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Largely a college town today, the city of Peru is home to Peru State College, in Nemaha County, Nebraska. The community was first settled in 1853 by people who had come from Peru, Illinois. However, since the Nebraska Territory was still occupied by the Otoe tribe at the time, they were forced to vacate by federal troops from Fort Kearney. Temporarily, they settled across the Missouri River at what is now Watson, Missouri. In 1857, a settlement began around a trading post called Mount Vernon, on the bluffs above the river on the Nebraska side. Later that same year, Peru was founded on the Missouri River, down the hill from Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon Academy was established there in 1861, becoming the state’s first normal school. Mount Vernon Academy later became Peru State College. Peru is north of Brownsville, northwest of Rock Port, southwest of Hamburg, east of Julian, and northeast of Auburn, near Nebraska’s borders with Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas.



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