Midwest History and Culture

Immense and indispensable

Starting west of the Appalachians and stopping at the powerful Rocky Mountains, the Midwest is an immense region (larger than France, Germany, and Spain combined !), mainly composed of large plains, large lakes, and some landforms.

Originally populated by many Amerindian tribes, gradually desiccated or expelled by European settlers as they progressed and ventured westward, the region offers vast spaces for agriculture.

First commercial partners and later European scouts, the Amerindians were dispossessed of their lands from the 18th century onwards, when American settlers, after French explorers had taken partial possession of vast areas of the region. The latter was bought from France at the beginning of the 18th century, and Indian wars began rapidly as American colonists advanced.

Rich in history, the Midwest was the scene of numerous confrontations between Native Americans and Americans, eventually turning to the American advantage of the latter, who later lured surviving Native Americans to reserves that were often limited in resources.

After the American conquests, the region saw its infrastructures evolve, including the digging of the Erie canal to connect the Great Lakes to New York, and the construction of the Illinois canal to connect the lakes to the Mississippi. It should be noted that the use of the Missouri River facilitated access and transportation from the Rockies to the Mississippi.

During the American Civil war, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin were members of the Union and fought to end slavery.

As a result of this conflict, European immigrants began to colonize the region further, in very many farms and farms, then the industrial era came, favoring the emergence of new industries and a larger economy.

During the 19th century, Chicago became a major rail hub, and many interurban rail links were established in the Midwest between 1890 and 1930.

The advent of the automobile, particularly in the factories in Detroit, Michigan, helped to create and improve the road network; the success of the Ford Motor Company created in 1903 popularized the automobile and made it accessible to the general public.

Midwestern Population

Less densely populated than the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest has a more rural population, although a few large cities such as Chicago (2,720,546), Indianapolis (853,173), Columbus (850,106), Detroit (677,116), Kansas City (475,378) and Minneapolis (410,939) give it an urban landscape.

The Midwest Region has a total population of 67,941,429 (more than France), with the most and least populated states being Illinois and North Dakota respectively.

Midwestern Landscapes

Covering a total area of 2,128,226 Km2, with Michigan (almost as large as the equator) being the largest state, the Midwest is mostly made up of large plains, with some high relief in North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Outside these mountains, nearly two-thirds of the Midwest is flat or low-lying, which has facilitated the establishment of a large number of farms, which benefit from fertile and highly productive land.

The many waterways, especially the mighty Mississippi and Missouri rivers, supply much of the agricultural land and are also used for river transport to the Gulf of Mexico.

The agricultural yield of the region is such that, for example, the States of South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Ohio produce about 70% of the American maize to them 7! However, recent droughts have harmed the various agricultural production in the Midwest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *