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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Learn about the origin, and the many spellings and multiple meanings of "Wisconsin."

The Virgin Mary Appears to an Illiterate Peasant Girl

Learn about the first and only manifestation of the Virgin Mary in the United States near Green Bay, confirmed by the Vatican.

Learn about the development of professional sports teams in Wisconsin in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Historical Essay

Early U.S. Settlement

Military Outposts in Wisconsin

Read how American forts were established and settlement increased in Wisconsin after the War of 1812.

An Unreliable Text and Other Evidence

Wisconsin History books teach that Jean Nicolet was the first white person to reach the state, but he may have been the second.

How Wisconsin was Divided

Discover how the Ordinance of 1787 extended government, prohibited slavery and led to the survey of public lands north of the Ohio River.

Historical Essay

20th Century Immigration

The History of Modern Immigration in Wisconsin

Discover the economic and cultural changes that brought new immigrants to Wisconsin in the 20th century.

Historical Essay

Land Speculation and Cities

How Real Estate Owners Created Wisconsin

Discover how land owners promoted their towns and villages for settlers and created the cities you know today.

Historical Essay

The War of 1812

Wisconsin's Involvement with the war on the French, British and Natives

Learn how the British relinquished control of Wisconsin and Americans took over the region's fur trade during the war of 1812.

Historical Essay

Madison's First Thanksgiving

The Power of the Pumpkin

Read the story of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in Madison.
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Have Questions?

If you have questions about historical research, please contact our Library Reference Services staff by phone at 608-264-6535 or by email.

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