Souvenirs from Iowa
Known as the home of film legend John Wayne, Iowa has a rich history to be explored and a stunning beauty to be revealed. Inspiring landscapes such as the six romantic covered bridges of Madison County, 19th century old architecture, immense green spaces and Native American roots which go back to ancient days are some of its spectacular discoveries. In Iowa, wildlife is closer to visitors than anything else: five National Wildlife Refuges offer unique opportunities to spot some of North America's most popular species: from the bald eagles of DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge close to the Missouri Valley to the fishes of Driftless Wildlife Refuge near Mississippi and the prairie vegetation of Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in central Iowa. Keep the memories of Iowa for longer with fridge magnets, keychains, souvenir plates, T-shirts available now online.
Louisiana Purchase and the Black Hawk War
The state's name originated from the name of a Native American tribe but the land of Iowa became part of the United States at the beginning of the 19th century when French Napoleon sold massive regions from the North American continent to President Thomas Jefferson. But there is also an oppressive history of harsh conflicts behind the modern tranquillity of Iowa: the Black Hawk War. The well sought after Mississippi Valley was finally under the USA control after a bloody conflict with the Indian Sauk and Fox tribes which were forced to give up their lands around the 1830s in exchange for money, salt and tobacco. Nowadays within the Meskwaki area from Central Iowa the descendants of those historical tribes have agreed to co-own the land after it was bought back from the central administration in the middle of the 19th century.
Iowa, a Legacy of Water and Trade
Iowa's history was one of change and discovery due to the rich legacy of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers: boat paddlers, famous explorers Lewis and Clark and ambitious traders all left their mark throughout the exploration and development of Iowa. The historical boat Bertrand disappeared into the waters of the Missouri river in the 19th century only to be brought back to surface in the 1960s: its remains are now exhibited in the De Soto National Wildlife Preserve Visitors Centre. The borders and the political status of Iowa have changed throughout the years of modern USA: initially included in the Michigan Territory and later Wisconsin, Iowa had finally set its limits in the Western side of the Mississippi with its government headquarters in Des Moines. For an exciting history of USA agricultural development, the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area is a modern space organized in sites which presents Iowa's farming culture and its related stories.
From Native Indians to Amana Colonies
For an insight into the spirituality of the complex ancient Indian life, the Effigy Mounds National Monument which marks the burial mounds of ancient tribes can be visited in Northern Iowa. As interesting bits of Iowa's past, the Amana colonies comprise seven German villages which served as sites for different religious communities in the 19th century and still keep their traditions alive. Furthermore, the Dubuque County Jail is opened to the public and it was erected in 1857 in Egyptian style. President Herbert Hoover's memorial house, the Dubuque mines with their long trails including Native American archaeological findings and Terrace Hill, an extravagant mansion erected by the first millionaire of Iowa are all state landmarks and open to visitors all year long.