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Iowa is home to about three million people, and the lowest temperature on record was minus 47 -- with the highest being 118 F. Busy French explorers Marquette and Joliet were the first Europeans to be in the area during 1673. The U.S. got control of the region in 1803, due to the Louisiana Purchase. Heavy fighting occurred during the early to mid 1800s, between Indians and settlers. Lands were taken from the Native Americans during three periods -- 1832, 1836, and 1837.

In 1846, Iowa became a state and made its capital Iowa City. A new capital was named in 1857 -- Des Moines. State boundaries were drawn at that time. A tenth of the U.S. food supply comes from this state, but manufacturing is its strong sector. A few of the major industries here are food, machinery that's non-electrical, publishing and printing, electrical equipment, and fabricated products. It's an agricultural state that's in a class of its own. Farms in Iowa sell over $10 billion in crops, along with livestock, every year. Large forests produce a lot of walnut, and general lumber, plus Iowa's mineral production includes sand, gravel, cement, limestone, coal, gypsum, and gravel.

Visitors seek out major attractions and interesting places, such as the Amana colonies, the Iowa State Fair (Des Moines during August), the Herbert Hoover birthplace (near West Branch), Fort Dodge (museum, fort & stockade), and the Effigy Mounds Natl. Monument. The latter is at Marquette and it consists of a prehistoric Indian burial site and artifacts.

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