Iowa History Timeline: Text Version

 


B.C.E. = Before Common Era
C.E. = Common Era
1800:
Iowa Event

Basil Giard Buys Land Near Present Marquette

Basil Giard received a land grant from the Spanish government for a tract of land near the present town of Marquette. Giard's land claim was where the town of Marquette was later built, and was mostly for fur trading purposes.

Find out more about Iowa's earliest settlement.

1800:
Iowa Event

France Reclaims Future Iowa Land

Claims to land that would become Iowa were transferred from Spain to France. During the Napoleonic wars in Europe, Spain became a satellite of France, and the Mississippi River area was transferred back to France under pressure from Napoleon. Spain had exerted very little control or contact with the area north of St. Louis.

Find out more about Iowa's earliest settlement.

Early 1800s:
Iowa Event

Iowa's Landscape

In the early 1800s almost 19 percent of Iowa's land was covered in forest. Seventy percent was prairie. Eleven percent was wetlands.

Find out more about Iowa's landscape.

1803:
Iowa Event

Louisiana Purchase

France sells Louisiana Territory, including land that will become Iowa, to United States. President Thomas Jefferson wished to purchase trading rights at New Orleans so that American products would have free navigation of the Mississippi River to ocean-going ships. When the opportunity arose to purchase the whole tract of land, he took advantage of it, but not without opposition from Congress and other people who felt that it was unconstitutional to add territory to the United States. Jefferson established a precedent with the Louisiana Purchase which led to later acquisition of other land which was added to the United States.


1803:
Iowa Event

Iowa Becomes Part of Upper District of Louisiana

Iowa becomes part of Upper District of Louisiana with the capital at St. Louis. For administration, the Louisiana Purchase was divided into the Upper and Lower Districts of Louisiana, with capitals at St. Louis and New Orleans respectively. This was mostly a paper transaction, because there were no legal permanent residents in the area except Native American Indians, and this administration did not apply to them.

Find out more about Iowa's path to statehood.

1804:
Iowa Event

District of Louisiana Administered by Indiana Territory

Iowa is part of District of Louisiana, but is now administered by the Territory of Indiana for practical purposes.

Find out more about Iowa's path to statehood.

1804:
Iowa Event

Sac Indians Give Up Iowa Land

Members of the Sauk tribe signed over tribal lands to the U.S. government. These tribe members were not tribal leaders and not authorized to do this. This treaty should have had no legal standing, but the United States government later based land claims on it. The land became the state of Iowa. This is also the beginning of the U.S. government's mistake in referring to the "Sac and Fox" as one tribe, even though the Sauk were a distinct tribe and the other tribe is properly called Mesquakie, not Fox.

Find out more about Indian removal in Iowa.

1804:
Iowa Event

Sergeant Charles Floyd Dies

Sergeant Floyd died of appendicitis while camped just south of present Sioux City. He was buried there, and later a tall obelisk was constructed and designated a National Historic Landmark. He is the first white American known to have been buried in what would become Iowa, and he is the only soldier to die on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Find out more about Iowa's early European explorers.

1804:
Iowa Event

Lewis and Clark Cross Iowa

Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark crossed Iowa on their expedition to explore Louisiana Territory. The Lewis and Clark explorations were to make contact with the Native American Indians, chart flora and fauna, and investigate the economic resources. The party went up the Missouri River in 1804, camping on the "Iowa" side of the river several times. They held a council with the Indians on the west side of the river, providing the source of the name for the city of Council Bluffs.

Find out more about Iowa's early European explorers.

1804:
World Event

Napoleon Rules

Napoleon became emperor of France.


Top

1804:
U.S. Event

Lewis and Clark Expedition

President Thomas Jefferson asked William Clark and Meriwether Lewis to explore and chart the Louisiana Purchase. They explored for two years and published an account of their findings. This helped open the area to settlement by European immigrants.

Find out more about early explorers.

1805:
Iowa Event

Pike Explores Upper Mississippi River Valley

Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike's expedition was ordered to investigate the Mississippi River above St. Louis, noting especially the rivers, prairies, islands, mines, quarries, timber, and Indian villages and settlements. He also designated two sites for future forts, but no fort was built in either place. He designated what is now Crapo Park in Burlington, and what is now Pike's Peak State Park near McGregor. Pike later explored in the Rocky Mountain west where a peak in Colorado is named for him.

Find out more about Iowa's early European explorers.

1805:
Iowa Event

Iowa Becomes Part of Territory of Louisiana

The upper Mississippi valley, including the land that would become Iowa, was named the Territory of Louisiana with its capital at St. Louis. As a part of this designation, the Spanish land grants to Dubuque, Tesson, and Giard were confirmed.

Find out more about Iowa's path to statehood.

1806:
Iowa Event

Lewis and Clark Return Down Missouri River

On their trip back down the Missouri River, the Lewis and Clark expedition again camped on the "Iowa" side but made no further impact on the future state.

Find out more about Iowa's early European explorers.

1808:
Iowa Event

Fort Madison Constructed

Fort Bellevue (later called Fort Madison) was constructed in what became Lee County. Fort Madison was the first federal facility to be built in Iowa. When Fort Madison was constructed the army officer in charge used poor judgment in selecting its location. The fort had the Mississippi River on one side, a high bluff on another side, and a ravine on a third side. It would be very difficult to defend.

Find out more about troubles at Fort Madison.

1808:
Iowa Event

Fort Madison Established

Fort Madison was built by the federal government and used as a fort and trading post.

Find out more about Iowa communities.



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?


 

Sources:
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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