On the territory of the modern state of Wisconsin, people have lived for about twelve thousand years. Gradually, the indigenous people of the American continent moved from hunting and gathering to farming, approximately two and a half thousand years ago, the first permanent settlements appeared on the lands of Wisconsin.
The Indian tribes of Wisconsin in the first millennium AD are known for their culture of "shaped mounds", mounds depicting animals or people. Such mounds can be seen in many other states of the US, especially in the Midwest, but Wisconsin has more of them than in any other region of the US.
Later, around the 11th century, "Mississippi culture" spread to Wisconsin. It is characterized by a developed agriculture with corn as the main crop, and a significant centralization of political and religious power. On the site of an Indian settlement that existed in the 10th-13th centuries, dating back to the period of the Mississippian culture, near the city of Aztalan, there is a US National Historic Monument (and a Wisconsin state park).
The first European to land in Wisconsin was the Frenchman Jean Nicolet in 1634. On the instructions of the governor of the colony of New France, Samuel de Champlain (who himself was an outstanding explorer of the northeastern regions of the modern United States, in particular Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine), Jean Nicolet was looking for a waterway through the North American continent to the Pacific Ocean. Nicolet passed through Lake Huron, Lake Superior and Michigan in a canoe, landing on the shores of Wisconsin near the modern city of Green Bay.
Famous natives and residents of Wisconsin
John Muir (John Muir, 1838-1914) - naturalist and writer, one of the initiators of the creation of reserves in the United States, known as the "Father of National Parks". Born in Scotland, but later lived in Wisconsin.
Charles Richard Van Hise (1857–1918), geologist. Born in Fulton.
Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) was the leader of the suffragette movement in the United States, and played a large role in the struggle for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, giving women the right to vote. Born in the city of Ripon.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) - famous architect, creator of the philosophy of "organic architecture". Considered "the greatest American architect of all time". Born in Richland Center.
Harry Houdini (1874–1926) was a well-known illusionist and performer of escape tricks. Born in Hungary, but spent his childhood in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Douglas MacArthur (Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964) - the famous general, participant in the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Korean War. He was born in Arkansas, but later lived in Milwaukee.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) is a well-known artist. Born in Sun Prairie.
Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) writer and playwright. Born in Madison.
Golda Meir (1898–1978) is a politician and prominent statesman of the State of Israel. Born in Kiev, but later lived in Wisconsin.
Spencer Tracy (1900-1967) is a famous film actor. Born in Milwaukee.
George Frost Kennan (1904–2005) was a dimlomat, known as the ideologist of the "containment policy" during the Cold War. Born in Milwaukee.
Woodrow Charles Thomas "Woody" Herman (1913–1987) was a renowned jazz musician and bandleader. Born in Milwaukee.
George Orson Welles (1915-1985) - famous actor, screenwriter, director. Born in the city of Kenosha.
Lester William "Les Paul" Polsfuss (1915–2009) was a musician, poet, and one of the inventors of the electric guitar. Born in Wakeshaw.
Richard Ira Bong (Richard Ira Bong, 1920-1945) - fighter pilot, participant in World War II. Considered the most successful combat pilot in US history. Born in the city of Superior.
William Hubbs Rehnquist (1924–2005), lawyer, Chief Justice of the United States from 1986 to 2005. Born in Milwaukee.
Seymour Cray (1925-1996) - engineer, creator of a series of supercomputers. Born in Chippewa Falls.
Willem Defoe (1955– ) is a film actor. Born in Appleton.
Wisconsin state symbols
Tree - sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
Flower - sister violet (Viola sororia)
Cereal (cereal) - corn
Animal - badger (Taxidea taxus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Domestic animal - dairy cow
Dog breed - American Water Spaniel
Bird - wandering thrush (Turdus migratorius)
Fish - masquinong pike (Esox masquinongy)
Insect - honey bee (Apis mellifera)
Food product (dairy product) - cheese
Baking - kringle (a type of pretzel)
Drink - milk
Fruit (berry) - cranberry
Dance - polka
Mineral - galena
Rock - red granite
Fossil - trilobites
Song (anthem) - "Go Wisconsin!" (On, Wisconsin!)
The largest cities in Wisconsin are Milwaukee (about 600,000 inhabitants, twenty-eighth place in the list of the largest cities in the United States), the state capital Madison (about 240,000 inhabitants), Green Bay (about 110,000 inhabitants), Kenosha (about 100,000 inhabitants) , Racine (about 85,000 inhabitants).
The largest urban agglomerations in Wisconsin formed around the cities of Milwaukee and Racine (more than 1,550,000 people, thirty-ninth place in the list of US metropolitan areas) and Madison (about 570,000 people). In addition, the city of Kenosha, located in the southwest of the state, is part of the third largest metropolitan area in the United States, formed around Chicago in neighboring Illinois.
The largest ethnic (national) groups among the population of Wisconsin:
Germans - about 43%
Irish - about 11%
Poles - about 9%
Norwegians - about 8%
English - about 7%
Italians - about 6%
Wisconsin has the largest percentage of ethnic Poles of any US state.
Although industry is well developed in Wisconsin, and it is industrial production that provides most of the state's income, it is traditionally considered agricultural, or rather, the most "dairy" and "cheese" state in the United States. Wisconsin is often jokingly referred to as America's "Dairy Country" and its inhabitants as "Cheeseheads".
Indeed, Wisconsin leads the United States in terms of cheese production, providing about a quarter of the national production of this most popular product. There are about thirteen thousand dairy farms in the state, which contain more than a million and a quarter cows. Wisconsin ranks second (after California) in the United States in terms of milk production (and third, after Idaho and Vermont, in per capita milk production). Almost 90% of milk goes to the production of cheese. Cheesemaking in Wisconsin has been developing since the middle of the 19th century, and today about one hundred and thirty cheese makers in the state produce more than a million tons of cheese per year.