When Was The US State Of Iowa Founded?

Stamp celebrating the centennial of Iowa's statehood. Editorial credit: Jeffrey B. Banke / Shutterstock.com
Stamp celebrating the centennial of Iowa's statehood. Editorial credit: Jeffrey B. Banke / Shutterstock.com

Iowa is a Midwestern state bordered to the east by the Mississippi River and to the west by the Big Sioux River and Missouri River. It is also bordered by six other states namely Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Iowa is the 26th largest state in the United States by area, covering approximately 58,272 square miles. With a population of 3.1 million, it is the country’s 30th most populous state. The State of Iowa was admitted to the union as the 29th state on December 28th, 1846. The name “Iowa” was derived from the Ioway people, a Native American tribe that occupied the area during the European Exploration.

Native American Land

The Native Americans arrived in the region that is now Iowa about 13,000 years ago. They were mainly hunters and gatherers who lived in a Pleistocene glacial landscape. By the time of the arrival of the European explorers, the Native Americans had transformed into settled farmers with a complex social, economic, and political system. Over time, they increasingly relied on agriculture and also adopted the use of ceramics and mounds. The arrival of European traders and diseases led to a dramatic decrease in population and social and economic upheaval.

European Exploration

Iowa was first documented by Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette who documented several Native American villages in Iowa in 1673 while traveling the Mississippi River. The area that is now Iowa was claimed by the French and remained its territory until 1763 when it transferred the ownership to the Spanish. Subsequently, the Spanish granted trading licenses to the British and French trades who established trading posts in the area. Iowa formed part of the territory of Louisiana with European traders obtaining lead and fur from the Native Americans. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the territory of Louisiana was divided into two; District of Louisiana and Territory of Orleans, with present-day Iowa falling in the former. The District of Louisiana was under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Territory with William Henry Harrison as the first governor. Iowa was mainly mapped in 1805 by Zebulon Pike but the US established military control over the region in 1808 after the construction of Fort Madison.

The Territory of Iowa and Statehood

The first Americans settled in Iowa in June 1883. The majority of the families that moved there were mainly from New York, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. Five years later (on July 4, 1838) the Territory of Iowa was established by Congress and Robert Lucas was appointed as its first governor by President Martin Buren. Immediately after achieving the territorial status, the people began pushing for statehood. However, this was not achieved until December 28th, 1846, when President James Polk signed a bill admitting Iowa into law. Iowa effectively became the United State's 29th state. After purchasing land from the Native Americans and resolving the boundary issues, the new state set its direction to development. Today, Iowa is one of the top ten states for business. It is not only a farming state but also has a diversified economy comprising of insurance and financial services, biotechnology, and manufacturing.


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