Nebraska is a Great Plains state of the United States. Nebraska gets its name from a Chiwere word meaning "flat water", after the Platte River that flows through the state. Once considered part of the Great American Desert, it is now a leading farming state. Nebraskans have practiced scientific farming to turn the Nebraska prairie into a land of ranches and farms. Much of the history of the state is the story of the impact of the Nebraska farmer. Nebraskans are sometimes colloquially referred to as "Cornhuskers" (which is derived from the state nickname).
Nebraska is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. Nebraska has 93 counties; it also occupies the central portion of the Frontier Strip.
Nebraska is composed of two major land regions: the Dissected Till Plains and the Great Plains. The easternmost portion of the state was scoured by Ice Age glaciers; the Dissected Till Plains were left behind after the glaciers retreated. The Dissected Till Plains is a region of gently rolling hills; Omaha and Lincoln are located within this region.
The Great Plains occupy the majority of western Nebraska. The Great Plains itself is comprised of several smaller, diverse land regions, including the Sandhills, the Pine Ridge, the Rainwater Basin, the High Plains and the Wildcat Hills. Panorama Point, at 5,424 feet (1,653 m), is the highest point in Nebraska; despite its name and elevation, it is merely a low rise near the Colorado and Wyoming borders.
A past Nebraska tourism slogan was "Where the West Begins"; locations given for the beginning of the "West" include the Missouri River, the intersection of 13th and O Streets in Lincoln (where it is marked by a red brick star), the 100th meridian, and Chimney Rock.
On May 30, 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act created the Kansas Territory and the Nebraska Territory, divided by the Parallel 40° North. The territorial capital of Nebraska was Omaha.
In the 1860s, the first great wave of homesteaders poured into Nebraska to claim free land granted by the federal government. Many of the first farm settlers built their homes out of sod because they found so few trees on the grassy land.
Nebraska became the 37th state in 1867, shortly after the American Civil War. At that time, the capital was moved from Omaha to Lancaster, later renamed Lincoln after the recently assassinated President of the United States Abraham Lincoln.
The Arbor Day holiday began in Nebraska, and the National Arbor Day Foundation is still headquartered in Nebraska City.
Prohibition in the U.S. was adopted in 1918, with Nebraska as the thirty-sixth state necessary to make the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution .
Nebraska has a long history of civil rights activism, starting in 1912 with the foundation of Omaha's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter. Recent legislation proposed by Senator Ernie Chambers continues a legacy that includes the Black Panthers, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Creighton University's unique DePorres Club.
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