Introduction - Iowa FactsIowa is a Midwestern state located in a region that is referred to as America's Heartland. Iowa is bordered by six other states; Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Missouri. What unique feature does Iowa have? It is the only state of all fifty U.S. states to have an east and a west border made entirely of rivers. When economic disaster ripped through the rural farmlands of Iowa in the 1980s, poverty levels reached those of the Great Depression. You will find out why this happened in the historical facts section below. Who are some famous people born in Iowa? You'll find that answer in the list of interesting facts below. You will also discover where Iowa ranks in terms of population in the quick facts section. This information is presented in a kid-friendly format, making it easy to follow for all ages.
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Iowa Quick Facts
- Iowa was the 29th state to be admitted as a U.S. state.
- It became a state on December 28th of 1846.
- The state abbreviation of Iowa is IA.
- The largest city in Iowa is the capital Des Moines.
- The population of Iowa is 3,107,124 (2014 United States Census Bureau), making it the 30th most populated state in the USA.
- It is the 26th largest state with a total land area of 56,272 square miles (145,743 square kilometers).
- The name given to residents of the state is Iowans.
- The state nickname is the Hawkeye State.
- The state song is "The Song of Iowa".
- The state motto of Iowa is "Our Liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain".
Iowa Interesting Facts
- Iowa's name is derived from the French name for a tribe of Native Americans they called the Ioway that were indigenous to the region that is now Iowa.
- Iowa is the only state, out of the 50 U.S. states, whose both east and west borders consist entirely of rivers; the Mississippi River to the east, and the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River to the west.
- The major rivers in this state are the Mississippi River, Missouri River, Des Moines River, Iowa River and Cedar River.
- Lake Red Rock is the only major lake in Iowa.
- Besides the capital Des Moines, which is the state's largest city, other large cities in Iowa include Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, and Iowa City.
- The state's oldest city is Dubuque.
- Herbert Hoover, the 31st U.S. President, was born in West Branch, Iowa on August 10, 1874. He served as president from 1929 - 1933.
- The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Knoxville, Iowa. The museum opened to the public in 1992 and exists to preserve the history of sprint car racing through exhibits and memorabilia while honoring the most accomplished achievers in the sport.
- Academy Award winning actor, Marion Robert Morrison, better known as John Wayne, was born in Winterset, Iowa in 1907. Other famous people from Iowa include the inventor George Washington Carver, entertainer Johnny Carson, Buffalo Bill Cody, Glenn Miller, and actor Andy Williams.
- The first Iowa state fair was held in 1854. The only years the state fair was not been held since then was 1898 and from 1942 - 1945 while World War II was being fought. The fair has become one of the state's main attractions.
Iowa Historical Facts
- When European explorers first arrived in the region that is now Iowa several Native American tribes inhabited the region including the Dakota, Ioway, Ho-Chunkand, and the Otoe.
- In 1803 the United States purchased a huge portion of territory from France, including what is today the state of Iowa, in the Louisiana Purchase.
- The only member of the Lewis and Clark expedition to die during the famous journey, Sergeant Charles Floyd, Jr., was buried in Iowa. The Sergeant Floyd Monument in Sioux City pays tribute to him. This historical landmark soars 100 feet (30.48 meters) above the ground and is made entirely of sandstone.
- Zebulon Pike, who Pikes Peak was named for, explored Iowa in 1805.
- Iowa's Fort Madison was a U.S. military fort built in 1810 as a way to both monitor and secure the nearby trading post and to control the upper Mississippi region. During the War of 1812 the British convinced local bands of hostile Native Americans to attack the fort which resulted in its abandonment in 1813.
- Starting in the early 1800s the U.S. government forced Native Americans out of the area that is now Iowa and encouraged settlers to move there.
- The Farm Crisis of the 1980's, which left Iowa farmers poverty stricken, was created by a number of factors. Record high interest rates caused the national farming debt to climb to $12.5 billion. The combination of farmers severely in debt, a halt on grains being shipped to the Soviet Union, and falling commodity prices created the perfect storm of events which led to the decade long crisis.
- Although no Civil War battles were fought in the state of Iowa, proportionately more men were sent into battle from Iowa than from any other state on either side of the war.