Iowa Facts and History

Abbreviated as IA on, Iowa is one of the seven central states of NO. of the United States, the smallest of these by surface area (145,415 sq km), closed between the middle course of the Mississippi (to the east) and the lower one of the Missouri. Its territory falls entirely within the region of the great plains, and corresponds to a fairly rough hilly landscape, especially where the glacial action, to which we owe the essential characteristics of its morphology (lakes, recessed valleys), was better able to leave traces of itself (regions of north and NO.). Alluvial deposits and löss almost everywhere they give a soil ideally suited for the development of cereals and this explains why with its 93.6% of land cultivated, Iowa holds the head, in this regard, among the states of the Union. Iowa belongs to the greater corn – belt area, where maize production prevails; consequently it is at the same time a country of breeding, especially of pigs (over 10 million heads, the highest figure among the states), of cattle (over 5 million heads, of which 1.5 of dairy cows), of horses (more than 1 million horses, another maximum) and sheep (1.1 million heads). The mineral riches are not lacking: the SE part. of the state, along the Des Moines, closes large anthracitiferous deposits (40 thousand sq. km.) in continuation of the contiguous Illinois basin, while almost everywhere materials are extracted for the manufacture of cement, gypsum, lime.

The climate, although temperate, has a marked continental character, with sufficient rainfall (about 800 mm. Per year on average), usually concentrated in the first summer. Corn (160 million hectoliters in 1930) is the country’s most important product; copious quantities also yield oats, wheat, rye and potatoes. The agricultural population comprises 64.6% of the total; the urban area, however, grew by 38.3% between 1890 and 1900, while the rural increased by just 14.6%. In recent years there has been a clear trend towards the spread of forage to the detriment of cereals, both due to the general grain crisis and the need to repair the rapid depletion of land subjected to fifty years of intensive monoculture. At the same time, local industries have become better equipped, not just the extractive ones, but also those engaged with imported raw material (metallurgy). This development was possible thanks to a dense network of communication routes, including the rivers (Mississippi), and the continual shift towards the west of the Union’s center of gravity.

The population of the state, which at its foundation (1846) counted less than 190,000 inhabitants, reached 2 million at the end of the nineteenth century, it exceeded them at the beginning of this, but tends to mark a setback in the last fifty years. (2.2 million in 1910; 2,470,939 in 1930; the increase since 1920 was just 4.7%, one of the weakest in the Confederation). Among the foreign elements, the Germans prevail (31.3% of those born abroad in 1920); Swedes (10%) and Norwegians (7.7%) are also numerous; Italians (about 5 thousand) represent just under 3%. The percentage of Negroes is low (0.8%), while the number of Amerindis is negligible.

A single urban center exceeds 100,000 inhabitants, Des Moines, the capital (143,000 inhabitants), which owes its development to the nearby coal mines and the consequent establishment of numerous industries, however essentially of regional interest. Sioux City (60,000 inhabitants), Davenport (80,000 inhabitants) and Cedar Rapids (60,000 inhabitants) are also industrial cities, with factories destined for the processing of local food products.


Visited by the Jesuits Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet in 1673, and by their father Louis Hennepin in 1680, this part of the Mississippi valley came under French rule in 1682, was ceded to Spain in 1762, relinquished to France in 1800-1801, and included in the purchase by the United States of Louisiana in 1803, after which it was subsequently part of the territories of Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin. Iowa was an independent territory from 1838 to 1846, when it was admitted to the Union as a state. It was first inhabited by the Iowa and Illinois Indian tribes, and later by the Sauk and Fox Indian tribes. After 1803, Indian rights in the region were gradually acquired by the United States. The first white colonization was made by J. Dubunque in 1778, where the city of his name now exists, but only after 1830 were important permanent colonies established there. The state took an active part, alongside the north, in the civil war. It is governed according to the constitution of 1857. In local and national politics it was predominantly republican.

Iowa Facts and History


Although Iowa does not have a national park, it does have a very special archaeological area that is protected by the state. The “Effigy Mounds National Monument” is located in the northeast of the country in the Mississippi Valley. Around 2500 years ago, the native Indians created mound sculptures there, which have been preserved to this day. 190 of these natural works of art have been preserved over an area of ​​seven square kilometers. Particularly popular with all visitors is the group of sculptures of the “Marching Bears”. There are about 30 hills that were shaped like animals about 500 years before the birth of Christ. In addition to the bears, other species “march” there, for example wolves. In the northwest, nature lovers should definitely visit the “Barringer Slough Wetland”, a marshland covering almost seven square kilometers. Not only the vegetation is extremely interesting there. From rented canoes, travelers can also observe bog animals such as pelicans, otters and herons. There are a number of lakes, both large and small, in Iowa. The largest is the “Spirit Lake”, which is extremely popular not only with holidaymakers but also with anglers. It is home to around 40 different species of fish.

Des Moines

According to, Des Moines is a city of the USA (196,998 in 2007), capital of Iowa (since 1857). Founded in 1843 (Fort Des Moines) at 850 m asl, at the confluence of the Raccoon River with the Des Moines. Active agricultural market, it has developed the industry in the food, mechanical, rubber, wood, cement and graphic-publishing sectors. Very animated railway junction (the major lines connect it to Minneapolis, Davenport, Kansas, Omaha), in an area rich in coal deposits.

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