Wisconsin is a state located near the center of the North American continent. It touches two of the five Great Lakes and is one of the fifty states that constitute the United States of America. Wisconsin's capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee.
The name might have possibly come from an ancient Ojibwe word, Miskwasiniing, meaning "Red-stone place," which was probably the name given to the Wisconsin River, and was recorded as Ouisconsin by the French. The spelling was revised to its current form in 1845 by Wisconsin's territorial legislature. The modern Ojibwe name, however, is Wiishkoonsing or Wazhashkoonsing, meaning "muskrat-lodge place" or "little muskrat place." Other theories are that the name comes from words meaning "Gathering of the Waters" or "Great Rock." Originally, Ouisconsin was applied to the Wisconsin River, and later to the area as a whole when Wisconsin became a territory.
In 1634, the French Jean Nicolet was the first European to explore Wisconsin. He founded Green Bay colony. The area was mainly colonized by German, Scandinavian and Swiss settlers. France transferred the territory to Britain in 1763. The United States acquired the Wisconsin territory after the Revolution in 1783 but it remained under British administration until the War of 1812.
Wisconsin, bordered by the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois, as well as Lakes Michigan and Superior, has been part of the United States' territory since the end of the American Revolution; the Wisconsin Territory (which included parts of other current states) was formed on July 3, 1836. Wisconsin ratified its constitution on March 13, 1848, and was admitted to the Union on May 29, 1848, as the 30th state.
The state is bordered by the Montreal River; Lake Superior and Michigan to the north; by Lake Michigan to the east; by Illinois to the south; and by Iowa and Minnesota to the west. The state's boundaries include the Mississippi River and St. Croix River in the west, and the Menominee River in the northeast. With its location between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin is home to a wide variety of geographical features. The state is divided into five distinct regions. In the north, the Lake Superior Lowland occupies a belt of land along Lake Superior. Just to the south, the Northern Highland has massive mixed hardwood and coniferous forests including the 1.5 million acre (6,000 km²) Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, as well as thousands of glacial lakes, and the state's highest point, Timms Hill. In the middle of the state, the Central Plain has some unique sandstone formations like the Dells of the Wisconsin River in addition to rich farmland. The Eastern Ridges and Lowlands region in the southeast is home to many of Wisconsin's largest cities. In the southwest, the Western Upland is a rugged landscape with a mix of forest and farmland, including many bluffs on the Mississippi River. This region is part of the Driftless Area, which also includes portions of Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota.
The varied landscape of Wisconsin makes the state a popular vacation destination for outdoor recreation. Winter events include skiing, ice fishing and snowmobile derbies. Wisconsin has many lakes of varied size; in fact Wisconsin contains 11,188 square miles (28,977 sq km) of water, more than all but three other states (Alaska, Michigan and Florida). The distinctive Door Peninsula, which extends off the eastern coast of the state, contains one of the state's most beautiful tourist destinations, Door County. The area draws thousands of visitors yearly to its quaint villages, seasonal cherry picking, and ever-popular fish boils.
Areas under the management of the National Park Service include the following:
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore along Lake Superior Ice Age National Scenic Trail North Country National Scenic Trail Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway Nicolet National Forest.
More on Wisconsin at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisconsin