Wisconsin History

Wisconsin History

Wisconsin is a state in the United States. The state capital is Madison, while Milwaukee is the largest city. Madison’s status as the capital and college town gives the city a cultural touch that is unusual for a city of that size.

According to ebizdir, the state borders the Montreal River; Lake Superior and Michigan to the north, to Lake Michigan to the east, to Illinois to the south, and to Iowa and Minnesota to the west. The state’s borders include of the Mississippi River and St. The Croix River in the west and the Menominee River in the northeast. With its location between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin has a varied geography.

The name Wisconsin is thought to come from the Ojibwa Indian word Miskwasiniing, which means a place with red stone, which was probably what the Wisconsin River was named after, and which was written down as Ouisconsin by the French and changed to its current form by the English.


1643 – Frenchman Jean Nicolet becomes the first European explorer to reach Wisconsin and land at Red Banks, near present-day Green Bay, in search of a way to the Orient. France controlled the area until it was handed over to Britain in 1763.

1666 – Frenchman Nicolas Perrot begins fur trade with the Indians.

1673 – The water route from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River is explored by Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette as the first white explorers to travel through the state’s second oldest city, the Prairie du Chien.

1699 – On October 10, a group of French explorers in eight canoes reached the mouth of the Root River. They were the first Europeans to visit present-day Racine County. Led by Jonathan Paradise, they founded a trading post at the mouth of the Root River in Lake Michigan. “Racine” is French for “root”.

1755 – General Braddock and George Washington are defeated by the local Indians at the Battle of Monongahela, led by Charles Langlade, who in 1764 established the first permanent settlement at Green Bay.

1787 – The state becomes part of the Northwest Territory ; British fur traders still dominated the area.

1829 – The city of Madison, now the state capital, begins when Judge James Duane Doty purchased 4 miles [4 km] of land between Lake Mendota and Monona, with the intention of building a town in the Four Lakes area. When the Wisconsin-Territory was established in 1836, it was agreed to establish a common city for the state. Doty named the city after James Madison, the 4th President of the United States, who died on June 28, 1836, and he named the streets after the 39 people who signed the United States Constitution. The capital’s cornerstone was laid in 1837, and was incorporated as a city in 1846, with 626 residents.

1833 – The city of Milwaukee is founded by French missionaries. The nickname “the German Athens of America” ​​originated approx. 1900, when more than every other resident was of German descent.

1834 – Immediately after the Blackhawk War, the Racine area is inhabited by Americans from the state of New York. Gilbert Knapp founded the settlement of Port Gilbert where Racine is located today. The area had previously been called Kipi Kawi and Chippecotton by the original residents. The name Port Gilbert was never really accepted, and in 1841 it was changed to Racine. After Wisconsin became part of the union in 1848, the new rulers decided to register Racine as a city. Racine is claimed today to have the largest North American settlement of Danes outside Greenland. The city is known for its Danish specialties, especially pretzels. Several local bakeries have appeared on the TV channel Food Network.

1837 – All banks in the territory fail in the ” Panic of 1837 “; The Winnebago Indians relinquished their claim to their territories.

1848 – Wisconsin is admitted as the 30th state of the United States on May 29; at the same time Milwaukee received their first telegram.

1854 – The first passenger train arrives in Madison on May 23. It had 32 carriages and two locomotives with 2000 passengers, and was hailed by thousands of spectators.

1858 – The first train crash occurs at Johnson Creek, about 8 miles south of Watertown. Eight people were killed and an unknown number injured.

1859 – Abraham Lincoln delivers a speech on September 30 at the Milwaukee State Fair.

1861-1865 – Civil War ; over 90,000 men from the state served in the Union ; 12,216 died. The unit, known as the Iron Brigade, was formed on October 1, 1861, when 7th Wisconsin arrived in Washington DC. It was assembled into a brigade with 2nd and 6th Wisconsin as well as 19th Indiana under the command of Brigadier General Rufus King.

1868 – Inventor Christopher Latham Sholes patents the first practical typewriter and QWERTY keyboard still in use today.

1871 – On October 8, a 6,000 km² forest fire between 12-2500 people killed in and around Peshtigo and other villages on the same day as the more famous Chicago fire and other Michigan fires. Read more here and here.

1875 – On April 28, a forest fire engulfed Oshkosh, destroying homes and businesses along Main Street north of the Fox River. The fire had consumed 70 stores, 40 factories and 500 homes and cost $ 2.5 million in damage.

1878 – On July 16, the United States’ first car race begins in Green Bay, driving about 323km to Madison on roads built for wagons and oxen. The winning car was the steam-powered one, which drove for 33 hours and 27 minutes, while the cars of the 6 other participants broke down. The winner received $ 5000 in prize money. Read more about the car’s history here.

1883 – Newhall House in Milwaukee went up in smoke, taking 71 people with it.

1884 – Five of the seven Ringling brothers Al, Otto, Alf T., Charles and John, hold their first circus show in Baraboo on May 19th. Six years later, they had two elephants, and traveled with their own train carriages.

1887 – After a three-week drought, a fire breaks out on June 27, nearly wiping out the town of Marshfield. Over 250 buildings burned down, but no one died.

1898 – The State sends 5469 men into the Spanish-American War, only 134 do not return home.

1899 – An estimated F5 tornado nearly wiped out the city of New Richmond on June 12, claiming 117 lives and injuring 125. Read more here.

1903 – The listed American company, Harley Davidson, Inc., was founded in Milwaukee by William S. “Bill” Harley (1880 – 1943) and Arthur Davidson (1881-1950), who later also William A. Davidson and Walter Davidson (1877 – 1942) founded as Harley-Davidson Motor Company. The company is mainly active in two directions: on the one hand Motorcycle and the motorcycle accessories sector: on the other hand in the financing area, where essentially businesses and customers are helped.

1904 – On the evening of February 26, a gas flame ignited a newly varnished ceiling in the Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison. Despite an advanced fire protection system, a nearby reservoir was emptied, allowing the fire to play freely and spread quickly before an alternative water source could be found. After a series of obstacles, the entire structure burned out with the exception of the north side. Several historical artifacts and documents were lost in the fire. The damages amounted to $ 1 million

1911 – John Schwister of Wausau, flies his homemade airplane in the state. Watch video here.

1917 – US enters World War I ; 120,000 from Wisconsin volunteered, nearly 4,000 did not return home.

1932 – Author Laura Ingalls Wilder of Pepin County publishes her first book in the “Little House” series, which later became the autobiographical book series about the Little House on the Prairie (1935).

1936 – The highest temperature measured in Wisconsin is 45.6 ° C. The lowest temperature was measured in 1995 and was -48.3 ° C.

1941-45 – World War II begins; 375,000 from the state served the country (incl. 9000 women), 7980 died.

1958 – The 33-year-old molecular biologist Joshua Lederberg wins the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, for discovering that bacteria can mate and exchange genes. He shared the award with his two colleagues.

1964-75 – Vietnam War; 165,400 from the state served, 1239 died.

1968 – Demonstrations at Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh (Black Thursday) result in 90 African American students being expelled for building damage.

1976 – A violent ice storm causes damage of more than $ 50 million on March 4.

1984 – An F5 tornado rages through Barneveld on June 8, killing nine people.

1993 – Cryptosoporidium in Milwaukee’s water supply makes thousands sick.

1995 – A heat wave in Milwaukee kills 172 people.

1996 – A train derailed early in the morning in Weyauwega on March 4. The train was loaded with dangerous material that ignited and burned for more than two weeks. About 2,300 people were evacuated from the area in 16 days including the entire city with about 1,700 residents.

Wisconsin History