Wisconsin State Facts, Symbols and History
Wisconsin Fast Facts
Capital: Madison (popularity). 228.775 (2008 est.)
Wisconsin Population: 5,726,398 ( 2012 Census) (20th)
The Wisconsin Quarter The Wisconsin Quarter was the fifth quarter of 2004 and the 30th quarter released in the United States Mint’s 50 State Quarters® Program.Wisconsin was admitted to the Union on May 29, 1848, becoming our National 30th state. The Wisconsin quarter is representative of the reputation of the Dairy State of “America”.The design of the quarter is an agricultural theme featuring a cow, a round of cheese and an ear of corn. The inscription on the coin reads “Forward”, the State Motto.Wisconsin produces over 350 award-winning cheeses true. In addition, there are approximately 17,000 dairy farms with over one million cows, producing an average of 17,306 gallons of milk per cow per year.
Language: English, others
Largest Cities: (by population) Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, Appleton
Name: The name Wisconsin is derived from the Indian word Ouisconsin, meaning “Collection of Waters”.
Statehood: May 29, 1848 (30th state)
Wisconsin is a US state located in the north-central part of the country. See cities and towns in Wisconsin.
The name of the state comes from the Wisconsin River. Although the exact etymology of this name is not known, it is believed that it entered the English language through a French interpretation of a Native American name. Most likely, the French recorded as Ouisconsin the word Miskasinsin from the Ojibwe language, meaning “place of the red stone.” However, it is possible that the name comes from words meaning “collection of waters” or “large rock”. The name is usually abbreviated as WI, Wis or Wisc.
Two battleships USS Wisconsin are named after the state.
In 1634, French explorer Jean Nicolet, looking for the Northwest Passage, landed near Green Bay and became the first European in what is now Wisconsin. The area belonged to France until 1763, and then after the Seven Years’ War passed to Great Britain.
- AbbreviationFinder: Demonstrates how the two-letter acronym of WI stands for Wisconsin and a list of frequently used abbreviations related to the state of Wisconsin.
After the American Revolution, Wisconsin became part of the US Northwest Territory. As this territory split, Wisconsin became part of the Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan territories. Wisconsin Territory was organized on July 3, 1836 and became the thirtieth state on May 29, 1848.
In the first half of the 19th century, Wisconsin was an important source of lead. As treaties and Indian wars opened the territory to white settlers, thousands of miners flocked to southern Wisconsin, many of them immigrants from Cornwall. At one time, Wisconsin produced over half of America’s lead. During the lead boom, it even seemed that the metal-rich southwest of the state would become the most populated, and the city of Belmont briefly became its capital. True, by the end of the 1840s, readily available reserves were largely depleted, and many miners were swept away by the California gold rush. Wisconsin is still full of echoes of the events of this period. Galena is the symbol (the “official mineral”) of the state, and Wisconsin is nicknamed the “Badger State” because many of the miners, who arrived faster than housing was built, lived with their families right in the mines, like badgers in holes. Locality names such as Mineral Point are also reminiscent of this period in Wisconsin’s history.
At the end of XIX and beginning of XX centuries. Thousands of immigrants from Germany and the Scandinavian countries settled in Wisconsin.
The political history of Wisconsin includes such diverse figures as Robert La Follette, one of the leaders of the Progressive Movement of the early twentieth century, and the instigator of the anti-communist scare (“witch hunt”) at the beginning of the Cold War, Joseph McCarthy. Recently, the state is considered one of the most left-wing. In the past five presidential elections, residents have voted for the Democratic nominee; however, in 2000 and 2004 the Democrats won by a very narrow margin of 5,700 and 14,000 votes. In 1982, Wisconsin became the first state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Like many other states, Wisconsin is divided into sharply defined political areas. The most conservative part of the state is the suburbs of Milwaukee, and the most liberal is the city of Milwaukee itself, which back in 1910 became the first large city in America to elect a socialist mayor.
Wisconsin is often referred to as “America’s Dairy Farm” because the state is famous for its cheese production. According to a common stereotype, Wisconsin is a remote country where there is nothing but cows. Residents of the state are sometimes jokingly called cheeseheads – “cheese heads”. Because Wisconsin was populated mostly by Germans in the early 20th century, like other states in the continental north, it both produces and consumes a large amount of beer.
The two main cities of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and the capital, Madison – are the centers of the state’s cultural life. Madison is home to the University of Wisconsin, one of the best public universities in the US, and the small town is built largely around it. In contrast, Milwaukee is a large city and part of the Chicago metropolitan area. The Milwaukee Museum of Art is known for its distinctive architecture.
The state’s northern border is made up of Lake Superior and the border with Michigan, which runs in places along the Montreal and Menominee rivers. To the east, Wisconsin is bordered by Lake Michigan, to the south by Illinois along the 4230 parallel, and to the west by Iowa and Minnesota, mostly along the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers.
Wisconsin is divided into five geographic regions. The plain gradually rising to the south along Lake Superior is covered with ash-birch forests. To its south lies the mixed-forested Northern Upland, which contains the state’s highest point, Timms Hill, at 595 meters. Lying in the middle of the state, the Central Plain contains characteristic sandstone formations, through which the Wisconsin River flows. This is the most fertile part of the state, though not densely populated, and much of the deciduous forest still remains. The eastern part of the state consists of two parallel chains of low hills with plains around them. It contains most of the state’s population, and the forest there has largely given way to towns and farms.
The state’s diverse landscape, especially the thousands of glacier-formed lakes, attract tourists. In winter, activities such as skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobile racing are popular. In the summer they go in for water sports, fishing, and picking berries.
Wisconsin’s self-promotion as “America’s Dairy Farm” often leads to the misconception that it is an exclusively agricultural state. In fact, Wisconsin has cities of all sizes, from Milwaukee, a city slightly larger than Boston, to small towns that serve as hubs for the surrounding agricultural areas.
Wisconsin is not only a major producer of cheese, but beer and sausages, and the largest producer of cranberries, ginseng, and stationery products among the states. Although Wisconsin now produces less milk than California, it is still the largest per capita milk producer in the US. Wisconsin hosts a number of all-American festivals like the Oshkosh Aircraft Show. Finally, the University of Wisconsin is an international center for stem cell research.