Iowa, The Hawkeye State

Iowa, The Hawkeye State

by Sandra Merville Hart

Iowa’s nickname, The Hawkeye State, honors Chief Black Hawk, who was the leader of the Sauk Indians.

Iowa’s early history

Many Native American tribes lived in the area now known as Iowa. Some, like the Iowa, Sioux, and Ottawa, settled along the Mississippi River. The Illinois, Pawnee, Winnebago, and Omaha preferred wooded areas. A few of the other tribes were the Chippewa, Fox, and Sauk.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled through Iowa in 1804. This was part of the Louisiana Purchase that the United States bought from France.

The only team member to die during the expedition was Sergeant Charles Floyd. He is buried in Sioux City.

tepee-432612_960_720Black Hawk War

Black Hawk, leader of the Sauk tribe, believed the British and other Native American tribes would fight with him to keep their land in 1832. Help didn’t come. Battles lasted from April until August when Black Hawk surrendered.

Almost all of the Native Americans had been relocated to the west by the 1850s.

Fort Atkinson built to protect Native Americans

In 1840, the Winnebago Indians were forced to depart Wisconsin, leaving them at the mercy of enemy tribes. The United States offered the Winnebagos protection in Iowa. They built Fort Atkinson, the only U.S. fort built to shield a Native American tribe from another.

Iowa becomes a state

Iowa became a state on December 28, 1846. The capital is Des Moines.

Effigy Moundbuilders

A group called the Effigy Moundbuilders lived in Iowa from 1400 to 750 B.C. They left behind over 200 mounds; some are shaped like birds, bison, and bears. See them at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Harpers Ferry, Iowa.

corn-field-1935_960_720Other fun facts about Iowa

Iowa produces more corn than any other state.

The world’s “most crooked street” is Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa.

The world’s largest cereal company, Quaker Oats, is located in Cedar Rapids.

President Herbert Hoover was from West Branch. John Wayne was born in Winterset.




“Black Hawk War Begins,”, 2016/07/12

Gutman, Bill. The Look-It-Up Book of the 50 States, Random House, 2002.

“History of Iowa,” Warpaths 2, 2016,07/12

“Iowa,”, 2016/07/12

“Iowa,” State Symbols USA, 2016/07/12

“Iowa Facts and Trivia,” 50, 2016/07/12


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