1801—Thomas Jefferson is elected President of the United States           

Population of the United States is 5.3 million, with 1 million being of African decent

1803—April 30, Louisiana Purchase finalized. President Jefferson asks Congress for funds to take an expedition to the Mississippi River and beyond in search of a route to the Pacific Ocean.

1804—May, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark depart on their expedition to the Missouri River and the Western U.S.

            November, Jefferson is re-elected president.

1808—James Madison is elected President of the United States

1812—War of 1812

1820—Missouri Compromise is passed, admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a gree state. The compromise also prohibited slavery in the remainder of the Louisiana Purchase north of 36/30 degrees north latitude.

Great Plains Nebraska USA1

The plains of Nebraska, USA

1824—John Quincy Adams is elected President of the United States

1828—Andrew Jackson is elected President of the United States

1835—The state of Texas declares independence from Mexico

November 30, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) is born in Missouri

1834—The combine harvester is invented in the U.S. by Hiram Moore

1836—Martin van Buren is elected President of the United States

1844—First telegraphs message sent from Washington D.C. to Baltimore

1848—Zachary Taylor elected as President of the United States


Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was published in the U.S. in 1852.

1852Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is published

            Franklin Pierce is elected President of the United States

1854—Kansas-Nebraska Act repeals the Missouri Compromise

1856—James Buchanan elected President of the United States

1857—Albert Bierstadt, famous great plains artist, takes an expedition through the American West that will inspire his later paintings of the great plains landscape

1858—Gold first discovered in Colorado, inspiring westward settlement growth

1860—Abraham Lincoln is elected President of the United States

            December 20, South Carolina secedes from the union

            The American Civil War begins

1862—The Homestead Act is passed, giving freehold title to 160 acres of undeveloped land in the American West

The Morrill Act is passed, setting public lands aside for state colleges across the country

1864—Sand Creek Massacre; American troops killed hundreds of Cheyenne Indians

American Civil War ends

            April 14, Abraham Lincoln is assassinated

1868—Ulysses S. Grant is elected President of the United States

1869—Union Pacific Railroad extended through the Great Plains

1870—15th Amendment to the constitution is passed, allowing black citizens the right to vote

1873—December 7, Willa Cather is born in Virginia. Custer defeated, 250 soldiers killed.

1875—Jim Crow laws enacted in Tennessee

            Civil Rights Act passed

1876—Battle of Little Big Horn; General Custer attacks a camp of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians along the Little Big Horn River in Montana

            The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is published

Zitkala-Sa born in South Dakota

1885The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is published in the U.S.

1887—The Dawes Act is passed; the act is intended to dissolve Indian reservations by forcing Indians to live on small family farms. Each family received 160 acres of reservation land. 

1889—Land Rush; 50,000 settlers compete to claim two million acres of land made available in present day Oklahoma. The Dawes Act had taken the land away from Indians.

1890—Drought and crop failure cause many settlers to leave the great plains region

Drought on plains

Drought struggles ravaged the plains in the 1880s and 1890s.

            December, Battle of Wounded Knee; American troops kill 200 Native American women and children

1898—Spanish American War

1900The Wizard of Oz  by L. Frank Baum is published

1901—Theodore Roosevelt is elected President of the United States

1902—February 1, Langston Hughes is born in Missouri

1906—The Enlarged Homestead Act is passed in the U.S. congress, allowing ________

1908—William Howard Taft is elected President of the United States

1910—April 21, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) dies

1914—World War I begins in Europe

1917—United States enters WWI

1918My Antonia by Willa Cather is published

World War I ends

1925The Professor’s House by Willa Cather is published

1928—First regularly scheduled television service in the U.S. begins

1929—U.S. Stock Market crashes, the Great Depression begins

1931—Great Depression reaches a low point. Almost 25 percent of Americans are unemployed

1932—Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected President of the United States

1936The Plow That Broke the Plains, a documentary chronicling the Great Plains region during the Dust Bowl, is released.

1938—January 26, Zitkala-Sa dies in Washington, D.C.


The Wizard of Oz movie premiered in the U.S. in 1939.

1939The Wizard of Oz movie premieres in the U.S. based on the 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum

World War II starts in Europe

1941—Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; U.S. declares war on Japan

1945—World War II ends

1947—April 24, Willa Cather dies in New York City

1952—Dwight Eisenhower is elected President of the United States

1956—Telecasts of the Wizard of Oz movie begin in America

1960—John F. Kennedy is elected President of the United States

1968—Richard Nixon is elected President of the United States

1969—Woodstock music festival is held in New York

1973—Vietnam War Ends

           Richard Nixon resigns

1974Little House on the Prairie TV series premiers

1984Footloose movie released; the movie followed the life of a rural Oklahoma town and its decision to enact, and then repeal, a ban on dancing and rock music.

1992—George Clinton is elected President of the United States           

1996Twister movie released; the film depicted a team of storm chasers trying to gather data on a tornado outbreak across Oklahoma.

2002—Ted Kooser, a native of Iowa and longtime Nebraska resident, becomes Poet Laureate of the United States.

2006Friday Night Lights TV series premieres; the show depicts a small town in West Texas and the rallying of the community around high school sports.