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States of the US


A map of WisconsinA 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 BarabooDevil's Lake, south of Baraboo
A boy jumps on to Stand Rock, Wisconsin Dells, 1886.A boy jumps on to Stand Rock, Wisconsin Dells, 1886.


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.

Sturgeon Bay, in Green Bay, during the winterSturgeon Bay, in Green Bay, during the winter


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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