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Wisconsin Territory


On this day, April 20, 1836, Congress approved a bill creating Wisconsin Territory; a region including present-day Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa as well as South Dakota and North Dakota east of the Missouri River.

By summer, President Andrew Jackson had appointed Colonel Henry Dodge as the first Territorial governor of Wisconsin; a career army man who had first gained prominence during the Black Hawk War. As governor, Dodge wasted little time carrying out his assigned duties. During his first five months in office the town of Madison was selected as the capital and the first territorial census recorded over 11,000 non-Indian residents between Lake Michigan and the Dakotas.

But for the present-day region of North Dakota, Wisconsin Territory and the leadership of Governor Dodge was short-lived. By 1838, the Dakotas east of the Missouri River became a part of the newly created Iowa Territory.

Written by Christina Sunwall


Wisconsin Historical Society: Turning Points- http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: Henry Dodge- http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=D000396