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Europeans and Americans

drawing of log building, reconstructed from excavations at Rock Creek Station.

Europeans and Americans (100 - 300 years ago)

The earliest European presence in Nebraska was by Spanish and French explorers and traders coming out of the Southwest and the lower Mississippi Valley. The earliest documented incursions into the region were in the early 1700s, but there may have been occasional explorations in the late 1600s. The first formal large scale expedition was that led by Pedro de Villasur from New Mexico in 1720. That expedition was massacred by the Pawnee and Oto near what is now Columbus. Later explorers include individuals such as Lewis and Clark, Stephan Long, and Zebulon Pike to name a few.

More sustained settlement began with fur trade, military, and missionary efforts beginning in the late 1700s and continuing through the mid-1800s. The mid-nineteenth-century also witnessed significant presence in the region by virtue of the emmigrant routes, most notably the Oregon-California Trail. The 1860s and beyond was the time of major settlement in Nebraska characterized by urban development and emergence of agricultural development and rural communities.

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Last updated 25 June 1998

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