The first recorded European explorer to reach what is today Wisconsin, was Jean Nicolet of France in 1634 while looking for the Northwest Passage to China. He would have encountered Native American tribes in that area including Algonquian-speaking Menominee, Kickapoo, Miami, the Siouan-speaking Winnebago, Dakota (or Sioux) and Iowa. In the mid-1600’s other groups entered Wisconsin, including the Fox, Sac, Potawatomi and Ojibwa (Chippewa).
After the French and Indian War, the French lost ownership of the Wisconsin territory along with all their territories east of the Mississippi River to the British. In 1783, when the British signed the treaty that ended the American Revolution, Wisconsin was technically part of the new United States of America, but as the U.S. government had no way to control that area the fur trade still remained under British control.
A lead mining boom in Northwest Illinois and Southwest Wisconsin in the 1820’s brought in many American settlers. This wave of settlers caused the federal government to uproot and move tribal people from their native lands causing serious conflict between the settlers and Indians. The Black Hawk War in 1832 resulted when the Sac people went on the war path and left less than 1000 Native Americans surviving in that area. Many of the other tribes moved to reservation lands during the early to mid-1800s.
Once the fighting ceased between the settlers and Native people, waves of Americans moving west came into the area attracted by the good farming conditions for the production of wheat.
Wisconsin Territory was officially formed in 1836 and Wisconsin became the 30th state on May 29, 1848.