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Nebraska State Guide

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Nebraska is nicknamed as the "Cornhusker State" located in the Mid western and Great Plains of the United States. Nebraska became the 37th state of the United States on March 1, 1867 [1]. Lincoln is the capital city and Omaha is the largest city of the state. Nebraska encompasses many historic trails and is home to many non-indigenous settlers.

Nebraska Fast Facts:

  • Capital city: Lincoln
  • Largest city: Omaha
  • State Mammal: White-tailed Deer
  • State Bird: Western Meadowlark
  • State Tree: Cottonwood Tree
  • State Flower: Goldenrod
  • State Song: Beautiful Nebraska
  • State Gem: Blue Chalcedony (Blue Agate)

State birdstate treedeerflower

History of Nebraska

Prior to European exploration, many indigenous people settled in Nebraska. Some of the significant historic tribes include the Missouri, Omaha, Pawnee, Ponca, Otoe and many sections of the Lakota (Sioux). There main occupation and livelihood depended on hunting, gathering and agriculture.

The European explorers arrived in Nebraska in the 17th century. Spain and France were among the early Europeans to settle in the region. France managed to establish an organized trade connection along the Missouri River with the indigenous people in Nebraska and they signed treaties of trade. The major half of the 18th century witnessed a cessation of the Spanish exploration of the state as a result of the massacre of the Lieutenant General Pedro de Villasur in the county war. In the 2nd half of the 18th century, France withdrew the Louisiana territory. This resulted in tough contest between Spain and Britain to gain control along the Mississippi.


In the 19th century, Fort Atkinson was established in the western part of the Missouri River by the United States. This was the first United States Army Post. The California Gold Rush brought in many non-indigenous settlers and post 1848, European-American settlement flourished. The United States Congress in 1854, created the Nebraska and Kansas territories. The Nebraska Territory consists of regions of the present states of North and South Dakota, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. Omaha was made the territorial capital of Nebraska.

In 1867, Nebraska attained statehood and became the 37th state of the United States. In 1868, the state capital was changed to Lincoln from Omaha. Later in the 19th century, agricultural development was brought in because of the lands available after the indigenous tribes were forced to give up their lands and settle on reservations. An act called the Homestead Act was formed by the United States government which granted free land and this has attracted many new settlers to the state. The later half of the century, Great migration led to the migration of many African Americans to Nebraska especially to Omaha regions which provided several working class jobs to the people.

Nebraska History Timeline

  • 1714 - The first recorded European arrived in Nebraska.

  • 1763 - According to the Treaty of Paris, all land in the western part of the Mississippi River became Spanish.

  • 1800 - According to the Treaty of San Ildefonso, the Louisiana was returned to France by the Spanish.

  • 1803 - In the Louisiana Purchase, the United States acquired Nebraska.

  • 1823 - Bellevue were the first permanent settlement in Nebraska.

  • 1867 - Nebraska became the 37th state to join the Union on March 1, 1867.

  • 1868 - Lincoln replaced Omaha and designated as the new state capital.

  • 1939 - Petroleum discovered in southeastern Nebraska.

  • 1974 - Gerald Ford from Omaha was elected as the President of the United States.

  • 2005 - Convicted felons who have completed serving sentence and two-year waiting period were allowed to vote by the Legislature.

Geography of Nebraska

Total Area: 77,354 sq mi
Longitude: 95o 19' W to 104o 03' W
Latitude: 40o N to 43o N
Highest point: Panorama Point - 5,424 ft (1654 m)
Mean point: 2,600 ft (790 m)
Lowest point: Missouri River at Kansas border - 840 ft (256 m)
Time Zone Mountain:
- most of state - Central: UTC −6/−5
- panhandle Mountain: UTC −7/−6
Nebraska is the state in the mid western and Great Plains of the nation, covering a total land area of 76,824.17 square miles [2]. It is bordered to the north by South Dakota; to the east by Iowa and to the southeast by Missouri; to the south by Kansas; to the southwest by Colorado and to the west by Wyoming. Nebraska lies in the central zone of the Frontier Strip and consists of 93 counties. The state is divided into 2 time zones, namely the Central Time zone in the state's eastern regions and the Mountain Time in the state's western regions. Nebraska’s geographic center is located in Custer County. The highest point in Nebraska is the Panorama Point, at 5,424 feet (1,653 m).

Topography of Nebraska

Nebraska is a state mainly comprising of plains. The state is made up of 2 major regions, namely the Dissected Till Plains and the Great Plains. The state's eastern region comprises of the Dissected Till Plains; and the state's north western and the northern central regions are made up of the Great Plains. The extreme eastern terminal of the state was eroded by Ice Age glaciers.

Dissected Till Plains

The eastern half of the state is made up of Dissected Till Plains. This region mainly comprises of rolling hills and several streams and rivers cross through the area. The Dissected Till Plains is home to major fields of soybeans, corns, sorghum grain, etc. and several farm countries. The region's northern part encompasses the Loess Hills which is basically a composition of brownish loamy dust.

Great Plains

In the western part of the Till Plains, lie the Great Plains of Nebraska and it stretches through the state into Colorado and Wyoming. The central and southern central regions of the Great Plains are dominated by Loess and mainly rough and hilly areas. The southeastern portion is called the Loess Plains which is comparatively flatter region with intervals of wetlands and lakes. The Great Plains region mainwater bodiesly comprises of the Sand hills, the Rainwater Basin, the Pine Ridge, the Wildcat Hills and the High Plains.

Rivers of Nebraska

There are three main rivers that flow from western to eastern parts of the state.

The Platte River: The meeting of the North and the South Platte created this river. It flows across the central part of the state and it drains the major part of the central Great Plains in Nebraska . The major length of the Platte River features a braided stream of broad, meandering, muddy, shallow stream with a swampy bottom and intervened with many islands.

The Niobrara River: It flows across the northern part of the state and is a tributary of the Missouri River. The arid and dry sections of the Great Plains are drained by the river. Its watershed comprises of a smaller part of South Dakota's south-central section, Nebraska's northern tier and a small section of eastern Wyoming.

The Republican River: It flows across the state's southern part.

Nebraska National Forest

The Nebraska National Forest is governed and administered by United States Forest Service. The national forest consists of two ranger districts, namely Bessey Ranger District
and Pine Ridge Ranger District.

The Bessey Ranger District lies in the Sandhills of central Nebraska, in parts of Blaine and Thomas counties. The area covers around 63.9% of the forest's total area and is considered the largest man made forest in the nation. The forest's nursery offers millions of seedlings annually.

The Pine Ridge Ranger District lies in the northwestern part of the state in the Pine Ridge region, around part of Sioux and Dawes counties. It covers around 36.1% of the forest's total area encompasses the federally recognized wilderness region called the Soldier Creek Wilderness.Forests

Contact Nebraska Forest Service
Forestry Hall
P.O. Box 830815
Lincoln, NE 68588-0815
Phone: 402-472-2944
Fax: 402-472-2964
E-mail: trees@unl.edu
Website: http://nfs.unl.edu/

Climate of Nebraska

Nebraska has varied climatic conditions with varying temperature and rainfall. The eastern and western halves of the state have different types of weather and temperatures. The state's climatic zones are broadly classified into two major zones. Humid continental climate dominates the eastern region of the state while a semi-arid climate dominates the western part of the state. Nebraska had recorded the highest temperature of 118o F at Minden and and a lowest temperature of -47o F at Camp Clarke.

Humidity and average annual rainfall decrease from eastern half to the western half of the state. The southern eastern part of the state receives relatively lesser rainfall and even lesser in the Panhandle. The state also receives annual snowfall and it is distributed evenly across the state. Thunderstorms and tornadoes are also quite common in the summer and spring season.

Demographics of Nebraska

Nebraska had an estimated population of 1,881,503 as of 2014 estimation by the U.S census bureau, which reflected an increase of 3.0o% since the year 2010. The population density of the state is 23.8 persons per square mile [2]. There are many ancestry groups in Nebraska. The five largest groups among them include German, English, Irish, Czech and Mexican.

Nebraska Population Quick Facts:

  • Population, 2014 - 1,881,503
  • Population, 2013 - 1,868,969
  • Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014 - 3%
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013 -7%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013 -24.9%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013 -14.1%
  • Female persons, percent, 2013 - 50.2%

Nebraska Racial Groups are-

  • White alone: 89.7%
  • Black or African American alone:4.8%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone: 1.3%
  • Asian alone: 2.1%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone: 0.1%
  • Two or More Races: 2%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 9.9%
  • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 81.0%

The major religious groups in Nebraska are –

  • Christian
  • Catholic
  • Lutheran
  • Methodist
  • Baptist
  • Presbyterian
  • Other Protestant
  • Other Christian

Economy of Nebraska

The important economic sectors of Nebraska include agriculture, freight transport, telecommunications, manufacturing, insurance and information technology. The state's economy is mainly associated with the agricultural sector and major revenue is generated from agriculture and its products. Nebraska’s gross domestic product (GDP) in millions of current dollars of all industry totals in 2013 was $109,614. The state’s per capita real GDP in 2013 was $52,582 [3]. Nebraska Unemployment rate, 2015 is 2.7% [4].


Agriculture in Nebraska

  • Nebraska is among the leading states in agricultural sector and is ranked 4th in terms of total agricultural output.

  • The top 5 agricultural products based on revenue generated include cattle and calves, Soybeans, wheat, hogs and corn for grain.

  • Nebraska's most important crop is corn.

  • The other major crops of the state are wheat, soybeans, grain sorghum and hay.

  • The state's agricultural income is mainly incurred from livestock and its products.

  • The state's major livestock products are beef cattle and hogs.

  • Other important livestock products include chicken eggs, dairy products, broilers (young chickens), lambs, sheep, milk and turkeys.

Industry in Kentucky

  • Leading service industries in Nebraska include private health care, engineering companies, data processing companies, law firms. Ranked 2nd in the state's service sector is the wholesale and retail trade sectors and ranked 3rd is the government services, communication, transportation and utility sectors.

  • In manufacturing sector, the food processing industries are the most significant in the state.

  • The production of chemicals ranked 2nd and production of machinery ranked 3rd in the state's manufacturing sector.

  • Sand and gravel, petroleum, limestone and clays are the valuable mined products in Nebraska.

Tourism in Nebraska

Tourism is also a principal part of Nebraska’s economy and is one of the largest employers of the state. Many plans and programs are implemented to improve Nebraska’s transportation network and accordingly enhance the tourism sector.

Some of the major tourist attractions of the state are-

Henry Doorly Zoo
Strategic Air and Space Museumgarden
Lake McConaughy
Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Ponca State Park
Harold Warp Pioneer Village
Durham Western Heritage Museum
Papio Fun Park
Niobrara National Scenic River
Lauritzen Gardens
Golden Spike Tower in North Platte
Scotts Bluff National Monument
Old Market in Omaha
Haymarket District in Lincoln

Transportation in Nebraska

The transportation system of Nebraska is a liaison of multiple networks of roadways, airways, railways and waterways. These are the lifelines for extensive passenger travel and cargo/freight transportation and provide vast intercity and interstate connectivity. The majority of the roads, rail systems and water ways are owned and maintained by the state government but some are private or federal entity. The Nebraska department of transportation is actively working to uplift the transportation system and ease the traffic and congestion in the state. Some of the major interstate highways in Nebraska, namely I-76, I-80, I-129, I-180, I-480 and I-680.

Air transport is an essential gateway of Nebraska that serves the locals and tourists from all over the world. It is the major mode that offers all round efficient and easy connectivity. Nebraska Department of Aeronautics oversees the entire framework of air transportation in the state.

Amtrak is the National Railroad Passenger Corporation that offers comfortable, convenient and easy connectivity to and from Nebraska.BNSF Railway is North America's 2nd largest freight railroad system. It is one of the most significant links that offer immense connectivity of consumers with the global marketplace.

Learn more: Transportation in Nebraska

Government of Nebraska

The Government of Nebraska is guarded and established by the Nebraska Constitution. Nebraska became a 37th state of the United States on March 1, 1867. The state is also nicknamed as the “Corn husker State”. The government of Nebraska is divided into three distinct branches, namely the Executive branch, the Legislative branch and the Judicial branch. The Nebraska Executive Branch is a well functioning body of the government of Nebraska and several state government departments work under the executive branch. The Governor of Nebraska leads the government as well as the state as the chief executive head. The other elected executive officials are the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, and the State Auditor.

Nebraska has a unique legislature called a unicameral legislature, a single house system. Nebraska is the only state in the nation to follow such legislature. The house is more popularly known as "Unicameral" though officially referred as the "Legislature". As it is unicameral, the house comprises of the senators only. A 3/4th majority is required to override a governor's veto. The state legislature holds meetings in the Nebraska State Capitol building, located in Lincoln.

Under the Nebraska Constitution, the Judiciary branch applies and interprets laws and regulations to ensure justice in the state. The Nebraska judicial system is unified and enacts the Missouri Plan to select judges of all levels. The judicial system of Nebraska is divided into the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, district courts, and county courts.Judiciary

Learn more: Government of Nebraska

Education in Nebraska

The Nebraska Department of Education operates to improve the public education system and also to enhance student academic achievements and outputs. The department’s mission is to provide world class education and best values to the students to ensure success in education, workplace and in every spheres of life. The Nebraska Board of Education overviews the regulation of the public school districts of the state.

Public Colleges and Universities of Nebraska (Link)

Private Colleges and Universities of Nebraska

Sports in Nebraska

There are many professional as well as college sports played in Nebraska. Some of the professional sports played in the state are baseball, football and indoor American football. Junior level sports such as hockey and roller derby is also played in the state.

The professional sports clubs in Nebraska are-

  • Lincoln Saltdogs
  • Nebraska Danger
  • Omaha Beef
  • Omaha Mammoths
  • Omaha Storm Chasers

Interesting Facts about Nebraska:

  • Nebraska State motto is Equality before the law.

  • Nebraska State insect is the honeybee.

  • Nebraska State fossil is Mammoth.

  • Nebraska State soil is Holdrege soil series.

  • Platte River is assigned the official Nebraska State River.

  • The state was once known as "The Great American Desert".

  • Nebraska is the only state in the United States with a unicameral (one house) legislature.

  • Nebraska is home to the world's largest hand-planted forest called Halsey National Forrest near Thedford.

  • Nebraska's Weeping Water is the largest limestone producer and deposit in the country.

  • The world's largest Kolache Festival lies in Prague, Nebraska

  • Nebraska has more miles of river among all the states of the United States.

  • Omaha has the world's largest indoor rain forest called the Lied Jungle.


  1. Nebraska Statehood
  2. Demographics and Total Land Area
  3. Economy Facts
  4. Unemployment Rate
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