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Iowa: The 29th State

Iowa joined the Union in 1846.

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Iowa, also known as the Hawkeye State, became the 29th state added to the Union on December 28, 1846. The state’s name comes from the Ioway people, a tribe of Native Americans that lived on the lands.

From about 300 CE until the 17th century, a group called the Effigy Moundbuilders occupied the northeastern area. These indigenous people built earthen mounds in the shapes of animals, including bears and birds. Nobody knows why they built the mounds, but it could have been for ceremonies or tracking the stars. Today, around 200 of these artifacts are still in the area.

As time went on, roughly 17 Native American tribes lived in the region, including the Ioway, Fox (Mesquakie), Sauk, and Sioux.

In 1682, French Explorer Robert de La Salle visited and claimed the area for France as a section of what the Louisiana Territory. France owned this territory until 1803 when it was sold to the U.S. in the Louisiana Purchase.

As Europeans started exploring the area, tribes gave their lands to the U.S. through treaties. The first permanent settlement was established in the 1830s, after the Black Hawk War – a conflict between the Sauk tribe and the U.S. The Native Americans surrendered after the Battle of Bad Axe.

Since then, Iowa has mainly been a farming state, located in the “Corn Belt” area.

Interesting Facts

  • Iowa is one of the safest states to live in the country.
  • In 1840, the Winnebago Indians had to give up their lands and leave their home territory in Wisconsin. The U.S. government gave the tribe protection by building Fort Atkinson. It was the first and only time the U.S. built a shelter that protected one tribe from others.


Kelli Ballard

National Correspondent at and Kelli Ballard is an author, editor, and publisher. Her writing interests span many genres including a former crime/government reporter, fiction novelist, and playwright. Originally a Central California girl, Kelli now resides in the Seattle area.

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