State: Wisconsin – WI

Published on October 19th, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography


The state of Wisconsin is located in the north-central, Midwest region of the United States of America. There are a total of 72 different counties within the state.

This U.S. state is the 20th largest state by population and 23rd largest state by total area. Thar largest city in the state is Milwaukee, and the state capital is Madison.

WI is known for the nation’s largest production in dairy products. The state has been nicknamed “America’s Dairyland”. It is most widely known for its production of cheese. It also houses manufacturers for paper products and information technology (IT).

Today we’ll take a look at this state’s history, climate, geography, and the official seal. First though, let’s take a look at some key information you’ll need to know:

  • State Abbreviation: WI
  • Capital: Madison
  • Largest city: Milwaukee
  • Total area: 65,497 square feet
  • Population: 5,757,564
  • Highest point: Timms Hill (1,951 feet)
  • Lowest point: Lake Michigan (176 feet)
  • Nickname(s): Badger State, America’s Dairyland
  • Motto: Forward
  • Admitted to the Union: May 29, 1848 (30th)
  • Time zone: Central UTC -6/-5
  • Official website: Wisconsin.gov
  • State flower: Wood violet
  • Bird: American robin
  • Fish: Muskellunge
  • Insect: Western honey bee
  • Tree: Sugar Maple
  • Dog: American Water Spaniel
  • Animal: Badger

map of wisconsin in the United States

The State’s History

The state is believed to have it’s first inhabitants, the Paleo-Indians, around 10,000 BCE, during the Wisconsin Glaciation. Jean Nicolet, a French explorer, is thought to be the first European to travel to what is now the present day WI. He came ashore at Red Banks, near Green Bay during the year 1634, while he was canoeing west from Georgian Bay.

During the 1650s to the 1660s, Pierre Radisson and Médard des Groseilliers visited Green Bay and Chequamegon Bay to conduct trading with the local American Indian tribes. In 1673, Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette were the first on record to travel on the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway. They traveled on the waterway all the way down to the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien.

During the French and Indian War, the British slowly took over control of the state. By 1763 the British had gain all control of the state. During this time period Charles Michel de Langlade established a fur trading post in Green Bay.

In 1783 after the American Revolutionary War the state became a territorial possession the U.S. The United States acquired the land in the Treaty of Paris of 17836. British still maintained military alliances with the local Indian tribes and continued fur trading, despite the fact that the U.S. owned the land.

It wasn’t until after the War of 1812, that the United exercised control over the state. During this war the Birtish and the Americans fought a battle on state land, resulting in British victory. However, in the 1815 Treaty of Ghent the land was reaffirmed as United States’ territory. To protect the land from future attacks, the U.S. Army built Fort Crawford and For Howard in 1816.

The state’s territory was formed by the United States Congress on April 20, 1836. This territory includes what is now the present day state as well as the states of Iowa, Minnesota, and parts of North and South Dakota. It was named the Wisconsin Territory. This land’s first territorial governor was Henry Dodge. The state was admitted into the Union on May 29, 1848, and it became the 30th state.

map of wisconsin

Climate and Geography

The state is a total of 65,498 square miles, and as of the year 2014 has a current population of over 5.7 million people. The state is bordered by three major bodies of water, the Montreal River, Lake Superior, and Lake Michigan. It is also bordered by three states; to the south Illinois, to the southwest Iowa, and to the northwest Minnesota.

The state is located between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. It is home to five different distinct regions: the Lake Superior Lowland, the Northern Highland, the Central Plain, the Western Upland, and the Eastern Ridges and Lowlands.

About forty-six percent of the state’s land is cover by forest. A national forest located in the state is the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Other parks include the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, and the North Country National Scenic Trail.

The southern section of the state has hotter and more humid summer climates, while the northern section has less humility and lower temperatures.  The state’s highest recorded temperature was 114 °F, in the city of Wisconsin Dells, on July 13, 1936. The state’s lowest recorded temperature was  −55 °F, in the city of Couderay, on February 2 and 4, 1996.

The state typically has snowfall during the winters that average annually around 40 inch in the southern regions to 160 inches in the northern regions.

The State’s Seal

The Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin is displayed on flag, and is used to authenticate all official acts of he governor, except for laws. The coat of arms is displayed in the center. Breaking down the meaning of the images on seal, we first look at the top.

Here we’ll see the state’s motto: forward, along with the state animal, the badger. In the center on the shield are five items:

  • Top left: a plow which represents agriculture
  • Top right: a pick and a shovel, representing mining
  • Bottom left: an arm and hammer for manufacturing
  • Bottom right: an anchor for navigation
  • Center: the U.S. coat of arms with the motto E Pluribus Unum

The shield is held up by a soldier and a miner which signifies labor on both water and land. Underneath the coat of arms, we also see a cornucopia for prosperity and abundance. Finally, there are 13 lead ingots which represent the thirteen original colonies, and the mineral wealth of the state.

The seal is found on the state flag which was designed in 1866 when regiments from the state wanted something to bear in the battlefield. In 1913 the flag’s design was specified. In order to make it different from other flags, in 1979 the name and the year 1848 were added to the flag to signify when it was admitted to the Union.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned all of this information about this place, it’s time to check out our list of Wisconsin state facts to see what else you’re missing. Thanks for reading, and be sure to share your own information in the comments below!

printable map of wisconsin



About the Author
Brandon Ramsey

Brandon Ramsey is the head author and editor of The Time Now Blog. Be sure to follow us via social media!


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