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French explorers first visited Iowa in 1673. Throughout the early 1700's, a few fur traders and missionaries visited the state, but no permanent settlements were established. With plans to mine for lead, French Canadian Julien Dubuque bought land from the Meskwaki and became the first white settler in 1788.

Although, Dubuque had followers that came after he settled in Iowa, the first official settlement wasn't established until 1833 at the end of the Black Hawk War. Iowa's population had grown to over 100,000 people when it became the 29th state on December 28, 1846. In the late 1860's the economy began to grow very quickly. Four railroads crossing the state connected it with the eastern market by 1870.

If Hawaii is America's paradise, then Iowa is most certainly America's garden! Around 92 percent of the states land is used for farming and it supplies about 7 percent of the countries food supply. Iowa almost always comes in first or second in the production of corn, soybeans, oats, milk, cattle and calves in the entire nation.

Its enormous production of corn has earned it the nickname the "Corn State". And, since corn is a main ingredient in feed for hogs, the state produces almost one fourth of the nation's hogs. But, industrial growth also makes up part of the state's economy. Iowa has the largest cereal plant, the largest popcorn processing plant and the largest wheel tractor plant in the United States.

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