Iowa Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The interactive relationship between the land, immigration, and settlement patterns in the Iowa region has influenced its history, culture, and institutions. Many of the ethnic languages have faded with the third generations of immigrants, but the core values of family and community remain an ideological stronghold in Iowa.

Iowa’s first settlers came from the eastern and Old Northwest states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. These groups often resided and lived in one other state before finally moving on to Iowa. Because there was a lack of timber in many parts of the state, many settlers constructed sod houses.IowaIowa[cat]STATES;Iowa[02870]

By the mid-nineteenth century, settlers were pouring into the region. Iowans began to plan the first railroad in the state with the development of the Illinois Central. while the Chicago and Northwestern eventually reached Council Bluffs near Omaha. Council Bluffs became the main eastern hub for the Union Pacific Railroad;eastern hubUnion Pacific. A few years later, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific completed a line across the state for trading and shipping products and crops. The state eventually had five railroad lines, which contributed significantly to the growth of the agricultural sector for immigrant farmers.

Hoping to attract more foreign-born settlers, state government officials government arranged the publication of a booklet titled Iowa: The Home for Immigrants (1870). Promoting the social, political, educational, and physical attributes of the state, the ninety-six-page booklet was issued in English, Dutch, and Swedish editions. In 1870, the state’s population rose from 675,000 to 1,194,000. GermansGerman immigrants;Iowa constituted the largest ethnic group. Many Germans took up such professions as shopkeepers, newspaper editors, schoolteachers, bankers, and craftsmen. Other groups whom Iowa attracted from Europe included Scandinavian immigrants;IowaSwedes, Danes, Hollanders, and Britons. Members of these groups tended to concentrate within specific counties. For example, Scandinavians settled in Winneshiek and Story counties, Swedes in Boone County, and Danes in southwestern Iowa.

Twentieth Century Developments

After 1900, a Coal industry;Iowacoal mining industry began to emerge in Buxton, located in the state’s northern Monroe County. Many southern and eastern immigrant groups went into the industry’s low-skilled jobs because they did not require much training. Italian immigrants;IowaItalian men often immigrated to the United States alone, working in the coal industry until they saved enough money to send for their families. By 1925, Iowa’s coal industry was beginning a steady decline. By the mid-1950’s, only a few underground mines remained in the state. After World War II, the state’s economy improved with a rise in the manufacturing sector, which manufactured such products as appliances, fountain pens, food products, and farm implements.

The late twentieth century saw an influx of Hispanic immigrants in Iowa. Many of them were undocumented. In May, 2008, federal immigration authorities raided Agriprocessors, Inc, the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant. and rounded up 389 illegal immigrants, who faced deportation. The raid also found that the plant used underage workers and abused Iowa labor laws in other ways.Iowa

Further Reading
  • Dinnen, Steve. “How an Immigration Raid Changed a Town: Tiny Postville, Iowa, Struggles to Regain Its Footing One Year After the Largest Immigration Sweep in U.S. History.” Christian Science Monitor, May 31, 2009.
  • Iowa: The Home for Immigrants–Being a Treatise on the Resources of Iowa. Des Moines, Iowa: Mills, 1870.
  • Michaud, Marie-Christine. From Steel Tracks to Gold-Paved Streets: The Italian Immigrants and the Railroad in the North Central States. New York: Center for Migration Studies, 2005.
  • Stellingwerff, Johan. Iowa Letters: Dutch Immigrants on the American Frontier. Translated by Walter Lagerwey. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2004.

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Categories: History