Wisconsin State History – State Capital, War, Facts & Geography of Wisconsin State

People have lived in Wisconsin for thousands of years. Archaeologists called the people who first settled the land Paleo-Indians. Early cultures such as the Hopewell, Woodland, and Mississippian cultures formed. They built huge mounds that can still be seen today across Wisconsin.

Information about Wisconsin State:

Capital Madison
Population 5,892,539 (Source: 2022 U.S. Census)
Major Cities Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine
Borders Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $417,301.0 million (2022 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Key Industries Agriculture including cheese, milk, butter, corn, oats, potatoes, and cranberries
Transportation equipment, paper, packaging, tourism, furniture, and processed foods

Flag of Wisconsin State:

Native Americans

When Europeans first arrived in Wisconsin, the land was inhabited by many Native American tribes. These tribes include the Ottawa, Ojibwe, Kickapoo, Huron, Sioux, and Ho-Chunk. These people lived mainly in vaulted dwellings called wigwams, built of wooden poles and covered with bark and grass. They hunted deer and buffalo for food. They also grew beans and corn.

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Europeans Arrive

The first European to arrive in the area in 1634 was the French explorer Jean Nicolette. Nicolette was looking for the Northwest Passage to China, but could not find it. However, he found a land rich in beaver pelts. Europeans soon came to Wisconsin from Canada, trading with locals for furs to sell in Europe.

Wisconsin State Symbols

  • Wisconsin State Nickname: Badger State
  • Wisconsin State Slogan: Stay Just a Little Bit Longer
  • Wisconsin State Motto: Forward
  • Wisconsin State flower: Wood Violet
  • Wisconsin State bird: Robin
  • Wisconsin State fish: Muskellunge
  • Wisconsin State tree: Sugar Maple
  • Wisconsin State mammal: Badger, Dairy cow
  • Wisconsin State foods: Milk

Early Settlers

Over the next few years, more and more French came to the area, including fur traders and missionaries. Nicolas Perrault, one of the French traders, established a trading post at Green He Bay in 1667. After establishing many trading posts in the area, he claimed French lands in 1689.

French and Indian War

Although the French claimed the land, many British fur traders began to migrate to the area. In 1754, the French and Indian War began between France and England. Some of the local Native Americans fought on the French side, others on the British side. Britain eventually won the war and took control of most of France’s lands, including Wisconsin in 1763.

The Geography of Wisconsin State:

  • Total Size of Wisconsin: 54,310 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
  • Geographical Low Point of Wisconsin: Lake Michigan at 579 feet (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Geographical High Point of Wisconsin: Timms Hill at 1,951 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Price (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Central Point of Wisconsin: Located in Wood County approx. 9 miles southeast of Marshfield (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Counties of Wisconsin: 72 (source: National Association of Counties)
  • Bodies of Water of Wisconsin: Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Winnebago, Petenwell Lake, Wisconsin River, Mississippi River, Chippewa River

Northwest Territory

After the American Revolutionary War ended in 1783, Wisconsin became part of the United States. It became part of the Northwest Territories in 1787. This was a large area in the upper Midwest. This included future states such as Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Though considered part of the United States, Great Britain controlled much of the region until the United States defeated Great Britain in the War of 1812.

Black Hawk War

Lead ore was discovered in Wisconsin in his 1820s. This prompted many new settlers to take over Native American lands. Ultimately, Native Americans were evicted from Wisconsin by the U.S. government. In 1832, the Fox and Sauk decided to return to their homeland.

They were led by Chief Blackhawk. They fought several battles with American forces in the so-called Blackhawk War. They were ultimately defeated at the Battle of the Badax. An interesting fact is that Abraham Lincoln was a member of the United States Army during the Black Hawk War.

Becoming a State

In 1836, the Wisconsin Territory was created by the United States Congress. His first capital was the city of Belmont, but he was soon moved to the current capital, Madison, in 1838. Wisconsin continued to grow and became largely a farmer’s country. On May 29, 1848, it became her 30th state to join the Union.

Civil War

Wisconsin remained a member of the Union throughout the Civil War. There were no major battles in the state, but more than 90,000 soldiers were sent to the north. During this period the state became more industrialized.

Famous People of Wisconsin State:

Frank Lloyd Wright Architect
Laura Ingalls Wilder Author
Orson Welles Actor and director
Spencer Tracy Actor
Tony Shalhoub Actor from the TV show Monk
William Rehnquist Supreme Court Justice
Les Paul Electric guitar inventor and manufacturer
Danica Patrick Race car driver
Georgia O’Keeffe Painter
Colin Kaepernick Professional football player
Liberace Piano player and entertainer
William S. Harley Co-founder of Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Heather Graham Actress
Eric Heiden Gold medal speed skater

Interesting Facts of Wisconsin State:

The first home with electricity in the United States was in Appleton, Wisconsin.

The largest city in Wisconsin is Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Summerfest is he one of the world’s largest outdoor music festivals.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin is called the “Bratwurst Capital of the World”.

Wisconsin got its name from the river. It means “river of red stones”.

The Badger State gets its name from senior miners who were called “badgers” because of the way they dig holes.

The state is known for its cattle ranches, milk and cheese. Football his team Green Bay his Packers fans are sometimes referred to as “Cheeseheads”.

Bloomer is considered the skipping capital of the world.

In Wisconsin he has over 15,000 miles of snowmobile trails.

Timeline Overview:

1634 – French explorer Jean Nicolette arrives in Wisconsin.
1689 – Nicolas Perrault claims the area as French territory.
1754 – The French and Indian War begins.
1763 – After winning the French and Indian War, the area is occupied by the British.
1783 – Wisconsin becomes part of the United States after the American Revolutionary War. 1787 – Northwest Territories are established, including Wisconsin.
1812 – The War of 1812 finally drove the British out of the area.
1822 – Lead mining begins.
1832 – The Blackhawk War breaks out.
1836 – Wisconsin Territory is incorporated. 1841 – The first small cheese factory is established.
1848 – Wisconsin becomes the 30th state to join the United States.
1854 – The Republican Party is founded as the anti-slavery party in the city of Ripon.
1919 – Green Bay Packers Football His team is founded by Earl “Curly” Lambeau.