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Wisconsin Facts

Wisconsin is the 20th most populous and the 23rd largest state by total area. It's capital is Madison, and the largest city is Milwaukee. The WI state has total 72 counties.

Quick Facts


Official Name Wisconsin
Area65,497.82 sq mi (169,639 km2)
Population5,757,564 (2014 est)
CapitalMadison
Largest CityMilwaukee
Official LanguagesEnglish (de facto)
Time ZoneCentral: UTC 6/5
GovernorScott Walker
Lt. GovernorRebecca Kleefisch
U.S. SenatorTammy Baldwin, Ron Johnson
AbbreviationWI, Wis. US-WI
Joined the UnionMay 29, 1848
NicknameBadger State, America's Dairyland
Highest PointTimms Hill
Lowest PointLake Michigan
Official Websitewww.wisconsin.gov

Wisconsin Infographic

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Location and Geography : Wisconsin is a state in the Midwest region, bordering two of the Great Lakes (Lake Michigan and Lake Superior). Much of Wisconsin’s natural flora has been replaced by farms, but attempts to reintroduce its lost forestation have been generally successful.

Counties and Regions : Wisconsin has 72 counties, which tend to get smaller and more crowded towards its eastern side. The state’s topography can be divided into the following general regions:

  • Central Plain
  • Door Peninsula (at the Great Lakes)
  • Eastern Ridges and Lowlands
  • Lake Superior Lowland
  • Northern Highland
  • Western Upland

Population : More than 5.8 million people live in Wisconsin. In the past, the state’s population was mainly rural, but it has become more and more urban over the centuries.

Major Cities : Wisconsin’s largest city is Milwaukee, which is home to more than 600,000 people and forms a part of an important megalopolis along the shores of the Great Lakes. The state capital, Madison, has about a third as many people but is distinguished as a center of education.

Story Behind the Name : The name of the state is derived from a Native American phrase whose meaning has been lost, but likely referred somehow to the red rocks of the Wisconsin River. The name has undergone many different spellings, as it was converted from the native tongues into French and later English.

History and Colonization : French explorers and traders were the first Europeans to travel extensively in modern Wisconsin, setting up commerce in fur and other goods with the Native Americans who lived in the area. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, France laid claim to the region in addition to much of the rest of modern-day Canada and the United States,
but the natives in Wisconsin saw little of the French government. France later lost most of its territory to Britain, which also refrained from establishing permanent settlements in far-flung areas like the modern-day American Midwest. Wisconsin passed to the United States, however, upon the conclusion of the American Revolution.

The U.S. did not begin to exert much authority in Wisconsin until the middle of the nineteenth century. Migrants from other areas of the country poured into the region to benefit from the lucrative lead mining and lumber milling industries. This sparked a confrontation with the indigenous peoples, and military campaigns had mostly removed the Native American population by the time of the Civil War. Wisconsin was a particularly abolitionist state, and a dispute over an escaped slave that was freed in Wisconsin was one of the events that precipitated the onset of the Civil War itself.

Several industries came and went in Wisconsin. Agriculture took over in the nineteenth century, but poor environmental practices were beginning to bankrupt some of these professions by the 1890s. Famously, the state switched to cheese and milk production, and Wisconsin dairy products are still some of the most highly regarded in the United States. The Industrial Revolution brought factories and manufacturing jobs to the state, which received a bump in the early twentieth century due to the World Wars and the popularity of the automobile.

Being made up of so many blue-collar workers, the union and labor movements put down many roots in Wisconsin. The state became known as a political battleground between progressive and anti-communist forces in the 1950s and 1960s, but this debate became less vitriolic in later decades. As the traditional industries of manufacturing and agriculture have become less profitable in recent years, Wisconsin has found new horizons in the fields of service, medicine, and tourism.

More Wisconsin Facts & Trivia


1.It was in 1634 that the French came to Wisconsin. At that time the state was populated by Winnebago, Dakota and Menominee tribes.
2.Wisconsin's spelling capital is Bonduel.

3.Wisconsin gets its name from an indigenous American term that signifies the act of collecting water.

4.The first generation miners of Wisconsin used to carve out homes at the hillsides or reside at the shafts themselves. This habit resembled the Badgers. This is the reason why the state has got the pet name Badger State.

5.Gigantic glaciers had wrapped up Wisconsin's landmass at least 12,000 years back.

6.Wisconsin is among the leading producers of cheese in USA. Its dairy agriculture has been assisted a lot by helpful climatic, topographic and soil conditions.

7.A Catholic establishment and a trading post were set up by the French in 1660. It was in 1634 that Jean Nicolet, a well known voyager from France had arrived in Green Bay.

8.USA's dairy capital is Wisconsin. It is also referred to as America's Dairyland on certain occasions. It also has the highest number of dairy cows in the country - 1 and a half million. It also generates 15 percent of the milk produced in USA.

9.Wisconsin's UFO capital is Belleville.

10.The state's Turkey capital is Boscobel.

11.Majority of the visually attractive landforms at Wisconsin were created when the ice sheets that had covered the area began to give way. All this happened during the Wisconsin Glacial Stage.

12.Various fun activities and tourism are the major sectors in the economy of the northern part of the state.

13.UK gained control of Wisconsin after the French and Indian Wars came to a conclusion in 1763. Following the end of the American War of Independence in 1863 the state was claimed by America. Still UK stayed in control of the state - something that came to an end once the War of 1812 finished.

14.There are at least 21,446 water bodies in the state and almost 66.67% of these are lakes.

15.The global jump rope capital is Bloomer.

16.The global snowmobile capital is Eagle River.

17.Wisconsin is among the top manufacturers among states in USA. The industrial sector is primarily concentrated in the southeastern area.

18.The aggregate area of this state is 65,498 square miles.

19.The Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed by the US Congress in 1854. As per this Act, people who had settled in the two states were given the choice of having slaves. However, several residents of Wisconsin opposed this move. A conference was organized so that there could be some protest against the proposed introduction of slavery in the said states. The meeting was held in Ripon and spawned the Republican Party.

20.More than 2500 musicians participate at the Summerfest. The festival is staged annually in Milwaukee, and is the biggest of its kind in USA.

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Last Updated on: October 3rd, 2017