State of Nebraska: Attractions, History, Interesting Facts, Cities

At first glance, Nebraska might seem somewhat unremarkable: there are no particularly memorable places here, and important historical events have also passed it by. But this impression is quite deceptive, as the main beauty of the state lies not in the scenic views, but in the people who inhabit it.

Brief information about the state:

  • State abbreviation: NE
  • State capital: Lincoln (293.4 thousand people)
  • State population: 1.97 million people (ranks 37th in the U.S., data as of 2021)
  • Largest city: Omaha (480 thousand people)
  • State area: 200,356 square kilometers (ranks 16th in the U.S.)
  • Link to the official website: http://www.nebraska.gov/

Attractions of the Cornhusker State:

The most interesting cities from a tourism perspective are Omaha and Lincoln. The former is famous for its concentration of millionaires, so it attracts lovers of luxury and ostentatious living. Meanwhile, the latter, despite being the capital of Nebraska, allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the atmosphere of classic American country life. Moreover, the cultural heritage in these cities is also top-notch.

Visitors can explore the largest theater community in the U.S., enjoy opera performances, symphony orchestras, or visit an arts center (Omaha). They can also listen to performances by young street musicians, browse antique shops for vintage items, or find unique souvenirs in specialized stores (Lincoln).

Other corners of Nebraska are equally colorful. Various themed festivals, farmers’ markets, spontaneous exhibitions of works by local artists and craftsmen, and other interesting events are often held there.

Special mention should be made of the Henry Doorly Zoo, which houses over 70,000 animals in conditions as close to their natural habitat as possible, as well as the Botanical Garden with exhibitions of natural beauty spread across 400 square kilometers. And, of course, the 121-meter Nebraska State Capitol. In terms of height, it is the second tallest administrative building, surpassed only by the one in Louisiana.

Among the national natural parks, the most interesting are:

Nebraska1. Chimney Rock Mountain – a unique natural formation rising 1288 meters above sea level. Earlier settlers used the rock as a landmark.

2. Agate Fossil Beds – this place is interesting for archaeological discoveries made here, including organic remains from the Miocene epoch.

3. Scotts Bluff – another “complex” of amazingly beautiful cliffs towering over the prairie. Unfortunately, the relentless forces of nature are gradually eroding it.

4. Indian Cave Park – the heart of a distinctive civilization of small nations. Surrounded by forest and hills is the reconstructed village of St. Deroin, frozen in time as if in 1853. The park also features genuine historical value – prehistoric petroglyphs.

In Nebraska, there is an interesting bridge that connects not only the edges of a tectonic fault but also two states. Crossing this bridge, anyone can find themselves in Iowa.

History of the State:

Millennia ago, the Great Plains were a haven of free life for Native Americans: the Ponca, Omaha, Oto, Lakota, and many other tribes. Their main occupation was hunting bison, which served as both a food source and a way to demonstrate the strength, agility, and endurance of the Native American men. Women were predominantly engaged in tanning hides and managing household affairs.

Farming on the sun-scorched land was inaccessible to the local inhabitants then, as finding a crop that would yield a decent harvest proved to be a rather difficult and laborious task. It is hard to believe today, as modern Nebraska is a state of farmers and ranchers. However, the transformation of the wilderness into fertile green fields did not happen overnight. The process required colossal efforts and time. And it all began with the arrival of Europeans.Nebraska

Formally, the region became part of the French colony of Louisiana in 1682. However, the first explorers arrived here only in 1714. It was a group led by Étienne de Bourgmont. It was then that the beautiful word “Nebraska” came into use, literally translated from the Native American language as “flat water,” denoting a stretch of the Missouri River.

In 1762, this part of North America became the property of the Spanish crown for almost 40 years. But after the expiration of the term, the French managed to regain the lost lands. And in 1803, they lucratively sold them to the United States of America.

Initially, the territory near the Missouri River was considered unsuitable for settlement and was only regarded as a buffer zone, but over time, everything changed. Many immigrant trails passed through the region: Mormons, gold prospectors, and other immigrants. Many of them did not reach their final destination and remained at the mouth of the river or at the foot of the Chimney Rock, Scotts Bluff.

The era of active exploration and settlement of the region began: new settlements were established, existing ones turned into forts, and trade routes were established. The development of the region was further promoted by the Homestead Act, under which every adult (loyal to the government) could obtain 65 acres of land for $10. Many settlers did not miss this opportunity, and the population of the lands increased rapidly. Most newcomers engaged in farming, gradually cultivating the territory.

On March 1, 1867, Nebraska became the thirty-seventh state of the USA.

Interesting facts about Nebraska:

1. One of Nebraska’s nicknames is the “Cornhusker State.”

2. A signature dish of local cuisine is “runza.” It consists of dough pockets filled with meat and supplemented with corn kernels. Those who have tried this dish claim that it tastes best when served in a cozy cafe on a cold autumn evening.

3. According to unofficial data, the inventor of the sandwich, Ruben Kulakovsky, lived in Nebraska. He placed bacon, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut between slices of bread.

4. One of the most densely populated places in the state is… a stadium. During games, it attracts over 900,000 people. However, the stadium is practically deserted at all other times.

5. Nebraska authorities encouraged tree planting. This led to the creation of a green area covering 141,160 acres of land. On April 10, 1872, enthusiasts planted over 350 million trees in one day. However, this figure is not a world record.

6. Although the state is far from the sea, it has its own lighthouse, built on a picturesque lake.

Major cities:

  • Omaha (≈ 408.9 thousand inhabitants)
  • Lincoln (≈ 258.4 thousand inhabitants)
  • Bellevue (≈ 53 thousand inhabitants)
  • Grand Island (≈ 51 thousand inhabitants)
  • Kearney (≈ 34 thousand inhabitants)
  • Fremont (≈ 26.4 thousand inhabitants)
  • Hastings (≈ 24.9 thousand inhabitants)
  • North Platte (≈ 24.7 thousand inhabitants)

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