A Minute History Of Wisconsin

Wisconsin is located in the north-central United States, within the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. Minnesota borders it to the west, with Iowa bordering it on the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Madison is the state capital of Wisconsin, however, its largest city is Milwaukee, which is situated next to Lake Superior. As Wisconsin’s nickname “America’s Dairyland” suggests, it is one of the nation’s leading dairy producers.

Wisconsin Rakbo cheese


The word Wisconsin originates from the Native Americans living in this specific region at the time of European contact. The present-day Wisconsin River was first called Meskousing but was later changed to Ouisconsin, over time becoming the name for both the river and its surrounding lands. English-speakers then changed the spelling from Ouisconsin to Wisconsin when they arrived during the early 19th century.


The first people, called Paleo-Indians, settled in Wisconsin around 10,000 BC during the Wisconsin Glaciation, when they hunted now-extinct ice age animals. The first European to visit was likely to be the French explorer Jean Nicolet in 1634, around when the fur trade continued across Wisconsin through the 17th and 18th centuries. The British gradually took over the state during the French and Indian War, taking control of Green Bay first.

Wisconsin later became a territorial possession of the United States in 1783 after the American Revolutionary War. The prospect of mineral wealth drew immigrants from throughout the U.S. and Europe to Wisconsin and the miners earned the nickname of “badgers”, leading to the state’s identity as the “Badger State”.

The Winnebago War of 1827 and the Black Hawk War of 1832 culminated in the forced removal of Native Americans from most parts of the state. At the same time, many Germans, Irish, Norwegians and other immigrants also settled in towns and farms across the territory, establishing Catholic and Lutheran institutions. In 1850 over a third of residents were foreign born, including 38,000 Germans, 28,000 British immigrants from England, Scotland and Wales, and 21,000 Irish.


Wisconsin’s economy has since diversified since its early years of statehood. While lead mining diminished, agriculture became a principal occupation, but in the 1890s, farmers shifted from wheat to dairy, helping the state build its reputation as “America’s Dairyland”.


Nowadays, also thanks to the state’s fame as America’s dairy land, tourism is a major industry in Wisconsin, especially in destinations such as the House on the Rock near Spring Green, Circus World Museum in Baraboo, and The Dells of the Wisconsin River. It is also important for a few festivals such as Summerfest and the Country USA Oshkosh.

Another important tourist destination is Door County because of the large number of natural harbors, bays, and ports on the Green Bay and Lake Michigan side of the peninsula that attract visitors with fishing and hunting interests.

The state capital is famous for its high-ranked university, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, while Milwaukee became synonymous with Germans and beer beginning in the 1850s, as they started setting up breweries and making beer for the rest of the nation.

Another famous city in Wisconsin is Green Bay, one of the first cities the English took over during the early wars, especially since it is the home of the National Football League team, the Green Bay Packers, who recently won the Super Bowl championship in 2010.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the state was 114 °F (46 °C), in 1936, while the lowest
temperature was −55 °F (−48 °C) in 1996.

Wisconsin Rakbo snow

Profile photo of Carolina Guerra


Carolina Guerra

Carolina is an Italian student about to graduate from high school in Milan, her hometown. She was an exchange student in the US and loves to travel all around the world, sharing most of her journeys on Instagram. You can always catch her singing, dancing, writing or eating. She also has a passion for cinema and dogs.

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