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Glacial deposits and fossil beds found in Nebraska indicate that it was once an inland sea bed. The region once enjoyed a tropical climate, but at a much later time was covered with glaciers. Weapons and tools made of stone found in the area have led archaeologists to believe that the land could have been inhabited as many as 25,000 years ago.
Eastern Nebraska was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, but the western part of the state wasn't acquired until after the Mexican War in 1848. On March 1 1867, Nebraska entered the Union as the 37th state and Lancaster, present day Lincoln, was chosen as the state’s capital.
Fort Atkinson, the first military post, was established in 1819 near present day Fort Calhoun. Over 1,000 people lived at the post and it was the location of the first grist mill, brickyard, school and library before being abandoned in 1827. Bellevue which was founded in 1823 was the first permanent white settlement.
Nebraska is one of the nation’s leading producers of grain and there are more varieties of forage grass in the state than any other. Lexington and Dakota City are two of the largest meat packing centers in the U.S., with both cattle and hog industries. In 1939, oil was discovered and natural gas was found in 1949.
Nebraska has a diversified manufacturing base that includes auto accessories, mobile homes, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, farm machinery and transportation equipment. And, with such attractions as the Agate Fossil Beds and Chimney Rock, tourism adds to the state’s economy.
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