search for New York City.
He traveled into Nebraska from Wyoming, then along the North
Platte and Platte Rivers to the Missouri River.
For over 40 years, many settlers moving west followed the Oregon
Trail through Indian Territory.
1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act created the territories of Kansas and
Nebraska and opened the area to settlement.
The Homestead Act of 1862 provided free land in the West to
settlers if they would agree to stay for five years.
homesteaders moved to Nebraska.
Railroads opened in Kansas and advertised to people in eastern
states and even Europe.
On March 1, 1867, with a great increase in population, Nebraska
became the 37th state of the union with Lincoln as its
struggled during the late 1800s.
Grasshoppers invaded the their lands eating wheat, barley and
Drought dried up the land and many were forced to leave Nebraska
and return to the East.
In 1902, the Reclamation Act provided federal aid for irrigation
development. Dams were built along the Platte River that provided water
to western Nebraska.
Ranchers bought much of the land in northern Nebraska for grazing
1929, the Great Depression brought a drop in farm prices.
Drought also returned and strong winds carried off topsoil.
Nebraska became part of the Dust Bowl.
Many lost their farms and were forced to leave the state.
To help farmers, the federal government provided long-term,
was discovered in southeastern Nebraska in 1939.
During World War II (1939-1945), Nebraska provided great numbers
of wheat, corn, and potatoes for the soldiers.
Cattle ranching also increased greatly. Farm
income reached a record of $1 billion in 1947.
the 1950s, agricultural companies bought most of the small family farms.
Farm equipment replaced many of the workers, who then moved to
the cities in search of work.
State leaders became aware of the need to attract new industries
and expand those it already had.
In 1960, the state constitution was amended to allow cities and
counties to purchase and develop land for lease to private companies.