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Wisconsin State Guide

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The state of Wisconsin is located in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions in north-central United State FlagStates. Madison is the capital of the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is also referred to as the “The Badger State” or the "Gathering of the Waters". Wisconsin became a state of the nation on May 29, 1848 as the 30th sate of America.

Wisconsin Fast Facts[1]
  • State capitol: Madison
  • Statehood: May 29, 1848 as the 30th State
  • Largest city: Milwaukee
  • Population: 5,363,675
  • Nickname: The Badger state
  • Water area: 1 million acres
  • Land area: 35.7 million acres
  • Official Language: English
Wisconsin State Symbols
  • State Bird: Robin
  • State Animal: Badger
  • State Domestic Animal: Cow
  • State Dance: Polka
  • State Fish: Muskellunge
  • State Flower: Wood Violet
  • State Insect: Honey Bee
  • State Motto: Forward
  • State Tree: Maple
  • State Wildlife Animal: White-tailed Deer
  • State Song: On Wisconsin
  • State Beverage: Milk
  • State symbol: Mourning dove
  • State mineral: Galena
  • State soil: Antigo silt loam
  • State rock: Red granite

Wisconsin State Symbols

History of Wisconsin

The first inhabitants of Wisconsin were various Native American tribes which include the Menominee, the Chippewa, Oneida, Potawatomi, Menominee, and Ho Chunk (Winnebago). Until the late 1800s, these tribes lived in the area. Jean Nicolet was the first European explorer to come to Wisconsin. He arrived in the region in the year 1634 in search of Northwest Passage to China. In the year 1672 France laid claim to Wisconsin as part of its territory in the New World. Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette in the year 1673 became the first to record a journey on the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway all the way to the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien.
During the French and Indian War, the British gradually took over Wisconsin. In 1761 they took control over Green Bay and in the year 1763 they controlled all of Wisconsin. Wisconsin was the part of the territory surrendered by France to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris in the year 1763.

After the American Revolutionary War, Wisconsin became a part of the United States of America in the year 1783. However, until after the War of 1812, the British remained in control. The American presence in the area was finally established after the outcome of the war. The economy of the territory shifted from fur trading to lead mining under American control.

Under the Northwest Ordinance in the year 1787, Wisconsin became part of the great territory north and west of the Ohio River out of which Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin were formed.

The Wisconsin territory was organized in the year 1836, including what are now the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and parts of the Dakotas. The first territorial legislature was held at Belmont about 5.5 miles northeast of Platteville.

Wisconsin became the 30th state to be added in the Union in the year 1848[2]. The present Capitol building in now located Madison was build between 1906 and 1917.

In the mid to late 20th century, Wisconsin took part in several political extremes. The economy of the state towards the close of the 20th century underwent further transformations as heavy and manufacturing industry declined in favor of a service economy based on education, agribusiness, medicine and tourism.

Wisconsin History Timeline

1634: Jean Nicolet, French explorer visited Green Bay area.
1666: Nicolas Perrot started fur trade with Indians.
1673: Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette explored water route from Lake Michigan to Mississippi River.
1754-1763: French and Indian War began.
1763: England controlled Wisconsin area under Treaty of Paris at the end of French and Indian War.
1764: First permanent Euro-American settlement at Green Bay established by Charles Langlade.
1783: In second Treaty of Paris U. S. took control of Wisconsin Region.
1787: Wisconsin became part of U. S. Northwest Territory.
1814: Fort Shelby set up at Prairie du Chien, captured by British, renamed to Fort McKay.
1815: Fort McKay abandoned by British.
1818: Wisconsin became a part of Michigan Territory; territorial governor formed two Wisconsin counties: Crawford and Brown.
1825: U. S. and Indian representatives signed Treaty of Prairie Du Chien establishing tribal boundaries.
1836: U.S. Congress formed Territory of Wisconsin; Madison became territorial capital.
1848: Wisconsin became the 30th American state.
1851: First railroad started between Milwaukee and Waukesha.
1861 – 1865: Civil War started.
1875: Oshkosh nearly devastated by fire.
1887: Marshfield nearly devastated by fire.
1889: Bennett Law enacted, needed classroom instruction to be in English.
1891: After intense disagreements with German Protestants and Catholics Bennett Law repealed.
1904:  State Capitol burned.
1913: Workmen's Compensation Act passed.
1932: Wisconsin enacted first unemployment legislation law in U. S.
1934: Wisconsin Progressive Party was founded.
1941 – 1945: World War II began.
1946: Progressive Party dissolved and members rejoined Republican Party.
1965:  Legislation enacted banned housing discrimination.
1974: Democrats controlled both houses.
1964 – 1975: Vietnam War began
1991: First Indian gambling contracts signed.
1995:  Heat wave led 172 to death.
1998: Tammy Baldwin became the first Wisconsin woman to be elected in U. S. Congress.
1999: Tommy Thompson elected to fourth term as Governor of Wisconsin.
2001: Legislature approved local sales tax, revenue bonds Lambeau Field renovation.
2001: Governor Thompson assumed post of U. S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; State Senator Margaret Farrow first woman Lieutenant Governor.
2008: After record rains caused its banks to burst Lake Delton in Wisconsin Dells completely drained.
2011: Winter storm dumped nearly two feet of snow in some areas, wind chill temperatures were between -20 to -25F degree.

Geography of Wisconsin

Among the 50 states of America, Wisconsin is 26th in area. The total land area of Wisconsin is 456,154 square miles, including 1,439 square miles of inland water. Wisconsin is bordered on the east by Lake Michigan, on the west by Minnesota and Iowa, on the north by Lake Superior and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and on the south by Illinois. The state abounds in such common glacial features as eskers, drumlins, marshes, till plains, and moraines. Located in the southeastern portion of the state, the Kettle Moraine area is a prominent reminder of the glacial origins of the state.

Land Regions of Wisconsin

This state of Wisconsin can be divided into five geographical land areas namely the Lake Superior Lowland, the Northern Highland or Superior Upland, the Eastern Ridges and Lowlands, the Central Plain and the Western Upland.

Lake Superior Lowland: The Lake Superior Lowland gradually slopes upwards toward the south in northern Wisconsin, from the shores of Lake Superior. This small area of flat plain spreads to about 5 to 20 miles inland.

Northern Highland: Large area of northern Wisconsin is characterized by Northern Highland geography. This region lies south of the Lake Superior Lowland and covers about one third of the state. This Highland reaches its highest elevations in the north that slopes downward to the south. The Highland also consists of hundreds of small lakes and heavily forested hills. The highest point in Wisconsin is Timms Hill, is located in the Northern Highland.

Central Plain: This region is located to the south of the Northern Highland and curving across the central part of the state. The Wisconsin River has carved the beautiful scenic gorge, in the southern area of the Central Plain. This is a region of buttes and mesas, an unexpected landscape for central Wisconsin.

Eastern Ridges and Lowlands: This region is located to the east of the Central Plain. The hills of the Eastern Ridges and Lowlands area spread from Green Bay south to Illinois. This is Wisconsin’s richest agricultural area where ice-age glaciers deposited earth over limestone ridges.

Western Upland: This area is located to the west of the Central Plain. This region is characterized by limestone and sandstone bluffs along the Mississippi River. The Western Upland spreads along the Mississippi River to the Illinois border. The southwestern part of the Western Upland is an area that supports steeply sloped ravines and winding ridges and the area is not touched by glaciers.

Climate of Wisconsin

The climate of Wisconsin is classified as hot summer humid continental climate in the southern third of Wisconsin the colder northern portion is classified as warm summer humid continental climate. The Mean temperature is 43 degrees and it may also vary from 45 degrees F in the extreme south to 39 degrees in the north. The average precipitation in the state is 31 inches, most of it falls between the month of May and August. The average snowfall in Wisconsin is 45 inches.

Forests in Wisconsin

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource is responsible to preserve and enhance the natural resource of Wisconsin. The department officials in partnership with individuals and organizations manages air, water, fish, wildlife, parks and , forests resources while promoting a sustainable, healthy, environment and also offering a full range of outdoor opportunities.

Contact Details

101 S. Webster Street
PO Box 7921, Madison,
Wisconsin 53707-7921
Phone no: 608-266-2621
Toll Free: 1-888-936-7463

National Forest in Wisconsin

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest covers more than 1.5 million acres of Northwoods of Wisconsin. The Chequamegon part of the forest covers about 858,400 acres in Bayfield, Ashland, Sawyer, Taylor, Price and Vilas counties while the Nicolet side covers nearly 661,400 acres in Forest, Florence, Langlade, Oneida, Oconto, and Vilas counties.

Contact Details

Forest Headquarters Offices
500 Hanson Lake Road
Rhinelander, WI 54501
Phone no: 715-362-1300

To know more about Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Click here.

State Forests in Wisconsin

The state forests of Wisconsin offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, like skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, backpacking, off-road biking,  horseback riding, and snowmobiling, ATVing and Camping. There are several state Forests in Wisconsin which includes: 
Geography Quick Facts
  • Total Land area: 456,154 square miles
  • Longitude: 86 degree 49'W to 92 degree 54'W
  • Latitude: 42 degree 30'N to 47degree 3'N
  • Land Area: 34.8 million acres
  • Water Area: 1.13 million acres
  • State Parks: 60,570 acres
  • State Forests: 471,329 acres
  • Highest Elevation: Timms Hill (Price County) 1,951.5 feet
  • Largest Inland Lake: Lake Winnebago (30 miles long, 10 miles wide at widest point).
  • Deepest Inland Lake: Green Lake (236 feet at deepest point).

Demographics of Wisconsin

The population of Wisconsin as of 2014 estimation by the U.S. Census Bureau was 5,757,564. The 2014 census reflected a hike of 1.24% since the year 2010.

Wisconsin population quick facts according to the Census Bureau[3]
  • Population, 2014 estimate: 5,757,564
  • Population, 2013 estimate: 5,742,953
  • Population, 2010 (April 1) estimates base: 5,687,289
  • Population, percent change - April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014: 1.2%
  • Population, percent change - April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013: 1.0%
  • Population, 2010: 5,686,986
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013: 6.0%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013: 22.8%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013: 14.8%
  • Female persons, percent, 2013: 50.3%
Wisconsin Racial Groups
  • White alone, percent, 2013 (a): 88.1%
  • Black or African American alone, percent, 2013 (a) 6.5%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, 2013 (a): 1.1%
  • Asian alone, percent, 2013 (a): 2.5%
  • Two or More Races, percent, 2013: 1.7%
  • Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2013 (b): 6.3%
  • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2013: 82.5%
The major religious groups in the state are:
  • Christian
  • Mormon
  • Jewish
  • Muslim
  • Buddhist
  • Hindu

Economy of Wisconsin

Economy of Wisconsin
Several sectors play a major role in the economic growth of Wisconsin. The state ranks as one of the leading agricultural states of the nation. Diversity of agriculture, business-manufacturing, services including tourism in Wisconsin and the diversity within each of these business sectors, has given the state an economic balance, a good business climate, strength, and an excellent quality of life.

Wisconsin Economy facts and figures[4]
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) in (millions of current dollars) of all industry total in 2013 - $282,486
  • Wisconsin’s per capita real GDP in 2013 - $ 5,993
  • Wisconsin’s per capita personal income in 2014 - $ 44,585
  • Wisconsin’s unemployment rate in 2015 - 4.8%

Agriculture and Livestock in WisconsinCranberry

  • Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberry, growing nearly 48 percent of the total crop of the nation'
  • Wisconsin also produces corn grown for silage, hay, oats and potatoes.
  • Wisconsin has more than 1.2 million dairy cows.
  • Wisconsin is also the largest producer of butter, cheese and milk.

Industries in Wisconsin

  • The Menominee Reservation is largest and an international leader in sustainable forestry in Wisconsin' covering about 234,900 acres.Cheese
  • Milwaukee is the home of the internationally famous Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
  • Wisconsin is the leading producer of ginseng in the nation and 8th in production of honey.
  • Wisconsin also has more than 50 wineries and 70 breweries.

Tourism in Wisconsin

Tourism is also an important part of the economy of Wisconsin. Tourism also contributes a large share to improve the economy of Wisconsin.

The top places to visit in Wisconsin are:

Wisconsin Business Quick Facts
  • Private nonfarm establishments, 2012: 138, 2461
  • Private nonfarm employment, 2012: 2, 388, 8551
  • Private nonfarm employment, percent change, 2011-2012: 1.5%
  • Nonemployer establishments: 2012: 336,059
  • Total number of firms, 2007: 433,797
  • Black-owned firms, percent, 2007: 2.6%
  • American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms, percent, 2007: 0.6%
  • Asian-owned firms, percent, 2007: 1.6%
  • Hispanic-owned firms, percent, 2007: 1.3%
  • Women-owned firms, percent, 2007: 25.9%
  • Manufacturers’ shipments, 2007 ($1000): 163,563,195
  • Merchant wholesaler sales, 2007 ($1000): 59,996,244
  • Retail sales, 2007 ($1000): 72,283,321
  • Retail sales per capita, 2007: $12,904
  • Accommodation and food services sales, 2007 ($1000): 9,247,311
  • Building permits, 2013: 13,869

Transportation in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation was established officially in the year 1967. The department is responsible for building, maintaining and planning a network of state highways and Interstate highway system of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Transportation

The road transportation in Wisconsin consists of several state routes, interstate highways, bridges and tunnels. The department is responsible for convenient, safe, and excellent statewide transportation. The major highways of Wisconsin are: Interstate 39, Interstate 41, Interstate 43, Interstate 90 and Interstate 94. The Wisconsin Transit provides bus services throughout the state. Bicycling plays major role in moving Wisconsin’s people. The Pedestrians represent an important transportation mode in the state.

Air transportation is an essential gateway of Wisconsin that serves the tourists as well as locals from all over the world. It is the important form that provides all round easy and efficient connectivity. The primary airports in Wisconsin are Outagamie County Regional Airport, Austin Straubel International Airport, Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, La Crosse Municipal Airport, Dane County Regional Airport, General Mitchell International Airport, Central Wisconsin Airport and Rhinelander/Oneida County Airport.

The rail transportation is also an integral part of the transportation system and economy of Wisconsin since 1847. The first rail service of the state was also introduced in the same year. Wisconsin has two passenger train routes that are operated by Amtrak. There are also some special trains in Wisconsin which carry passengers to different destinations. Presently, 13 freight railroads in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin waterways play an important role in the development of economy of the state. The sea ports of Wisconsin serve as the major export and import centre for distribution and good movement across Wisconsin. The Ports in Wisconsin include: Port of Duluth-Superior, Port of LaCrosse,Port of Prairie du Chien, Port of Green Bay and Port of Milwaukee.
Also read: Transportation in Wisconsin

Government of Wisconsin

The power of the Government of Wisconsin is divided into three branches the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary branch.

Government of Wisconsin

The Governor is the head of the Executive Branch.  All the executive Power of the Government of Wisconsin rest on the hands of the governor. The Executive Branch of Wisconsin consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Secretary of State and the State Treasurer. The Lieutenant Governor is the second highest elected official in the State

The State Legislature of Wisconsin is the Legislative branch of the state. The Legislative Branch of Wisconsin consists of Wisconsin State Assembly and Wisconsin Senate.The State Assembly of Wisconsin is the lower house of the State Legislature of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin State Senate is the upper house of the Wisconsin State Legislature.

The Judiciary Branch of Wisconsin looks after all the rules and regulations of the state. All the Judicial decisions of the state of Wisconsin are taken by the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Circuit Courts and the Municipal Courts. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin is the highest court of the state.


The Wisconsin Department of Revenue administers the major tax laws of the state which include: Sales and use tax, Corporation and partnership tax, Withholding tax, Tobacco tax, Motor fuel tax, Beverage tax, Property tax, Individual income tax, Corporation and partnership tax and Delinquent tax

Also read: Government of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Health Care

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is responsible for protection and promotion of health of the people of the state. The Department works to improve the health of the residents of Wisconsin.Wisconsin Health Care

The state of Wisconsin has several good hospitals which work efficiently for the improvement the people of the state. Major Hospitals in Wisconsin are Amery Hospital & Clinic, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Rogers Memorial Hospital and Berlin Memorial Hospital.

Several organizations in Wisconsin are dedicated to provide blood, organ, and tissue to the people in need. Medicaid is a health insurance program in Wisconsin which is provide to the elderly, blind or disabled people of the state.The Health Department of Wisconsin has taken up several health care programs to improve the health care system of the people of Wisconsin.

Also read:
Healthcare in Wisconsin

Education in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is well known for the quality of its public education system. The Public schools and university systems of Wisconsin were established in the 1850s. Wisconsin was America’s first state to open a kindergarten, in Watertown in the year 1856. On national tests, 432 school districts of Wisconsin consistently score much higher than the average of other Midwestern states and the national average.

The University of Wisconsin System comprises of 13 campuses, UW-Extension and 13 two-year centers. Presently, about 160,000 students are enrolled in the university system of the state.

The Technical, Vocational, and Adult Education system of Wisconsin consists of 16 districts, each with a main location institute and several outreach centers, retrains, trains, and upgrades the skills of 450,000 Wisconsin citizens for industry and business annually.

Wisconsin Private Universities and Colleges

Wisconsin Public Universities and College

To know more about Education in Wisconsin Click here.

Tradition and Culture of Wisconsin

The people of Wisconsin enjoy celebrating different fairs and festivals throughout the year. Fantastic food, entertainment, fun and friendly people are guaranteed during the festive time. The state also holds numerous country music festivals throughout the year. In order to celebrate the heritage of its citizens several ethnic festivals take place throughout Wisconsin.

Some notable festivals in Wisconsin include:
  • Wisconsin Film Festival
  • Festival Foods Grandad Half Marathon
  • Family Fest
  • Gitchee Gumee Brew Fest
  • Neenah's Ultimate Ladies Day
  • Spring Extravaganza
  • River Falls Roots and Bluegrass Music Festival
  • Spring Home, Garden & Recreation Show
  • Crazy Quilters Quilt Show
  • Spring Gift and Craft Show
Also Read: Festivals in Wisconsin

Interesting Facts about Wisconsin
  • The people of Wisconsin consume about 21 million gallons each year.
  • Green Bay is referred to as the "Toilet Paper Capital" of the world.
  • All the Wisconsin‘s natural lakes in have resulted from glaciers.
  • World’s largest experimental aviation event is the EAA Fly-In at Oshkosh.
  • Sweet corn festival of Sun Prairie is one of the largest of its kind in America.
  • The first circus in the US was held in Delavan, Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin is known as “America’s Dairy land".
  • Wisconsin is known as the "Beer Capital" of the United States.

  1. Wisconsin Fast Facts
  2. Wisconsin Statehood
  3. Demographics of Wisconsin
  4. Wisconsin Economy Fast Facts
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