Nebraska is a state located on the Great Plains of the United States of America. 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 are sometimes colloquially referred to as “Cornhuskers” (which is derived from the state nickname).
Nebraska is split into two time zones.
The Central Time zone comprises the eastern half of the state, while the western half observes Mountain Time.
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 consists 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.
Nebraska state welcome sign
Nebraska state welcome sign
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.
Nebraska, a doubly landlocked state, claims to have more miles of river than any other state.
Areas under the management of the National Park Service include:
* Agate Fossil Beds National Monument near Harrison
* California National Historic Trail
* Chimney Rock National Historic Site near Bayard
* Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice
* Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
* Missouri National Recreational River near Ponca
* Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
* Niobrara National Scenic River near Valentine
* Oregon National Historic Trail
* Pony Express National Historic Trail
* Scotts Bluff National Monument at Gering
Areas under the management of the National Forest Service include:
* Nebraska National Forest
* Oglala National Grassland
* Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest
Two major climates are represented in Nebraska: the eastern two-thirds of the state has a hot summer continental climate, and the western third of the state has a semiarid steppe climate.
The entire state experiences wide seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation.
Average temperatures are fairly uniform across Nebraska, while average annual precipitation decreases from about 31.5 inches (800 mm) in the southeast corner of the state to about 13.8 inches (350 mm) in the Panhandle.
Snowfall across the state is fairly even, with most of Nebraska receiving between 25 and 35 inches (650 to 900 mm) of snow annually.
Map of Nebraska
Map of Nebraska
Nebraska is located in Tornado Alley; thunderstorms are common in the spring and summer months.
The chinook winds from the Rocky Mountains provide a temporary moderating effect on temperatures in western Nebraska during the winter months.
The National Wildlife Federation has found that global warming could have a harmful effect on Nebraska’s ecology and economy, promoting the kinds of drought that led to the Dust Bowl conditions of the 1930s and increasing the population and active season of disease-carrying mosquitos.
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.
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.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates of Nebraska’s gross state product in 2004 was $68 billion.
Per capita personal income in 2004 was $31,339, 25th in the nation.
Nebraska has a large agriculture sector, and is an important producer of beef, pork, corn (maize), and soybeans.
Other important economic sectors include freight transport (by rail and truck), manufacturing, telecommunications, information technology, and insurance.
Nebraska has four personal income tax brackets, ranging from 2.56% to 6.84%. Nebraska has a state sales tax of 5.5%. In addition to the state tax, some Nebraska cities assess a city sales and use tax, up to a maximum of 1.5%.
One county in Nebraska, Dakota County, levies a sales tax. All real property located within the state of Nebraska is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute.
Since 1992, only depreciable personal property is subject to tax and all other personal property is exempt from tax. Inheritance tax is collected at the county level.