March 23, 2016
Wisconsin, the 30th state in the Union, was founded by Frenchman Jean Nicolet in 1634. Great Britain later obtained the territory from the French in the French and Indian Wars in 1763. They owned the land for twenty years until the United States gained ownership of it after the Revolutionary War but Britain regained the territory in the War of 1812. Wisconsin later gained its statehood on May 29, 1848.
Wisconsin’s state flag was adopted in 1913 but this flag had been flown even earlier. Civil war regiments were asking for an official banner to fly. On March 25, 1863, a flag was adopted for Wisconsin which was blue and bore the state’s coat of arms and this flag was eventually re-adopted in 1913. The state flew its flag with just its coat of arms until 1980, when many Wisconsin residents were unhappy with how they were unable to tell their state flag apart from other state flags (which were also had coats of arms). After that, the word “Wisconsin” in white letters were placed above the coat of arms and “1848” was added below the coat of arms.
Dairy and Cheese: Wisconsin is well known for its dairy, many coming for their amazing milk, cheese, and other dairy products. There are over 600 cheese varieties alone in the state of Wisconsin, and has a high amount of cheese consumption in the state.
Here’s some cheese trivia:
Limburger*: The cheese known for its pungent aroma that originated in Europe is produced only in Monroe, Wisconsin for the United States.
Colby Cheese: Like colby cheese? It was invented in Colby, Wisconsin!
Brick Cheese: Invented in Dodge County in 1877. It got its name due to the fact that cheesemakers used to use bricks to press moisture from the cheese.
In addition, 99 percent of farms in the state of Wisconsin are family owned.
March 10, 2016
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Iowa was included in the Louisiana Purchase, came under US control in 1803, and became the 29th state on December 28, 1846. The state flag was not adopted until 1921 when it was designed by a Mrs. Dixie Gebhardt who was from the Daughters of the American Revolution of Iowa. The flag’s colors are red, white, and blue, and take on the same tricolor pattern as the French flag, paying homage to its French roots. The white center of the flag is larger and has a bald eagle holding a flowing ribbon in its beak. The ribbon reads, “Our Liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain.”
Iowa’s state capital is Des Moines which had been named after a military post called Fort Des Moines that had been established along the Des Moines river during the 1840s. The city was officially incorporated on September 22, 1851. The city has a population of over 204,000 (as of the 2010 Census) but a Metro population of nearly 570,000.
Iowa got its state name is from the word Ioway, the French version of the name Bah-kho-je, which was the name of the Indian tribe that lived in the area.
Well known Iowans-31st US President Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch, IA, on August 10, 1874.
Actor John Wayne (born as Marion Mitchell Morrison) was born in Winterset, IA on May 26, 1907.
January 28, 2016
Texas became the 28th state to enter the union on December 29, 1845. Texas was first founded by Spanish explorers, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, settling at Ysleta near El Paso in 1862. Robert Cavalier Sieur de la Salle later established a French colony at Matagorda Bay in 1685. In 1821, Stephen F. Austin led Americans to settle along the Brazos River when Texas was originally controlled by Mexico who gained their independence from Spain.
In 1835, the Texas Revolution began due to tensions between the settlers of Texas and Mexico. The first battle was the Battle of Gonzales in 1835, which was caused by a cannon. From 1836 to 1845, Texas was its own independent nation until it entered the union by treaty, the Treaties of Velasco (and the only state to do so).
Texas adopted their state flag before it became a state. The flag of Texas is known as the Lone Star flag, as it only has one star on their state flag and it was first used on their flag during the battles between Texas and Mexico in the 1830s. The star is located on a vertical blue stripe on the left hand side (taking up ⅓ of the flag) while a horizontal red and white stripe take up the remaining right side of the flag. Red symbolizes courage, white means liberty, and blue is for loyalty.
Texas Flag vs. Flag of Chile: The flags of Texas and the South American country of Chile are very similar and can sometimes be confused with one another. The only differences between the flags are that there is only a blue square on the left hand corner of the Chilean flag, the star inside the square is smaller, and the red horizontal stripe on the bottom is longer. Chile’s flag was adopted on October 18, 1817.
Texas is the second largest state in the US along with being the most populous.
December 28, 2015
Michigan became the 26th state in the US on January 26, 1837. Michigan is on the border of four of the five great lakes and is divided into the Upper and Lower Peninsulas by the Straits of Mackinac, linking together lakes Huron and and Michigan. They are connected by the Mackinac Bridge, which is one of the world’s longest suspension bridges!
Michigan’s state flag has a dark blue background, featuring an elk and a moose each having one hoof on a blue shield. The shield says “Tuebor” (meaning “I defend) above a picture of a man standing on a peninsula, raising one hand in friendship while his other hand is on a rifle. Above the shield is a bald eagle grasping onto an olive branch and arrows in its talons. A red ribbon above the eagle says E Pluribus Unum (“From one, many”). Below the shield is another motto, “Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice” which means “If you seek amenable (pleasant) peninsula, look about you”. The bald eagle symbolizes the United States while the Elk and Moose represent the state of Michigan. This flag was adopted as the state flag of Michigan in 1911.
While Detroit is a major city in Michigan, many have often thought of it as being the capital of the state. It’s actually Lansing! Detroit is, however, the largest city in Michigan. Detroit is known as Motor City, the automotive capital of the world due to large amounts of cars that are manufactured there. The Big Three car companies, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, are headquartered in Detroit.
December 10, 2015
Halfway through the State Flag series and at the 25th state is Arkansas. Although founded by Spanish settlers (most famously Hernando De Soto), Robert LaSalle claimed the land for France in 1682. Henri DeTonti established the first European settlement in Arkansas in 1686 in the lower Mississippi River Valley, in which the settlement was known as Arkansas Post (Poste aux Arkansas in French). Arkansas was later obtained with the Louisiana Purchase through France in 1803.
The state flag of Arkansas is red with a diamond in the center. The diamond is white and outlined with a blue stripe along with twenty-five white stars, each representing the then-twenty five states in the nation. Written inside the white diamond is the word Arkansas and four separate stars, all blue. The three stars below the state’s name symbolize the three countries who once owned the state, Spain, France, and the US. The star above is their membership in the Confederacy. The reason for the diamond shape is because Arkansas is the only US state in which diamonds have been found. (Mount Ida is the Quartz Crystal capital of the world).
University of Arkansas – NCAA
How did Arkansas get named? The name Arkansas means “South Wind” but it was also a named used to describe a local tribe, Quapaws. Several people had different pronunciations of the name, ranging from Oo-ka-na-sa to Arkensa. It was Arkansas at the time of its admission into the Union.
Presidential Births: William Jefferson Clinton aka Bill Clinton, who was the 42nd President of the United States, was born in Hope, AR on August 19, 1946. Before he was president from 1993-2001, he was previously the governor of Arkansas from 1979-1981 and again from 1983-1992.
November 30, 2015
Missouri became the 24th state in the United States on August 10, 1821. The state (or territory) was first obtained as a part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It was later admitted as a state during the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
The Missouri Compromise was an attempt to preserve the balance of power of Congress between slave and free states. When the Compromise was passed in 1820, Maine became a free state and Missouri became a slave state as a result. Later on, the Compromise was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, ruling that Congress did not have the power to change law regarding slavery in the territories.
Missouri’s state flag was designed by Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver in 1913. The flag is rectangular with three horizontal stripes, which are red, white, and blue. They represent the state’s French heritage as they were part of the Louisiana Purchase, bought from France. The stripes also represent valor, justice, purity, and vigilance. In the center is a blue-banded circle surrounded by 24 stars, symbolizing the 24 states in the Union. Inside the circle are two grizzly bears, who represent bravery and strength. The bears are holding a shield which has a gold knight’s helmet sitting atop of it and 24 more stars. Inside the shield is the Missouri Coat of Arms, which is divided by three images. On the right side is a bald eagle grasping olive branches and arrows in its talons (these mean war and peace). On the left side is a grizzly bear on a red background and a crescent moon on a blue background.
Underneath the bears is a white belt which reads, United We Stand, United We Fall. Notice that the grizzly bears holding the shield are standing on top of a ribbon which reads, Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto (Let the Welfare of the People Be The Supreme Law). Finally, underneath the motto is the Roman numeral for 1820, the year which Missouri became a state.
Missouri is also known for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were asked by Thomas Jefferson shortly after the Louisiana Purchase to explore the land beyond the West of the great rock mountains. The two gentlemen started their journey in St. Louis, journeying to the Pacific and returning in 1806. They made diplomatic relations with Native Americans and maps were drawn by Clark, who also named many of the places he drew.
Trivia: Iced Tea was first served at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis!
October 28, 2015
Maine became the 32rd US state on March 15, 1820. Although first visited by Italian explorers John and Sebastian Cabot in 1498, the first English settlers did not arrive until the 1600s. Maine used to be governed by the state of Massachusetts until the Missouri Compromise in 1820, allowing Maine to become a state.
Maine’s state flag was adopted in 1909, 89 years after being admitted to the union. The flag is dark blue with a coat of arms in the center. The coat of arms has two men on opposite sides of aa shield. The men are a farmer and a seaman, who represent the agricultural and maritime industries of Maine. Pictured inside the shield is a moose (the official state animal of Maine because the state has more moose per mile than any other state), a pine tree, grass, a light blue sky, and dark blue water. A yellow star stands atop of the shield which symbolizes the North Star since it was the northernmost state at the time of its entry into the Union, and a red ribbon underneath it reading “Dirigo”, which is Latin for “I direct”. Below the shield and the gentlemen is a blue ribbon reading “Maine”.
Maine is the only state with one syllable in its name and despite being a small state, it has a large amount of coastline (3,478 miles). They also house a large amount of lighthouses in the state (about 67). The capital of Maine was originally Portland but was later changed to Augusta in 1832 but the population of the current capital is still smaller than the population of Portland.
Food Trivia: Maine produces about 90% of the US’ supply of blueberries.
Animals: In addition to the moose being the state’s official animal, the Maine Coon (or Wild Coon) cat is also the state’s official cat!