Iowa History Timeline: Text Version


B.C.E. = Before Common Era
C.E. = Common Era
1 billion years ago:
World Event

Pangaea Continent

Iowa was part of the super continent Pangaea.

Find out more about Iowa's geological history.

74 million years ago:
U.S. Event

Meteorite Hits

A 10-billion-ton meteorite hit the earth where present-day Manson, Iowa, is located.

Find out more about Iowa's geological history.

25,000 years ago:
Iowa Event

Loess Hills Forms in Iowa

As the glaciers started to melt and fill the Missouri River Valley, silt was deposited and eventually swept up by the wind and dropped east of the Missouri River Valley.

Find out more about Iowa's Loess Hills.

20,000-8,000 B.C.E.:
World Event

Rock Art Created

Paintings and engravings were created on rocks and boulders in regions of Africa.

Find out about artists in Iowa.

10,000 B.C.E.:
Iowa Event

First Iowans

Nomadic people hunted in what is now Iowa.

Find out about the first Iowans.

7000 B.C.E.:
World Event

Farming Begins in Europe

Farming began in southern Europe in Greece.

Find out about early farmers in Iowa.

6000 B.C.E.:
World Event

Farmers Irrigate

Farmers built irrigation ditches along the Nile River.

Find out about early farmers in Iowa.

5000 B.C.E.:
World Event

Farmers Grow Crops in Egypt

Farmers began to grow wheat and barley in Egypt.

Find out about early farmers.

4,000 B.C.E.:
U.S. Event

Farming Starts in North America

Knowledge of farming practices developed in the area that became the United States. The Hohokam in Arizona and the Anasazi in Colorado were growing corn, squash and beans. Native people living east of the Mississippi River were growing corn, beans and squash.

Find out about early farmers in Iowa.

3200 B.C.E.:
World Event

Egyptians Write

Egyptians began to write using hieroglyphics.


3000 B.C.E.:
World Event

Plow Used in China

2500 B.C.E.:
World Event

First Libraries

The Egyptians built libraries.

2300 B.C.E.:
U.S. Event

First Farmers

The nomadic people started settling near rivers and learned farming techniques.

Find out about the first farmers in Iowa.

300 B.C.E.:
U.S. Event

Woodland Culture

The Woodland Indians started a more settled way of life as farmers.

Find out more about the Woodland culture in Iowa.

2000 B.C.E.:
World Event

Horses Domesticated

Horses were domesticated and used for transportation.

1800 B.C.E.:
World Event

First Laws

The Code of Hammurabi was recorded.

900 B.C.E. :
World Event

Greek City Sparta Founded

The Greek city-state of Sparta is founded.

776 B.C.E.:
World Event

First Olympics

The first Olypmic Games were held in Greece. The only event was the 200-yard foot dash. Only men were allowed to participate and watch this event.

Find out about sports and recreation in Iowa.

750 B.C.E.:
World Event

Poetry in Greece

The legendary poet, Homer, was writing in Greece. His most famous works were the Illiad and the Odyssey.

Find out about literature in Iowa.

700 B.C.E.:
World Event

First Iron Tools

The first iron tools were made in Egypt.


700 B.C.E.:
World Event

Rome Is Founded

According to legend, Romulus and Remus found the city of Rome.

551 B.C.E.:
World Event

Confucius Born

The Chinese philosopher, Confucius, was born.

534 B.C.E.:
World Event

Greek Thespians

Greek poet Thespis won the first public contest for poets in Greece and ever since public speakers have been called thespians.

Find out about literature in Iowa.

500 B.C.E:
World Event

Roman Sewers Built

The Romans built a giant network of sewers in their cities.

200 B.C.E.:
World Event

Mayan Culture Develops

The Mayan culture began in Central America.

Questions to Consider:
When viewing information in the timeline, consider the following questions:

  • What time in history did this event occur? What else was happening at that time?
  • What events led to this event? What events followed it? Does this event begin or end something? Is this event part of a sequence of other events?
  • How did this event influence the present? How might it influence our future?


Several entries for this timeline were adapted from Prairie Voices Iowa Heritage Curriculum, Annotated Iowa History Timeline, State Historical Society of Iowa, 1995. Used with permission.

Additional Sources:

  • Agriculture in the Classroom: Growing a Nation: The Story of American Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture.
  • Discovering Historic Iowa Transportation Milestones, Iowa Department of Transportation, 2000.
  • Downey, Mathew T. American History 1 and 2. Chicago: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
  • History and Life: The World and Its People. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1980.
  • Keenan, Sheila. Scholastic Encyclopedia of Women in the United States. New York: Scholastic Reference, 1996.
  • National Standards for History, UCLA National Center for History in the Schools, 1996.
  • Randy Lyon, This Month In Iowa History, State Historical Society of Iowa.
  • The Challenge of Freedom. River Forest, Illinois: Laidlaw Brothers, 1982.
  • William Kovarik, Ph.D., Environmental History Timeline, Radford University,
  • World Adventures in Time and Place. New York: Macmillan McGraw-Hill, 1997.

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