submitted by Neal Carter, October 13, 2007


The Hawkeye State is Crowding the Half Century Mark

Forty-six years ago Tuesday Iowa became a state. This fact prompts the Des Moines Register to observe that forty-six years is not many in the life of a nation, but in the Iowa nation they mark a marvelous history. Just 100 years ago the present territory of the state was ceded by France to the United States. The government that signed the deed has vanished from the face of the earth. The country it ceded at that time had less than 200,000 population, and a bare moiety of this population spoke the English language. The largest town within its borders had less than 15,000 population. A dozen states, each as large territorially as France has been carved out of it. The cities of about 25,000 people number more than 100. The population reaches into the millions.

The first permanent white settler of Iowa was Julien Dubuque, who obtained a grant of land and settled upon it in 1788 and resided upon it until his death, in 1810. In 1834 Iowa by act of congress became a part of Michigan territory; in 1836 a part of the territory of Wisconsin; in 1838 it was construced into the territory of Iowa. The original lines included both the Dakotas and most of Minnesota. Burlington was made the seat of government, continuing so for one year, when the capitol was moved to Iowa City. After two trials the territory became a state, with its present boundaries, in 1846, and the following year Des Moines became the capital. At that time, 1847, the population was in round numbers, 192,000; 10 years later it exceeded 600,000 and 10 years later 1,000,000. To-day it is 2,000,000. There are now no traces of the pioneer days remaining in Iowa. Indiana, Ohio, both the Virginias, Missouri and other states have plenty of … school houses; Iowa has none, but … less illiteracy than other states; … schools to population and more churches. After having been a constituent part of two kingdoms, two empires and one republic, Iowa has become one of the largest commonwealths in the largest republic and most powerful nation known to history. It is worth something to be a Hawkeye and to know that the marvelous history of the state has been written during 46 years.

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