In the early 1800s, Lewis and Clark explored Nebraska. Soon after that, it became the starting point for the first transcontinental railroad.
How did Nebraska get its Sand Hills? Long ago, there was ocean west of here. (Remember that the continents moved around and so did the oceans.) As it dried up, it left a lot of sand. Then wind blew it over here!
transcontinental:Across the continent. The prefix “trans” usually means across or beyond.
Nebraska has an interesting personality. The eastern half seems like a state in the Midwest, but emptier. The western half is definitely “western,” a cowboy country of prairie grasslands and buffalo. What makes the difference? Rainfall. Without enough rain in western Nebraska, farming doesn't work well, so the people have started ranching.
In pioneer days, many families going west came through Nebraska by a place called Scottsbluff. As the pioneers came across the prairie in their Conestoga (covered) wagons, they could see the bluff from many miles away. That's how they knew they were going in the right direction! Scottsbluff became part of the Oregon Trail (one of the routes west before there were any highways or any cars). Now, we can even drive up the bluff.
Nebraska is the thirty-sixth largest state in population and has about 1.7 million people. Omaha, the largest city, has about 372,000 people. Lincoln, the capital and second largest city, has 213,000 people.