History of Iowa
The U.S. State of Iowa was admitted as the 29th state of the union on December 28th, 1846. Iowa was first explored by French explorers, Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet. Marquette and Jolliet traveled along the Mississippi River to document Native American settlements during the late 1600’s. Iowa was a part of the territory of French Louisiana. After the French lost the French and Indian War, they transferred ownership to Spain who then controlled the region until Napoleon Bonaparte once again brought French Louisiana back under French control in 1800. 3 years later, Thomas Jefferson approved the purchase of French Louisiana from Napoleon, taking the region of modern day Iowa with it.
The area of modern day Iowa grew to support a strong trade industry, thus was valuable to both the newly formed United States, and the remaining British settlements in the west. After the war of 1812, the region fell into British hands for a short period of time until the Americans were able to secure a more stable control of the region. It wasn’t until the 1830’s that the first official American settlements in Iowa were established. In 1838, Iowa was officially established as a formal territory and was eventually admitted to the union as a state a few years later in 1846.
Present – Iowa
Currently, the state of Iowa is the 26th largest state in the United States and the 30th most populous. For nearly two centuries, the entire economy of Iowa was based around fur trading and agriculture. Only relatively recently has its economy shifted and become more diversified.
In 2015, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of Iowa to be 3,123,899, with the capital city of Des Moines being the most populated city. A 2016 estimation by the United States Census Bureau put the population of the Des Moines – West Des Moines metropolitan area at 634,725.
As the largest city in Iowa, the south-central city of Des Moines serves as the political and economic hub of the entire state. Des Moines has made itself full of attractions for hometown residents and visiting tourists, such as the Iowa State Capital, the Des Moines Art Center, and the Iowa State Fair to name a few.
In addition, the eastern region of the state is home to the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Here, the famous Iowa Writer’s Workshop has fostered a community of creative writers and thinkers alike. The successes of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop was formally recognized by the United Nations and resulted in Iowa City becoming the first American City to be designated as a “City of Literature,” in the UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network.
Due to its geographical terrain, northwestern Iowa was proven to be a highly favorable location for wind power generation. Recognizing this, the state government of Iowa took this in stride and developed one of the most expansive networks of power generating Wind turbines in the entire world.
The foundation of Iowa’s economy has always been agriculture. However more recently, the state has expanded its manufacturing industry, along with a newfound venture in the health insurance industry. Iowa will continue to explore these new economic endeavors in the coming years.