When American Indians first arrived in what is now Iowa more than 13,000 years ago, they were hunters and gatherers living in a Pleistocene glacial landscape. By the time European explorers visited Iowa, American Indians were largely settled farmers with complex economic, social, and political systems.
The first known European explorers to document Iowa were Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet who traveled the Mississippi River in 1673 documenting several Indian villages on the Iowa side. The area of Iowa was claimed for France and remained a French territory until 1763.
Iowa is bordered by the Mississippi River on the east; the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River on the west and is the only state whose east and west borders are formed entirely by rivers. And while you might think the state is flat, quite the contrary; most of the state consists of rolling hills.