1881 Railroad Map of Iowa


The story of Iowa started long before people ever lived on the land. Earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and ice helped form the landscape of this area for over 1 billion years. Nomadic people roamed what is now Iowa nearly 12,000 years ago, hunting large mammals like mammoths, mastodons and caribou. About 2,500 years ago, people gradually started settling near rivers as they learned farming techniques, beginning our agricultural tradition. The rivers turned into transportation routes for trade, which brought European trappers, traders and explorers in the late 1600s.

The past 200 years have seen settlers coming to Iowa from across the world to farm the land, make a home and become Iowans. Small towns and big cities flourished. Today Iowa has more communities than almost any other state. New immigrants continue to change the face of our state. Iowa's foundation in education continues to develop workers, artists, innovators and leaders. The people, products and ideas of the state continue to change our nation and the world. 

After thousands of years of Iowa history, there are many stories to be told. There are stories about schools and businesses, people and communities, wars and government, artistic endeavors and transportation systems, agricultural enterprises and environmental changes. All of these things make up the story of Iowa. But the true story of Iowa is your own.

What is your Iowa story? Find your Iowa pathway.

My Path

  1. Lawmaking
  2. Iowa Towns


What is your Iowa pathway? Start your investigation by selecting a topic from the list above.

Media Artifacts

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