Wisconsin State Overview

By | October 5, 2022

In the very north of the United States of America, in the Great Lakes region, lies the federal state of Wisconsin, which covers an area of 169,790 km². Its neighboring states are Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa. The natural border is represented by the two Great Lakes – Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. It joined the Union on May 29, 1848, becoming the 30th US state.

The name Wisconsin comes from the Native American word Miskwasiniing, meaning “Place of the Red Stone.” Allegedly, this was the name of the Wisconsin River, and later the entire territory began to be called by that name.

Wisconsin is characterized by a gently undulating landscape that has been modeled by glaciers over millions of years. The highest peak is Timms Hill with a height of 595 meters above sea level. Important rivers flow through the state, such as the Wisconsin, Mississippi, St. Croix River and Chippewa River. In addition to the Great Lakes, there is also the interesting Lake Winnebago. Wisconsin has a continental climate.

The original inhabitants were the Winnebago Indian tribes. The first European to penetrate the territory of Wisconsin was the Frenchman Jean Nicolet, who landed here with his ship while trying to find a way to the Orient. The first larger settlements began to emerge here after 1717, and subsequently the entire area came under the administration of Britain. The separate territory of Wisconsin was created in 1836 and existed until 1848, when the state joined the US.

In the first half of the 19th century, Wisconsin was an important mining state with significant mineral deposits. This fact is also reflected in the names of some towns, such as Mineral Point. At first galena (lead sulphide) was mined here on a large scale, which was later replaced by lead. More than half of the lead production in the US at that time was provided by Wisconsin. However, in the 1840s, the supply of the mineral ran out and most of the miners left due to the outbreak of the California Gold Rush. In the days of mining, the state was nicknamed the “badger state”. Many mining families lived directly in the mines, which is why they were compared to badgers.

Around 5.6 million people live in Wisconsin, the majority of whom are white, with smaller numbers of blacks, Indians and Asians. Around 85% of the population is Christian, the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches are the most represented here. About 14% of the population has no religious affiliation.

The state’s economy is dependent on the metallurgical, electrotechnical, engineering, woodworking, food and chemical industries. The country is also a major producer of dairy products, automobiles, electronics, paper and pulp. Developing tourism is also an important source of finance. Agriculture is focused on the cultivation of corn, soybeans, sugar cane and cattle breeding.

The capital city is Madison with approximately 250 thousand inhabitants. The city was founded in 1836, and its landmarks include the Capitol building, whose foundation stone was laid in 1837. The city is also home to an important university, the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The largest city in the country is Milwaukee, located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. It is the cultural and economic center of the country, where many immigrants from Europe, mainly Germany, live. Other cities of interest include Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, Appleton, Waukesha, Oshkosh, Eau Claire and West Allis.

Apostle Islands NL

In northwestern Wisconsin, near Lake Superior, there is the Apostle Island National Lakeshore – an area of steep sandstone cliffs that are known as the most beautiful rock formations in the world. Wind and water erosion modeled them into the shore of the lake and gave them their unique shape today.

The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands on Lake Superior, not far from the Bayfield Peninsula. Most of these islands are located in Ashland County, only Sand, York, Eagle and Raspberry Island are located in Bayfield County. All of the islands located on the lake, except Madeline Island, are part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore archipelago.

The islands were named in the past by the apostle from New France and French historian Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix. The islands are particularly attractive to tourists thanks to their sea caves, which are among the best in the Great Lakes region. Vaults and numerous chambers are visible, and during the winter visitors can see frozen waterfalls and chambers filled with millions of delicate icicles. Among the most sought after are Swallow Point Caves on Sand Island and North Shore on Devils Island.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 1,900 km long hiking trail that crosses the US state of Wisconsin. It is one of eleven such trails located in this state. The route passes through 72 counties, starting in Door County, Wisconsin (on Lake Michigan) and ending at the Minnesota border. The origins of this trail date back to 1950, but it was only in 1958 that Ry Zillmer founded the Ice Age Park here with the aim of later establishing a route that would track and document the journeys of mammoths during the last ice age.

Over 15,000 years ago during the Ice Age, one huge glacier covered much of North America. Mammoths, saber-toothed tigers and cave lions roamed the land – and visitors to Wisconsin can follow in their footsteps today. The trail itself was established in 1980 and today is managed by the National Park Service. In the summer of 1979, twenty-year-old James J. Staudacher from the town of Shorewood, Wisconsin, was the first person to walk the entire trail with a backpack on his back.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail