(State of Iowa, American Heartland)
- Location: Midwestern United States
- Capital: Des Moines
- Language(s): English
- Population: 3,123,344
- Total Area: 145,743 sq km
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Many tourists enjoy the local wine festivals.
- Most Popular Drink(s): Beers, wines
- Nickname(s): The Hawkeye State
- What You Must Do in Iowa: Tour Des Moines.
This fabulous Midwestern American state is named for the Iowa (also called Ioway) Indians who once settled in the area. Iowa is bounded to the east by Illinois and Wisconsin and to the south by Missouri. To the north of the state lies Minnesota and on its western border lies South Dakota and Nebraska. Often called the ‘American Heartland’, Iowa was initially a colony of France and that strikes me as quite interesting –Alaska was also initially owned by Russia. It was admitted to the Union in 1846 and its capital city is Des Moines. As a tourist, I learnt that the climate of the state is classified as continental with the winters being cold but the summers are warm and wet. The state is home to a number of amazing lakes and these include the following: East Okoboji Lake, Spirit Lake, Coralville Lake and the West Okoboji Lake. Like the other states in the Midwest, Iowa is an agricultural state and its arable prairie lands are used for the cultivation of crops and animal husbandry. Thus, I could only smile in approval when a proud Iowan friend told me another nickname for the state –the Food Capital of the World.
Historical records show that the first settlers in the area that is now Iowa were the American Indians. However, over time, the state became the destination of immigrants from various parts of the globe. Today, a vast majority of the Iowans trace back their roots to Europe –especially the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy. Others are Latinos (Hispanics), Asians, Blacks (African Americans) and the Native Indians. In line with what I noticed in other states, more than 70% of the residents are Christians and is one of the few states where you will find the Amish and Quakers.
While in Iowa, you should take time out and visit some of these places, if not all: the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Amana Colonies, Effigy Mounds National Monument, Cedar Falls, Figge Art Museum, Loess Hills and the Iowa Great Lakes.
Being a state in the Midwest, you are sure to come across meals similar to the ones in Illinois. If there is any dish that can be described as being typical in Iowa, then it will be the pork tenderloin sandwich. This is made from the lean part of pork tenderloin, which is then flattened, breaded and fried (deep-frying) before being served with mustard or mayonnaise. I also tasted something similar in Indiana and it was superb. The Hawkeye State is also known for its outstanding loose-meat sandwiches and you will always ask for more sweet corn –simply palatable and irresistible.
Wines are particular popular in Iowa and there are wine festivals where you can indulge and sample some of the finest wines in the Midwest. The state is also known for its different brands of beers and other alcoholic drinks that are brewed locally.
The sporting scene in the state is really an electrifying one. At many of the stadia and sporting avenues, it is a common sight to see one team pitched against the other, with each vying for victory. Popular sports in the state include soccer, basketball, hockey and baseball. For basketball, my favorite has always been Iowa Energy.
- The state was once part of Louisiana.
- There are 99 counties in the state although provisions are made for 100!
- Tornadoes are a real menace in the state.
- Iowa once belonged to France.
- The state is a global leader in alternative energy production.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2013 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).