Iowa – This Is The Place. Long before Europeans “discovered” the Heartland, Iowa was a Native-American word that had several different meanings. Let’s start Our Iowa Heritage journey by honoring those who came long before us, and explore the truest meaning of our state’s name IOWA.
Ancient Iowa – Exploring The Land. Archaeologists believe that the first inhabitants of what is now the state of Iowa were Paleo-Indians, the earliest ancestors of Native Americans. They occupied ice-free land during the time when the Des Moines lobe was covered by glaciers, up to 14,000 years ago. The earliest archaeological evidence of settlement, however, dates from about 8,500 years ago, with many different tribes, speaking various different languages inhabiting Iowa. For a Timeline of Ancient Iowa – click here.
Meskwaki People – True Native Iowans. At the time of the American Revolution, the Mississippi River Valley was lush prairie-land occupied by several Native American tribes: The Meskwaki (Fox), the Sauk, the Sioux, and the Ioway. Since Our Iowa Heritage website focuses primarily on eastern Iowa, here we give a tip of the hat to the Meskwaki people who migrated to the Iowa River Valley as white settlements began to emerge.
The Discovery 1673-1803. In 1673, Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet embarked on an expedition to explore the Mississippi River. On that trip, Marquette and Jolliet became two of the first Europeans to set foot on the beautiful land we now call Iowa.