Iowa became a state on Dec. 28, 1846. The 29th state admitted to the Union, the Hawkeye State was preceded by Texas and followed by Wisconsin.
French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet were the first Europeans to travel the area in 1673. At the time of its inception to the Union, Iowa City was the capital, though it was relocated to Des Moines in 1857, its largest city. The state occupies nearly 56,000 square miles and is divided into 99 counties. Iowa is bordered by Minnesota to the north, Missouri to the south, Wisconsin and Illinois across the Mississippi River to the east and South Dakota and Nebraska to the west.