Development of Iowa's 99 Counties

99 Counties | FIND Iowa
Jun 12, 2024 | 00:03:17

How has the county map of Iowa changed over time?

Learn how Iowa counties were formed and have changed over a 36 year span from 1836 to 1872.


Abby Brown:

The present-day map of Iowa has 99 counties.

In 1834 there were only two territories, Dubuque in the north and Des Moines in the south.

Two years later the first counties were settled in the Southeast Corner followed by expansion North along the Mississippi River and West into the central part of the territories.

By 1843, the entire eastern border was settled and expansion was heading Westward.

Over the years, names changed and land was lost and gained from county to county.

In 1846 Iowa was admitted as the 29th state.

In the late 1840s there were border disputes in the South with the Missouri territory.  

All of which were resolved by 1850.

In 1851, the entire rest of Iowa's land was settled into many counties for a total of 100.

Over the next 22 years, some counties lost land while others gained.  

Meanwhile, names continued to change.

In 1872, with borders determined and names finalized, all of Iowa was settled for a grand total of 99 counties. Iowa's county map remains unchanged today.