Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States, in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. The state capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee, which is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The state is divided into 72 counties.
Wisconsin’s geography is diverse, with the Northern Highland and Western Upland along with a part of the Central Plain occupying the western part of the state and lowlands stretching to the shore of Lake Michigan. Wisconsin is second to Michigan in the length of its Great Lakes coastline.
Wisconsin is known as „America’s Dairyland“ because it is one of the nation’s leading dairy producers, particularly famous for its cheese. Manufacturing, especially paper products, information technology (IT), and tourism are also major contributors to the state’s economy.
The Algonquin word for Wisconsin and its original meaning have both grown obscure. Interpretations vary, but most implicate the river and the red sandstone that lines its banks. One leading theory holds that the name originated from the Miami word Meskonsing, meaning „it lies red“, a reference to the setting of the Wisconsin River as it flows through the reddish sandstone of the Wisconsin Dells.
Most of Wisconsin is classified as warm-summer humid continental climate , while southern and southwestern portions are classified as hot-summer humid continental climate.
Since its founding, Wisconsin has been ethnically heterogeneous. Following the period of French fur traders, the next wave of settlers were miners, many of whom were Cornish, who settled the southwestern area of the state. The next wave was dominated by „Yankees“, migrants of English descent from New England and upstate New York; in the early years of statehood, they dominated the state’s heavy industry, finance, politics and education. Between 1850 and 1900, large numbers of European immigrants followed them, including Germans, Scandinavians (the largest group being Norwegian), and smaller groups of Belgians, Dutch, Swiss, Finns, Irish, Poles, Italians, Luxembourgers, and others. In the 20th century, large numbers of Mexicans and African Americans came, settling mainly in Milwaukee; and after the end of the Vietnam War came an influx of Hmongs.
While many of Wisconsin’s top cultural attractions are in its two largest cities, Madison and Milwaukee, smaller communities such as Spring Green, home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s best work, are worth exploring. The state offers many exceptional cultural activities and events, too, from the huge Oshkosh Airshow to Milwaukee’s popular Summerfest. Outdoor enthusiasts can choose from great fishing and boating as well as some of the best hiking and biking trails anywhere in the country.