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Iowa Travel Guide: sunset at Five Island Lake, Emmersburg, IowaIowa Travel Guide: sunset at Five Island Lake, Emmersburg, Iowa
photo source,_Iowa_-_Five_Island_Lake_at_sunset.jpg
authorshipDavid Morris

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Iowa is a landlocked state in Midwestern United States. It covers an area of 56,272 sq miles (145,743 sq km) in the American Heartland. Iowa is bordered by Minnesota to the north, Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the northwest, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west and South Dakota to the northwest. The state has a population of just over 3 million people. Its capital and largest city is Des Moines.

Iowa was originally part of the French colony of New France. It was first documented by European explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet who arrived there when they travelled up the Mississippi River in 1673.

Sunrise at Five Island Lake, Emmetsburg, IowaSunrise at Five Island Lake, Emmetsburg, Iowa
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authorshipDavid Morris

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Des Moines, capital and biggest city in IowaDes Moines, capital and biggest city in Iowa
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authorshipTim Kiser

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Iowa was brought into the United States through the Louisiana Purchase, and became the 29th state in the Union on 28 December, 1846, when President James K. Polk signed Iowa's admission bill. From the mid 19th to the early 20th century, Iowa grew rapidly as a major agricultural state. The Great Depression and the Second World War were catalysts in transitioning Iowa's economy from agriculture to include manufacturing, so much the better, as the Farm Crisis of the 1980's brought a major recession to the state, with widespread poverty not seen since the Great Depression.

The result of the Farm Crisis is that the economy of Iowa continued to metamorphose, becoming less dependent on agriculture as it embraces other sectors such as biotechnology, finance and insurance services. Surprisingly, Iowa now has a predominantly urban population.

First Baptist Church, Davenport, IowaFirst Baptist Church, Davenport, Iowa
photo source,_Iowa%29.jpg

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Travel to Iowa

The main highway into Iowa is Interstate-80 that cuts across the state from east to west. Interstate-35 cuts through the state from north to south. Both highways pass through Des Moines, the capital

Travel within Iowa

Many parts of Iowa are rural, so it is best to have a car at your disposal if you intend to explore the state extensively.

Bear Creek, Story county, IowaBear Creek, Story county, Iowa
photo source,_Iowa.jpg

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Cities in Iowa

Cities in Iowa sorted by population, according to 2009 estimate, rounded to the nearest thousand.
  1. Des Moines (198,000)
    Capital and biggest city in Iowa.

  2. Cedar Rapids (128,000)
    One of the few cities in the world where its governmental offices are on a municipal island.

  3. Davenport (101,000)
    One of the Quad cities along with Bettendorf, Moline, East Moline and Rock Island.

  4. Sioux City (83,000)
    City on the western border of Iowa.

  5. Iowa City (69,000)
    City in central eastern Iowa, and was the first capital city of the state.

  6. Waterloo (67,000)
    City established along the Cedar River.

  7. Council Bluffs (60,000)
    City in southwestern Iowa.

  8. Dubuque (57,000)
    Oldest city in Iowa, established in 1788 by French explorer Julian Dubuque.

  9. Ames (56,800)
    City in the central part of Iowa.

  10. West Des Moines (56,500)
    Second largest city in the Des Moines metropolitan area.

  11. Ankeny (43,300)
    A small city in central Iowa.

  12. Cedar Falls (38,600)
    City within the Cedar Falls-Waterloo metropolitan area.

Places of Interest in Iowa

  1. Amana Colonies
    Settlement of a German religious sxect that arrived there in the 1850's.

  2. Living History Farms
    An outdoor agricultural museum open from May to October demonstrating the lifestyle in the 18th to early 20th centuries.

National Monuments in Iowa

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