Collage of historical images.

Wisconsin History Essays

Learn something new about the past and gain a deeper understanding of your world. Hundreds of essays tell the stories of the people, places and events that are Wisconsin history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on Wisconsin's history.

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Read about the fur trade conducted with the Wisconsin Indians over two centuries by first the French, then the British, and finally the Americans.

Historical Essay

Campers' Wash-Up Kit

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Wash-Up Kit made by the Bay West Company, Green Bay. Distributed by the Yankee Paper and Specialty Co. of Menasha in the 1920s. (Museum object #1998.6.2)

Historical Essay

Early U.S. Settlement

Read how the end of the War of 1812 led to the establishment of American forts and increased exploration and settlement in the Wisconsin territory.

Historical Essay

Madison's First Thanksgiving

Read the story of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in Madison.

Historical Essay

The Founding of Major Cities

Read how land speculation and the development of transportation spurred settlement in 19th-century Wisconsin, leading to the rise of larger cities.

Learn how the Ordinance of 1787 extended government, prohibited slavery, and let to the survey of public lands northwest of the Ohio River.

Historical Essay

Brett Favre's Packers Jersey

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Green Bay Packers football jersey worn by Brett Favre during game against Chicago Bears, January 2, 2005. (Museum object #2005.83.1)

Read about the development of social and cultural institutions such as public schools, churches, colleges and universities and Indian mission schools.

Historical Essay

The War of 1812

Learn about the War of 1812 in Wisconsin when the British relinquished control over that territory and Americans took over the fur trade in the region.

Read about the creation of the Wisconsin territory, the formation of a territorial government, and the move of the capital from Belmont to Madison.
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