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Iowa was originally home to at least 17 Native American tries, although today only the Meskwaki remain.
The first Europeans to reach Iowa were the French explorers, Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette in 1673. They recorded in their journals that the land was lush, green and fertile.
The United States gained control of the area from France in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. The first official American settlement began in 1833, and statehood was achieved in 1846.
During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Iowa contributed greatly to the Union war effort, including more 60% of its eligible males serving (the highest proportion of any state).
Iowa was a popular destination for immigrants, and the state encouraged immigration with a booklet printed in 1869 in English, German, Dutch, Swedish and Danish. Additionally, immigrants also arrived, particularly in coal mining areas from Italy and Croatia, and beginning in the 1880s, a significant number of African-Americans moved to the state, also to work in the mining industry. The coming of the railroads, also helped to encourage immigration, and, eventually, the establishment of the beginnings of a manufacturing sector.
World War One brought a brief agricultural boom to the state, but the 1920s and 1930s were a time of hardship after the elimination of the wartime agricultural subsidies. The state did not in fact fully recover until the 1940s.
After World War Two, Iowa's business and manufacturing sectors have continued to grow, and the state now produces a wide variety of manufactured products, as well the agricultural goods for which it is most famous.
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