Land Area: 76,872
The state is crossed by many historic trails, but it was the California Gold Rush that first brought large numbers of non-indigenous settlers to the area. Nebraska became a state in 1867.
There are wide variations between winter and summer temperatures, and violent thunderstorms and tornadoes are common. The state is characterized by treeless prairie, ideal for cattle-grazing, and it is a major producer of beef, as well as pork, corn, and soybeans.
Nebraska is the 9th least-densely populated state of the United States. Ethnically, the largest group of Nebraskans are German-American. The state also has the largest per capita population of Czech-Americans among U.S. states.