Wis·con·sin geographical name \wi-ˈskän(t)-sən\
State, northern midwestern U.S. Area: 65,498 sq mi (169,639 sq km), including part of Lake Michigan. Pop. (2009 est.): 5,654,774. Capital: Madison. Wisconsin is bordered by the western portion of Lake Superior and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the north; Lake Michigan to the east; Illinois to the south; and Minnesota and Iowa to the west and southwest, with the upper Mississippi River acting as border between these states and Wisconsin. With many unique landforms, including the Door Peninsula between Lake Michigan and Green Bay, its northern area has one of the greatest concentrations of lakes in the world. The Wisconsin River crosses the state. Forests cover more than two-fifths of the state.
Originally inhabited by the Adena, or Mound Builders, the region was home to several different Native American groups, including the Ojibwa, Menominee, and Winnebago (Ho-Chunk), when Europeans arrived. The French explorer Jean Nicolet visited Wisconsin in 1634; the first permanent European settlement was established in 1717. The area remained under French control until 1763, when France ceded it to Great Britain after the French and Indian War. After the American Revolution the region was ceded to the U.S. The American settlers dispossessed the Native Americans of their land (see Black Hawk) and settled the region.
It became the Wisconsin Territory in 1836. It was admitted to the union as the 30th state in 1848. The Progressive movement (see Progressive Party) began in Wisconsin about 1900, resulting in the passage of legislation that made the state a leader in social reform. It is a major milk, butter, and cheese producer in the U.S. Tourism and recreation also are economically important. Wisconsin ports handle much of the Great Lakes domestic freight shipping. Wisconsin's largest city is Milwaukee. "Wisconsin." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web 9 Nov. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Wisconsin>.