Please email or share this article!


Seal Of Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a state in the Midwest and Great Lakes region of the United States. It borders Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and by the states of Minnesota and Iowa. The area is famous for dairy and especially cheese. It is known as “Americas Dairyland.” It is also called the badger state.

The name “Wisconsin” is an Algonquin (Native American) word for the Wisconsin River. Over time, the meaning of the word “Wisconsin” has been lost. There is one theory that it means “it lies red”, Meskonsing, because the Wisconsin River passes through a red sandstone in the Wisconsin Dells.


Early settlements and populations

For over 14,000 the area now known as Wisconsin has been inhabited. In 10,000 BCE, a glaciation occurred called the Wisconsin Glaciation. It is the most recent North American glacial drift to have happened. Around this time, the first Paleo-Indians arrived. They hunted animals from the Ice Age that are now extinct, such as Boaz mastodon. We know this because archaeologists found a huge mastodon skeleton in southwest Wisconsin with spear points in it. There is now a mastodon skeleton in the Wisconsin Geology Museum.

Iceage North Glacial Hg

After the Ice Age, many agricultural and hunting societies lived in Wisconsin. Around 1000 CE, there were peoples which built famous mounds. These cultures became known as “Effigy Mound Cultures.” These peoples built thousands of animal-shaped mounds in the area. These were normally burial sites.

Watson Brake Aerial

Between 1000-1500 CE, the Mississippian and Oneota cultures built lots of settlements and villages, including a fortified village in Aztalan in the southeast region. It is thought that the Oneota cultures are the ancestors of the modern Ioway and Ho-Chunk nations, who lived alongside the Menominee when Europeans arrived in the 1600s.

Aztalan Platform Mound Panorama

When the Europeans arrived, the Native American peoples living in Wisconsin were Ojibwa, Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo and Potawatomie. These peoples migrated to Wisconsin from the east between 1500 and 1700.

European exploration and settlements

The first explorer of Wisconsin was a French man called Jean Nicolet. He took a canoe from Georgian Bay to the Great Lakes region in 1634. Pierre Radisson and Medard des Groseilliers visited again in the mid-1600s and began trading fur with Native American peoples who lived in the region.

Jean Nicolet

The trade continued between the French and the Native Americans throughout the 1600s and the 1700s. However, there were no permanent French settlements. The British won control of the region in the French and Indian War in 1763. However, many French traders remained in the region and did not return to Canada, which had been taken over by Britain from the French at this time.

Flag Of Wisconsin

Wisconsin became a territorial possession of the United States in 1783. In 1848, with a growing population, Wisconsin became the 30th state to be admitted into the Union.


What is Wisconsin’s nickname?
What is Wisconsin famous for?
What was the Boaz mastodon?
What was the fortified village called in the 1500s?
When did Wisconsin become a state?

Milwaukee At Night

Leave a Comment