Iowa has long been known for being one of the primary food producers of the United States. In more recent times, Iowa has additionally become a biofuel producer, a green energy supplier, and a host of advanced manufacturing. Even though when people think of farms they think of vast stretches of flat land, in reality, Iowa is quite hilly. While most of these hills are gentle, rolling hills, there are much steeper hills and valleys towards the Mississippi River.
The capital and largest city of Iowa is Des Moines, which hosts over half a million people in the city limits and surrounding urban areas. Other notable cities in Iowa include Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, and Iowa City. Iowa only has a population of just over three million, which might explain why it is ranked so highly as a nice place to live. It is one of the safest states to live in, as well as one of the cleanest. Iowa was unofficially adopted into the United States through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Iowa did not receive full statehood until 1846, though. Many Native American groups once called Iowa home, including the Oneota, Dakota, Ioway, Otoe, Ho-Chunk, Sauk, Omaha, Meskwaki, and Illiniwek tribes. By the late 1850s, most Native Americans in Iowa had either been eradicated or completely relocated.
Iowa is a state that is focused on educating its citizens. Did you know that high schools got their start in Iowa? In 1910, several high schools were built across the state and the trend of secondary education swept through the nation. Iowa boasts the third-highest high school graduation rate in the country and continually ranks in the top three for ACT and SAT scores. There are three public universities in Iowa, which are the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa. The University of Iowa is especially known for the Iowa Writers' Workshop, which was the first program in the country to offer a Masters of Fine Arts degree in English. There are also dozens of private or religious universities and schools throughout Iowa. While Iowa does not have any teams in any of the major sports leagues, they do have several professional teams to follow. In baseball, Iowa hosts the Burlington Bees, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, the Clinton LumberKings, the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Sioux City Explorers, the Waterloo Bucks, and the Iowa Cubs. Iowa is also host to several professional football, soccer, hockey, and basketball teams.