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History >> US Geography >> US State History

Iowa

State History

People have inhabited the land of Iowa for thousands of years. The earliest people are called the Paleo-Indians. They eventually developed into the Woodland Culture which built large mounds along the Mississippi River. Many of these mounds can still be seen today.


The city of Des Moines
Des Moines, Iowa by Shimo

Native Americans

By the time Europeans arrived in Iowa, the land was populated by a number of Native American tribes. Some of the major tribes included the Sioux in the north, the Sauk and Fox in the east, the Ioway in central and western Iowa, and the Otoe in the southwest. These tribes hunted buffalo and grew crops such as corn and beans.

Europeans Arrive

The first Europeans arrived in Iowa in 1673 while exploring the Mississippi River. They were Frenchmen Louis Joliet, a fur trader, and Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit missionary. They visited with the local Native Americans and mapped the region for future travelers. In 1682, another French explorer, Robert de La Salle, claimed the region for France as part of the Louisiana Territory.

Early Settlers

For the next hundred years, the few Europeans who came to Iowa were fur traders and trappers. They traded with the local Native Americans for beaver furs which were used to make fancy hats in Europe. The first permanent settlement was Dubuque, which was established by Julien Dubuque in 1788.

Louisiana Purchase

In 1803, the United States gained control of Iowa as part of the Louisiana Purchase. For $15 million the U.S. bought the Louisiana Territory from France and nearly doubled the size of the country.

Lewis and Clark

After the purchase, President Thomas Jefferson sent explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on an expedition to map out the northern section of the new territory. They arrived in Iowa traveling on the Missouri River. One of the members of the expedition, Sergeant Charles Floyd died of appendicitis near Sioux City, Iowa. Lewis and Clark sent back rave reviews of the land and soon more people were moving into Iowa.

Black Hawk War

With so many settlers moving into the region, the United States government told the Sauk and Fox tribes that they would have to move to Indian Territory. In 1832, the Sauk returned to reclaim their land under the leadership of their chief, Black Hawk. They fought with the U.S. army for control of their land, but eventually surrendered after losing the Battle of Bad Axe. Over the next several years, the majority of the Native American tribes were pushed out of Iowa.


A farm in Iowa
A farm in Iowa

Becoming a State

In 1812, Iowa became a part of the Missouri Territory. After the Indians were pushed out in the 1830s, there was plenty of land for people to settle and the population grew. The U.S. Congress established the Territory of Iowa in 1838 and on December 28, 1846 Iowa was admitted to the Union as the 29th state. The first capital city of Iowa was Iowa City, but it was moved to the permanent capital of Des Moines in 1857.

Civil War

During the American Civil War, Iowa remained loyal to the Union. Although there were no major battles in the state, Iowa sent many soldiers to the Union army in support of the North.

Timeline More US State History:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


Works Cited

History >> US Geography >> US State History





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