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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Iowa

The first known European explorers to document Iowa were Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet who traveled the Mississippi River in 1673 documenting several Native American villages on the Iowa side. The area was claimed for France and remained a French territory until 1763.

Its name comes from the Ioway people, one of the Native American tribes that lived in Iowa.

After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, Iowa was placed under United States control, but it was not until the construction of Fort Madison in 1808 that the U.S. established tenuous military control over the region.

On July 4, 1838, the U.S. Congress established the Territory of Iowa. President Martin Van Buren appointed Robert Lucas governor of the territory, which at the time had 22 counties and a population of 23,242.

On December 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th state in the Union when President James K. Polk signed Iowa's admission bill into law. Its first settlers were mostly farmers.


The first Iowa State Fair was held in the more developed eastern part of the state at Fairfield between October 25–27, 1854, at a cost of around $323. The principal attraction was an equestrian exhibit by ten young ladies. In 1886 it found a permanent home in Des Moines.


Iowa had a population of just 600,000 when the Civil War started. 76,534 Iowan men fought for the Union; no other state had a higher percentage of its male population serve.

The State Fair has been held every year since except for the year 1898 due to the Spanish–American War and the World's Fair being held in nearby Omaha, Nebraska. The fair was also a World War II wartime casualty from 1942–1945.

Herbert Hoover was the first US president born west of the Mississippi. He was born  in 1874 in West Branch, Iowa.

Some towns in Iowa sold their jails on the eve of Prohibition, as they were so certain crime was caused by alcohol.

In 1934, Oskaloosa, Iowa, became the first municipality in the United States to fingerprint all of its citizens.

On February 3, 1959  a small plane crashed in a cornfield 8 miles north of Clear Lake, Iowa, killing Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson with it. The phrase "The Day the Music Died" was first coined to describe the incident by Don McLean in his 1971 hit "American Pie."

The memorial marking the crash site, 2003

Iowa is bordered by the Mississippi River on the east and the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River on the west; it is the only U.S. state whose eastern and western borders are formed entirely by rivers.

In Iowa, pigs outnumber people seven to one.

It is illegal to accept a gratuity or tip in Iowa.

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