The original inhabitants of Nebraska were Indians who arrived there more than 10,000 years ago and probably were part of a group known collectively as Folsom man. Through the centuries, a succession of peoples of various other cultures inhabited the area. When European explorers entered the region, they found a number of Indian tribes, speaking different languages and following various ways of life. Among them were the warlike Pawnees and the Omahas, Poncas, Otos, and Missouris.

Important dates in Nebraska
1682 Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claimed the region drained by the Mississippi River, including present-day Nebraska, for France.
1714 Etienne Veniard de Bourgmont traveled up the Missouri River to the mouth of the Platte River.
1720 The Pawnee Indians defeated Spanish forces under Pedro de Villasur along the Platte River.
1739 Pierre and Paul Mallet were probably the first Europeans to cross Nebraska.
1762 France gave the Louisiana Territory to Spain.
1800 Spain returned Louisiana to France.
1803 The United States bought the Louisiana Territory, including Nebraska, from France.
1804 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traveled up the Missouri River and explored eastern Nebraska.
1806 Zebulon M. Pike explored south-central Nebraska.
1813 Robert Stuart and his party followed the North Platte and Platte rivers across Nebraska.
1819 The U.S. Army established Fort Atkinson.
1843 The "Great Migration" began through Nebraska along the Oregon Trail to the West.
1854 Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, creating the Nebraska Territory.
1863 One of the first free homesteads was claimed by Daniel Freeman near Beatrice.
1865 The Union Pacific Railroad began building its line west from Omaha.
1867 Nebraska became the 37th state on March 1.
1874-1877 Vast swarms of grasshoppers invaded the Nebraska farmlands and severely damaged crops.
1905 The North Platte River Project was begun to irrigate 165,000 acres (66,770 hectares) in western Nebraska.
1934 Nebraskans voted to adopt a unicameral legislature.
1937 The unicameral legislature held its first session.
1939 Petroleum was discovered in southeastern Nebraska.
1944 Congress authorized the Missouri River Basin Project (now the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program).
1960-1964 Nebraskans approved a series of constitutional amendments that strengthened the state government by raising salaries and increasing terms of government officials.
1967 Nebraska adopted both a sales and an income tax. It also celebrated its statehood centennial.
1982 Nebraska adopted Initiative 300, which prohibits corporations from buying farms or ranches in the state.
1992 Nebraska voters approved a state lottery.
1997 The Legislature passed a measure giving aid to public schools based on an average cost per pupil, forcing many small school districts to reorganize.
2005 Governor Mike Johanns resigned from office after being appointed U.S. secretary of agriculture.