The state of Iowa covers 56,272 square miles in the Great Plains of the central United States. It is an area of rolling hills covered with farmland and scattered trees. With plenty of moisture, it is covered in vegetation and networked by many creeks and rivers. Many small towns dot the map, with few large cities. Agriculture is a major industry and way of life, and Iowa has been called the “Food Capital of the World,” and is part of the “Corn Belt,” the productive agricultural area of the Great Plains.
Iowa became a state on December 28, 1846, being the 29th state. It's capital and largest city is Des Moines, which is in the central part of the state. The population is 3,046,355 as of the 2010 census and its population growth is 4.1%, slower than the average for the U.S. The eastern border is the Mississippi River, and the western border is the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River. The elevation is mostly within a narrow range around 1,100 feet, with its highest point at Hawkeye Point at 1,671 feet, and its lowest point at the confluence of the Mississippi and Des Moines Rivers at 480 feet.
Iowa was inhabited by Indian tribes from ancient times, including the Dakota, Ho-Chunk, Otoe and the Ioway tribes. It received its name from the Ioway tribe. At the time of the European settlement, they lived as farmers. It was explored by Jacquest Marquette and Louis Jolliet in 1673, and was claimed by France as a territory. In 1803 it was sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The United States exercised limited control over the area until settlers began arriving in the area in 1833.
Interstate 80 is the major avenue of travel across Iowa from east to west, and Interstate 35 from north to south. They cross at Des Moines. Many U.S. and state highways, and rural roads criss-cross the state, with no areas which are remote or difficult to access.
Iowa has no national parks and no natural tourist attractions, aside from its beautiful and peaceful rural scenery. The Mississippi River, on its eastern border, is one of the largest rivers in the world.