The Badger State

Wisconsin, adjoining Lake Superior and Michigan in the North, Lake Michigan in the East, Illinois in the South and Iowa and Minnesota in the West, became the 30th state of the United States in 1848.

Measuring 169,639 km² the “Badger State” is the 23th largest state and is twice as big as Bavaria. As of 2006, 5,536,201 inhabitants call Wisconsin their home. The second biggest city is Madison. It is also the capital of Wisconsin.

Geographically, Wisconsin can be divided into 5 regions. Lake Superior Lowland is situated in the North and the Northern Highlands in the South, characterized by mixed and coniferous forests. The other three regions are the Central Plains (formed by farmland and impressive sandstone formations), the Eastern Ridges and Lowlands (the multiple cities make it the most populous region) and the Western Uplands (characterized by forests and farmland).

Many inhabitants in Wisconsin descend from German immigrants and thus, it is not surprising to have cities here that are called Berlin, New Berlin or Kiel.

Before the first European settlers entered present-day Wisconsin many Indian tribes had lived here. Fur trade played an important role for a long time and was the settlers’ main source of income. Yet, in the early 19th century many miners came to Wisconsin to take on the lead mine. They were given the name “Badger” and thus the nickname “Badger State” was given to Wisconsin. Over the course of that century railways had been built and natural resources had been exhausted little by little. At that time, there was a large timber, pulp and paper industry in the northern part of the state and more and more European settlers moved here.

Wisconsin is well-known for its oppositions of the rural conservative and the urban liberal regions and thus, ensures a political balance.

There is a lot to explore when it comes to tourism. Aside from theme parks, casinos, theaters and spas you can go on a shopping spree, visit the zoo or just do sports. Interesting sights can also be visited: Little Norway in Blue Mounds, a Norwegian farm from 1856 in which a stave church is integrated, St. Joseph Basilica, a replica of the St. Peter’s Church in Rome, Holy Hill National Park and the State History Museum.