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Iowa Local Business Directory

The tranquil rolling hills of Iowa are ideal for agricultural pursuits. First claimed by the French as a fur trading territory, Iowa was originally home to a number of Native American tribes that included the Dakota, Omaha, Meskwaki, Otoe and Sauk peoples. These tribes participated to varying degrees in the fur trading business and continued these activities after the area was transferred to Spanish control in 1763. Iowa was included in the Louisiana Purchase and became part of the U.S. territory system in 1803. As the U.S. expanded westward and more settlers made their homes in Iowa, the Sauk were increasingly displaced and began to initiate hostilities against the settlers. This led to their expulsion; however, the Meskwaki returned to live peacefully and were allowed to remain as permanent residents by the Iowa government.

From its roots as an agrarian state, Iowa has evolved to include a wide range of economic activities. Manufacturing currently comprises the largest employment field for Iowa residents, at more than 20 percent of the overall economy. Corn and other agricultural products also provide jobs for Iowans, and financial and insurance services constitute a large percentage of the available jobs in urban areas.

Education has always been an important value for Iowa; in the early 1900s, Iowa led the nation in establishing public high schools for its students. This trend quickly took root across the nation and resulted in the establishment of the modern secondary school system in the U.S. That focus on learning and educational pursuits continues today; Iowa boasts the third-highest ranking for successful high school graduation in the nation, beating out a number of states with much higher per capita incomes and financial resources.

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