Iowa History Timeline: Text Version


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

New Madrid Earthquake Jolts Iowa

The New Madrid Earthquake, one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the continental United States, occurred on February 7, 1812. With an epicenter in New Madrid, Missouri, the earthquake was felt throughout the central Mississippi valley, including the land that would become Iowa.

Find out more about Iowa natural disasters.

Iowa Event

Iowa Becomes Part of Territory of Missouri

When Louisiana was admitted to the Union as a state, the northern part of the Louisiana Territory (including the area that became Iowa) was re-named Missouri with the capital at St. Louis.

Find out more about Iowa's path to statehood.

U.S. Event

The War of 1812

In the early 1800s American merchant ships carried goods from America to foreign markets. Some British ships stopped American ships and forced American sailors into the British navy. Britain also refused to allow American ships to enter ports in Europe because Britain was at war with France. Britain didn't want France to get goods from America. All this led to war between the United States and Britain. The White House and Capitol were destroyed by the British. The war lasted two years.

Iowa Event

Fort Madison Abandoned

After being besieged twice during the "War of 1812," the garrison abandoned the fort and burned it as they escaped down river to St. Louis.

Find out more about troubles at Fort Madison.

Iowa Event

Fort Madison Burned

The U.S. government fort and trading post at Fort Madison was burned down after a siege by Indians.

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?


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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