What is the history of Nebraska?


Quick Answer

Nebraska was admitted into the union as the 37th state in the United States on March 1, 1867. Prior to this date, the area was settled mainly by people seeking fortune during the California Gold rush of 1848 and during the passage of the Homestead act in 1862.

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Full Answer

The area of land that would become Nebraska was first explored by the European explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1682. However, it would be the explorer Etienne de Bourgmont who would give the first closest approximation to the states name. In 1714, he explored from the mouth of the Missouri River towards the Platte River, which he called the Nebraskier River.

It would take until the purchase of the Louisiana territory in 1803 for the United States to actually claim the area of Nebraska. Later, the Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854 would see the territory split down the 40th parallel, forming the first territorial boundaries of the state. However, through acts such as the ones that added the Colorado territory and the Idaho territory, Nebraska's size shrank, eventually reaching the size known today.

A state constitution was drawn up for Nebraska in 1866, and on February 8th 1867, Congress voted to admit the territory to the union. President Andrew Johnson originally vetoed the bill, but was overturned by both houses of Congress, leading to the state's admission into the union a short time later.

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