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Iowa Facts Iowa Flag Iowa Map


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State Seal of Iowa
State Tree of Iowa

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Iowa information
Iowa, state in the northern part of the central United States. It lies in the heart of the North American continent, in the region known as the Midwest. Iowa, with its fertile prairie lands and heavily agricultural economy devoted to raising grain and livestock, is often considered the typical Midwestern state. Iowa entered the Union on December 28, 1846, as the 29th state. Des Moines is the state’s capital and largest city. Iowa is, in large part, an efficient, large-scale production line for the nation’s food. From rich black earth to waving corn to fattened hog and steer foodstuffs, the entire process is carried out on a grand scale. Most of the corn and other grains are fed to Iowa’s hogs and cattle. Then, factories take over to pack the meat, process any grain that remains, and produce the equipment to till the soil, harvest the corn, run the farms, and process the farm products. Other factories produce goods that have little or nothing to do with agriculture, such as ball-point pens, washing machines, and office furniture. In value of annual economic production, Iowa is primarily an industrial state, but much of its industrial output remains based on farm production. The state’s name was taken from the Iowa River, which in turn was named for the Iowa people, the Native Americans who lived in the region during early European exploration. Iowa is called the Hawkeye State. The name is believed to be a tribute to Chief Black Hawk, a leader of the Sac people who were relocated to Iowa after unsuccessful resistance to white settlement. Iowa is the 26th largest state in the Union. It has a total area of 145,744 sq km (56,272 sq mi), including 1,041 sq km (402 sq mi) of inland water. The state has a maximum extent from east to west of 534 km (332 mi) and a maximum distance from north to south of 344 km (214 mi). The mean elevation is about 340 m (1,100 ft). The physical features of present-day Iowa are the result of widespread and repeated glaciation during the last Ice Age and the subsequent changes brought about by wind and water erosion. Few of the sedimentary rock formations underlying the state are visible on the surface, for they are covered by a thick mantle of glacial deposits. During the Ice Age, which began about 2.5 million years ago and lasted until about 10,000 years ago, great ice sheets from the north advanced and retreated successively across Iowa. As each ice sheet, or glacier, advanced across the land, it planed off existing hills and filled in valleys, picking up rock material as it went. As it retreated, the ice sheet left behind layers of clays, sands, gravels, and boulders, which together are called drift, or glacial drift. The drift included clays and boulders that were deposited directly by the ice sheet and are called till, or ground moraine. In addition, streams of meltwater flowing out of the retreating ice deposited a variety of other rock material. Not all of the ice sheets covered all of Iowa. Although the earliest ones did extend across nearly the entire area, the subsequent ice sheets generally covered only the north central parts of Iowa. Consequently, the materials left by the more recent ice sheets masked some of the older drift deposits. As a result, the age and relative degree of erosion of the mantle of glacial drift differ from section to section. These differences are reflected in the division of the state into natural regions. Archaeologists believe that the first Iowans appeared about 12,000 years ago. They were nomads who hunted large animals like the giant bison, woolly mammoth, caribou, and musk ox. These animals lived along the edge of the retreating glaciers that had covered much of North America. As the climate changed and these large animals either became extinct or retreated to cooler climates, the native peoples who remained gradually learned to gather seeds, berries, and roots from their surroundings. Eventually, in addition to their hunting, they learned to plant seeds and care for them with bone tools. About 1,000 years ago peoples from the south began making their way north along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Corn was their most important crop, as it became for nearly all Native American peoples in North America. What is called the Oneota culture in prehistoric Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri combined the annual hunts of the Plains native peoples with the agriculture of the Eastern Woodlands cultures. These early farmers were the forerunners of the Iowa or Ioway and Oto peoples, who lived in Iowa in the 1600s when French and English fur traders first appeared in the region. During the next two centuries, new Native American groups entered Iowa as they were displaced by Native Americans to the east. These included the Omaha, Missouri, Dakota (Sioux), Winnebago, the Sac (Sauk) and Mesquaki (whom Europeans have called the Fox), Potawatomi, and Mascouten. At the time, Iowa was inhabited by the Illinois and Iowa tribes, who spoke a Siouan language. These peoples were later expelled from their ancestral domains by the Sac and Mesquaki, peoples of the Algonquian linguistic group, who were forced out of Michigan and Wisconsin in the early 18th century by other Native Americans. The first Europeans in Iowa were the French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, who crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa in 1673. On June 17, they stopped briefly at a village of the Illinois. In 1681 and 1682 another French expedition led by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, sailed down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. La Salle claimed the entire river basin—including Iowa—for France, and named it Louisiana. Only a small number of missionaries, fur traders, and soldiers passed through Iowa during the period the French claimed it. France’s rivalry with Great Britain in the western hemisphere culminated in battles for the domination of North America, called the French and Indian War (1754-1763). After significant military losses in 1759 and 1760 the French, expecting defeat by the British, secretly transferred to Spain their claim to all land west of the Mississippi to keep it from falling into British hands. Under Spanish control, the first white settler in Iowa, Julien Dubuque, obtained permission in 1788 from the Mesquaki to mine lead near the city that now bears his name. Dubuque hired Mesquakis to work the mines and sold the lead in St. Louis. After Dubuque’s death in 1810, the Mesquaki reclaimed possession of the land and continued the mining.
Cities of Iowa
Top 10 cities of Iowa with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Des Moines: 203,433
2. Cedar Rapids: 126,326
3. Davenport: 99,685
4. Sioux City: 82,684
5. Iowa City: 67,862
6. Waterloo: 68,406
7. Council Bluffs: 62,230
8. Ames: 58,965
9. Dubuque: 57,637
10. West Des Moines: 56,609


Iowa information - top 10 interesting Iowa facts for kids




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