European Explorers Meet Early Iowans

The first European explorers met the native Indians and learned from them in the early 1500s.


This is the land between two rivers: the Might Mississippi and the Missouri. Land that Indians called their home for thousands of years, we now call Iowa. They were not a single unified nation, but a race of many nations and many languages. When the first European explores landed on this continent they were viewed with a mixture of curiosity and friendship by the natives. The first Europeans called these people Indians for they believed they had landed in the East Indies. The Indians gladly shared the land with the white man and taught them how to live in the new land; to raise corn, beans and tobacco, and how to build birch-bark canoes. The early white settlers, learned well from their red brothers, soon sent word back across the waters to their motherland of the new land they had found.

“First People of the Prairies,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 1, Iowa PBS, 1979.