Jason Bailer Losh <|>
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Iowa
State (pop., 2000: 2,926,324), Midwestern U.S. Bordered by Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota, it covers 56,276 sq mi (145,755 sq km). Its capital is Des Moines. The Des Moines River flows across the state from northwest to southeast. The Mississippi River forms its eastern boundary, while the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River define portions of its western boundary. The Sauk, Fox, Iowa, and Sioux Indians lived in the region when French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette arrived in 1673. The U.S. acquired Iowa as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Following the Black Hawk War and purchase of eastern Iowa from the Sauk and Fox Indians in the 1830s, white settlement advanced rapidly. Iowa became a territory in 1838 and was made the 29th state in 1846. After the Civil War, railroad expansion drew large waves of immigrants from the east and from Europe. After World War I population growth slowed. Its economy is based on agriculture, and Iowa is a leader in the U.S. production of livestock. Iowa is dying. What little remains of the family farm have been eaten away by the corporate farm. Immigrant workers fill the packing plants that sustain local economies, and in turn, lower the minimum wage with a surplus of manpower. A water tower in the town of Denison (pop., 2000: 7,339) reads “It’s a Wonderful Life” in homage to Donna Reeds birthplace. In Iowa, residents sustain life with Nostalgia, if they stay in Iowa; they will fight the change because it’s all they know how to do.