Iowa State: attractions, history, interesting facts, cities

The state of Iowa is located in the heart of America, in the Midwest. Once part of the French colony, it was purchased by Americans as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 for $15 million.

The state is well known for its thriving agriculture, including numerous corn and soybean plantations. Iowa produces up to 20% of the total volume of American corn, up to 17% of soybeans, up to 30% of the total pork volume, and up to 14% of eggs. Therefore, the state is informally known as the “Corn State” and the “Food Capital of the World.”

Brief information about the state:

  • Abbreviation: IA
  • Capital: Des Moines
  • State area: 216,632 km² (14th in the US)
  • State population: 3,167,970 people (2021 data)
  • Minimum wage in Iowa, as in South Carolina, is $7.25 per hour
  • Official state website: Iowa.gov

Even before the arrival of the French, these lands were inhabited by various Native American tribes thousands of years ago. One of the most populous tribes gave its name to the future state of the USA – Iowa.

Attractions of Iowa:

In the capital of Iowa, the city of Des Moines, fairs and festivals are held starting in August and lasting for 10 days. The famous “Art in the Park” festival, which has been held in the city for 40 years since the 1990s, has been renamed to “Des Moines Arts Festival.” It continues to delight thousands of visitors every year, showcasing the creativity of painters from all over America.

Another undeniable attraction of Iowa is the State Capitol, located in Des Moines. The Capitol is not just a building but a huge palace that has remained almost unchanged since its construction in 1886.

The town of Walcott boasts the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, which houses more than 60 unique exhibits dating back to the early 20th century. Some of these models are one of a kind.

History of the “Hawk Eye” State:

The first French colonists from the Old World arrived in 1673 as part of the expedition of J. Marquette and L. Joliet. They were representatives of the Louisiana province, who declared the territory their own. They conducted research on the life of the natives and took a census of the local population before departing.

One hundred years later, the fertile lands came under Spanish rule. However, this change of power did not affect the life in Native American settlements. This redistribution of lands lasted shortly – the colony of “New France” reclaimed ownership. In 1673, they founded the first European settlement here. This marked the beginning of changes.

In 1803, the US government made a major deal with the French, resulting in the acquisition of the territory of the future 29th state for $15 million. Two years later, the first permanent American settlement – Fort Madison – was established here. Local tribes hindered industrial development, and they were decided to be displaced from their lands.

Indigenous peoples, led by their leader Black Hawk, put up considerable resistance, and sporadic conflicts erupted here and there. Moreover, America began a war with Britain for independence. In 1813, during the War of 1812, Native American tribes helped the British capture Fort Madison in exchange for weapons. Two years later, after winning the war and forcing Britain to sign a peace treaty, America regained control of the territories of Iowa. In the 1850s, indigenous uprisings were completely suppressed.Bridge, Iova

The Native Americans were forced to leave the settled areas and move further west. And settlers from Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and other states came to take their place. Such population migration was actively encouraged by the government.

In 1838, the US Congress officially classified Iowa as American territory, and in 1846, it granted statehood. The largest city, Des Moines, became the capital.

Interesting facts about Iowa:

1. Iowa is frequently used as a filming location for Hollywood movies, especially those related to agriculture. The state offers very natural views.

2. Iowa has several unofficial nicknames: the Corn State, the Heart of America, the Hawkeye State, and the Hockey State (although the closest Russian word in meaning would be “countryside”).

3. It has a continental climate with a high amount of precipitation annually, leading to frequent flooding and tornadoes.

4. Iowa’s museums often display many real bones and tusks of long-extinct mammoths.

5. There’s a community in Iowa known as the “Amanites” or “Amish” who reject progress and civilization, preserving their traditional way of life.

6. There’s a law in Iowa that prohibits kisses between lovers to last longer than 5 minutes. Violators are fined a substantial amount.

7. The state focuses heavily on energy production from alternative sources, hence wind turbines are not uncommon and can be found almost everywhere.

8. The majority of income for local farmers comes from growing corn, hence the unofficial slogan of these lands is, “From popcorn, we can make anything in the world!”

9. Iowa is home to three major universities and a library with a collection of over 3 million volumes.

Famous People from Iowa:

  • John Wayne – Born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, John Wayne became an iconic figure in American cinema, known for his roles in numerous Western films. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in “True Grit” in 1969.
  • Donna Reed – Born in Denison, Iowa, Donna Reed was an actress best known for her roles in films such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “From Here to Eternity.” She also had her own television show, “The Donna Reed Show,” which aired from 1958 to 1966.
  • Cloris Leachman – Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Cloris Leachman was an Emmy and Academy Award-winning actress known for her versatile performances in film, television, and theater. She appeared in numerous projects, including “The Last Picture Show,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
  • Ashton Kutcher – born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, gained fame as an actor starring in TV shows like “That ’70s Show” and movies like “Dude, Where’s My Car?” He’s also known for his entrepreneurial ventures and philanthropy.
  • Kurt Warner – Born in Burlington, Iowa, Kurt Warner is a former NFL quarterback who had a remarkable career, including leading the St. Louis Rams to victory in Super Bowl XXXIV and being named the Super Bowl MVP. He’s considered one of the greatest undrafted players in NFL history.

Major Cities in Iowa:

Despite the state’s area exceeding 145,000 km², much of the land is wild, sparsely populated areas, or fields planted with corn and other grains. Therefore, there are few urban landscapes, but where they exist, industry and services are highly developed.

Iowa is divided into 99 counties – territorial units with autonomous powers, and 100 county seats, each with its own governing bodies.

Major populated places in the Corn State (2010 census data):

– Des Moines – The largest city and capital located in the center of the state, with a population of 215,636 inhabitants (2019 data). In Forbes magazine’s 2010 ranking, the metropolis was named the best place in the US to start a career in agriculture.
– Cedar Rapids – 126,300 people
– Davenport – 99,700 people
– Sioux City – 82,700 people
– Waterloo – 68,400 people
– Iowa City – 67,900 people
– Council Bluffs – 62,200 people
– Ames – 59,000 people
– Dubuque – 57,640 people
– West Des Moines – 65,600 people, and numerous other smaller cities.

Iowa is home to over 3 million people, and that’s only the permanent population, not counting tourists and students.

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