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Iowa Description

French explorers Joliet and Marquette first sighted Iowa in 1673 when they canoed the Mississippi River. In 1682 LaSalle explored the Mississippi River and claimed all lands drained by it for King Louis XIV of France.

dubuqueIn 1788, Julien Dubuque, the first white settler arrived. He cleverly lived among the Mesquakie Indian tribe and together they successfully mined the lead deposits in the northeast corner of the state. Of course, the Indians did the manual labor.

At that time about three quarters of the state was covered with prairie grass - most as tall as a house. The remaining land was timbered. As many as 17 Native American tribes populated Iowa then, yet only the Mesquakie remain today. Most of Iowa's land was included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the remaining was "later acquired" from the Sauk and Fox tribes after the Black Hawk War of 1832.

Iowa attained U.S. territorial status in 1838. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 declared that Iowa would prohibit slavery in any form and be a free state; that officially occurred on December 28, 1846. The capital city, first located in Iowa City, was moved to Des Moines in 1857 so it was closer to the center of the state.

What happened to Iowa's land in the last 70 years of the 19th century boggles the mind! By 1900 nearly all of its 36 million acres had been cleared, drained and plowed, and were then being cultivated by a population of 2.2 million people, compared to about 96,000 only 54 years earlier. It was certainly one of the most rapid land use transformations in the history of the world.

During the American Civil War, Iowa led the states in per capita enlistment in the military. 60% of eligible males were involved in the effort. Iowa lead mines made bullets for that war as well. The staunchly free state of Iowa provided a wide Underground Railway network for escaping slaves before their emancipation was a reality.

herbert hooverAfter the Civil War ended railroads began to traverse the state bringing increased opportunities for growth. As a result many religious communities settled in Iowa, among them the Amanas and the Quakers. Herbert Hoover, Iowa's only US President, was a Quaker.

Not surprisingly, Iowa is today a major agricultural state. It nearly always leads the nation in the production of pork, corn, soybeans, and eggs. The state is also the largest producer of biodiesel and ethanol fuels, and 3rd in the nation for wind power production.

The education of its young people is a front-burner issue in Iowa, and in fact the state has some of the highest SAT scores. Every four years the nation's focus is on the State of Iowa when the country's first Presidential caucus is held here. The trend-setting results of the Iowa vote frequently hold true when all of America votes.

Major attractions in Iowa include the Amana Colonies, Crystal Lake Cave, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, the Field of Dreams (of movie fame), Effigy Mounds National Park and the State Capitol building. In addition, interesting points-of-interest along both the Mormon and Lewis and Clark Trails are not to be missed.

With its beautiful green countryside, many historic sites, and outdoor activities of all description, Iowa is an attractive family destination.

Iowa Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Greenfield Adair 641
Corning Adams 641
Waukon Allamakee 563
Centerville Appanoose 641
Audubon Audubon 712
Vinton Benton 319
Waterloo Black Hawk 319
Boone Boone 515
Waverly Bremer 319
Independence Buchanan 319
Storm Lake Buena Vista 712
Parkersburg Butler 319
Manson Calhoun 712
Carroll Carroll 712
Atlantic Cass 712
Tipton Cedar 563
Mason City Cerro Gordo 641
Cherokee Cherokee 712
New Hampton Chickasaw 641
Osceola Clarke 641
Spencer Clay 712
Guttenberg Clayton 563
Clinton Clinton 563
Denison Crawford 712
Waukee Dallas 515
Bloomfield Davis 641
Lamoni Decatur 641
Manchester Delaware 563
Burlington Des Moines 319
Spirit Lake Dickinson 712
Dubuque Dubuque 563
Estherville Emmet 712
Oelwein Fayette 319
Charles City Floyd 641
Hampton Franklin 641
Sidney Fremont 712
Jefferson Greene 515
Grundy Center Grundy 319
Panora Guthrie 641
Webster City Hamilton 515
Garner Hancock 641
Iowa Falls Hardin 641
Missouri Valley Harrison 712
Mount Pleasant Henry 319
Cresco Howard 563
Humboldt Humboldt 515
Ida Grove Ida 712
Williamsburg Iowa 319
Maquoketa Jackson 563
Newton Jasper 641
Fairfield Jefferson 641
Iowa City Johnson 319
Anamosa Jones 319
Sigourney Keokuk 641
Algona Kossuth 515
Fort Madison Lee 319
Cedar Rapids Linn 319
Wapello Louisa 319
Chariton Lucas 641
Rock Rapids Lyon 712
Winterset Madison 515
Oskaloosa Mahaska 641
Pella Marion 641
Marshalltown Marshall 641
Glenwood Mills 712
Osage Mitchell 641
Onawa Monona 712
Albia Monroe 641
Red Oak Montgomery 712
Muscatine Muscatine 563
Sheldon Obrien 712
Sibley Osceola 712
Clarinda Page 712
Emmetsburg Palo Alto 712
Le Mars Plymouth 712
Pocahontas Pocahontas 712
Des Moines Polk 515
Council Bluffs Pottawattamie 712
Grinnell Poweshiek 641
Mount Ayr Ringgold 641
Sac City Sac 712
Davenport Scott 563
Harlan Shelby 712
Sioux Center Sioux 712
Ames Story 515
Tama Tama 641
Bedford Taylor 712
Creston Union 641
Keosauqua Van Buren 319
Ottumwa Wapello 641
Indianola Warren 515
Washington Washington 319
Corydon Wayne 641
Fort Dodge Webster 515
Forest City Winnebago 641
Decorah Winneshiek 563
Sioux City Woodbury 712
Northwood Worth 641
Eagle Grove Wright 515

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.