Iowa is often referred to as the 'American Heartland'. Famous for agriculture-based economy, it is a landlocked state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital and largest city is Des Moines. Cedar Rapids and Sioux City are other major urban areas in Iowa. The state has 99 counties.
History of Iowa
The Woodland Indians were the first known permanent settlers of what is today known as Iowa, and were mostly popular for their mound building activities. Some tribes of the late prehistoric or protohistoric period included the Meskwaki, Sauk, Illiniwek and Omaha.
Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first European explorers to have entered the land in 1673. Region of the present-day Iowa was claimed by France and till the year 1763, it remained a part of the French Territory. The ownership was, however, transferred to Spain later. In the year 1803, the US acquired control of Iowa through the Louisiana Purchase. After Fort Madison was built in 1808, the US issued military control over the region.
Demands for statehood soon surfaced and on 28 December, 1846, Iowa was declared the 29th state of the Union. The capital was shifted from Iowa City to Des Moines in the year 1857.
Geography of Iowa
Comprising an area of 56,276 square miles, Iowa is the 26th largest state of the US. It is bordered by Minnesota to the north, Wisconsin and Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west, and South Dakota to the northwest. It is the only state in the US where the western and eastern sides are covered by rivers; the Mississippi River on the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River on the west.
The state’s highest point is Hawkeye Point, which stands at an altitude of 510 meters above the sea level. Lake Red Rock, Big Spirit Lake, West Okoboji Lake and Clear Lake are major water bodies in the state. Iowa is blessed to have the most fertile topsoil in the world. The state can be divided into three physical regions: the Young Drift Plains, the Driftless Area and the Dissected Till Plains. The average low and high temperature of Iowa ranges from 6.3 degree Fahrenheit to 86.2 degree Fahrenheit.
Travel Destinations in Iowa
A state where presidential dreams take flight, Iowa is a place where one can aimlessly walk back in time and savor in the beauty of the old charm. From the beautiful bridges of Madison County to the quaint towns in Van Buren County, Iowa offers different strokes for everyone. Embark on adventures like snowmobiling or loose yourself among Iowans in a state fair, there is lot more to do in 'The Hawkeye State' than eating farm-fresh corn.
Effigy Mounds National Monument is a sacred Native American site that preserves over 200 prehistoric mounds. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site memorializes the life of the 31st US President Herbert Hoover. National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and Figge Art Museum allow an insight to the cultural legacy of Iowa. Adventureland, Vander Veer Botanical Park, Saylorville Lake and Maquoketa Caves State Park are some of the top places to visit in Iowa.
Transportation in Iowa
- By Air - Des Moines International Airport (DSM) is the gateway to Midwestern US. The Eastern Iowa Airport serves the city of Cedar Rapids.
- By Train - Southwest Chief and California Zephyr are the Amtrak trains operating through the state.
- By Road - Greyhound, Burlington Trailways and Jefferson Lines operate long-distance bus services throughout the state.
Education in Iowa
The state has the one of the best graduation rates in the US. There are 365 school districts under the Iowa Department of Education. The state has three public universities: Iowa State University in Ames, University of Iowa in Iowa City and University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Read more here
Facts about Iowa
Last Updated on: July 24th, 2017
- The state is named after a Native American tribe- the Ioway people.
- Snake Alley in Burlington is the most crooked street in the world.
- It is a supplier of about a tenth of the nation’s food source. More Facts...