Iowa History Timeline: Text Version


B.C.E. = Before Common Era
C.E. = Common Era
U.S. Event

Farmers Rule

The census reported farmers made up 90% of the labor force in America.

Find out about Iowa farmers.

U.S. Event

First Bicycles

The first bicycle was invented.

Iowa Event

Louis Honore Tesson Buys Land in Present-day Iowa

A French-Canadian named Louis Honore Tesson received a land grant from the Spanish government for a tract of land in what is now Iowa. At that time all the land west of the Mississippi River was still owned by the King of Spain, and Tesson had to buy his land from the Spanish governor. Historical accounts state he planted a grove of apple trees and made other improvements to solidify his claim to the land which was in Lee County near Montrose.

Find out more about Iowa's earliest settlement.

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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