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Nebraska is a Midwestern U. S. state that also lies in the Great Plains. Nebraska's name is derived from archaic Otoe words meaning "flat water", after the Platte River that flows through the central portion of the state. Nicknamed the “Cornhusker State,” it is a treeless prairie land crossed by many historic trails, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Three rivers cross the state from west to east. The Omaha and Lincoln areas are characterized by gently rolling hills. Nebraska experiences four distinct seasons with temperatures varying greatly from summer to winter, and violent thunderstorms and tornadoes are common.
The historic tribes in the state included the Omaha, Missouria, Ponca, Pawnee, Otoe, and various branches of the Sioux, lived in the region of present-day Nebraska for thousands of years before European exploration. The first major boom in population of non-indigenous settlers was a direct result of the California Gold Rush in the 1800’s. The news of gold brought many fortune-seeking Americans to the area, but it also attracted some tens of thousands from other continents. The California Gold Rush was a particularly violent period for the new settlers of the Wild West, and after the initial boom ended, attacks, laws and confiscatory taxes sought to drive out foreigners.
Today, the largest ancestry group claimed by Nebraskans is German American, and the state also has the largest per capita population of Czech Americans among U.S. states. Some notable people from Nebraska include Malcolm X, Marlon Brando, Warren Buffet, and members of the rock band 311.
Sometimes referred to as the "Star City,” Lincoln is the capital and the second most populous city in the state. The University of Nebraska and the second tallest capital building in the United States is located here. Lincoln has very little development outside its city limits and the largest town that may be considered a suburb of Lincoln is Waverly. Lincoln has several performance venues. The Pla-Mor Ballroom is a staple of Lincoln's music and dance scene, with an award-winning house band called Sandy Creek Band. The Lied Center is a venue for national tours of Broadway productions, concert music, and guest lectures. Tourist attractions and activities include the Sunken Gardens, the Lincoln Children's Zoo, the dairy store at UNL's East Campus, and The Frank H. Woods Telephone Museum featuring exhibits on historical telephone technology.