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Wisconsin

A map of WisconsinThe state of Wisconsin is located in the northern Midwest region of the United States. In the north the land rises from the lowlands bordering Lake Superior to the wooded uplands of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Here the landscape is dotted with thousands of glacial lakes. In the middle of the state lies the Central Plain. Here are the Wisconsin Dells, sandstone buttes and mesas formed where the Wisconsin River has carved its way across the plain. The lowlands bordering Lake Michigan, where Milwaukee and other cities are located, are interspersed with a series of ridges. Extending as far as the Mississippi River in the southwest are uplands with deeply carved river valleys. This is part of the Driftless Area, a region that escaped being glaciated during the last Ice Age.


Devil's Lake, south of Baraboo. The name is a mistranslation of the Native American Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) name, Tawacunchukdah,...Read More >>Devil's Lake, south of Baraboo. The name is a mistranslation of the Native American Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) name, Tawacunchukdah, which means "Spirit Lake".
The Wisconsin Dells, an area of sandstone cliffs and rock stacks in the gorge of the Wisconsin River, were first made famous by...Read More >>The Wisconsin Dells, an area of sandstone cliffs and rock stacks in the gorge of the Wisconsin River, were first made famous by the photographer H. H. Bennett, who took this first stop-action photo of his son jumping on to Stand Rock in 1886.

Name

Wisconsin comes from the name given to the Wisconsin River by an Algonquian-speaking Native American people. French explorer Jacques Marquette became the first European to reach the Wisconsin River when he arrived in 1673. He recorded its local name as Meskousing. The name probably means ”it lies red", after the surrounding landscape where the river flows through the reddish sandstone of the Wisconsin Dells. Later French writers changed the spelling from Meskousing to Ouisconsin. Over time, the English version, Wiskonsin, then finally Wisconsin, became the name for both the river and the surrounding lands.
Ships locked into the ice at the port of Sturgeon Bay, in Green Bay, during the winter.

Climate

The French residents at the trading post in what is now Green Bay, Wisconsin, originally called the town "La Baye”. British fur traders referred to it as "Green Bay", because the water and the shore appeared green in the early spring. The old French name was gradually dropped in favour of the British one.

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