3¢ Iowa Territory Centennial
Issue Date: August 24, 1938
City: Des Moines, IA
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10.5
Issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Iowa Territory, U.S. #838 pictures the old state capitol building in Iowa City. Today, the old capitol building stands at the center of the University of Iowa and has been declared a national historic landmark. The current state capitol building was completed in 1886 and is located in Des Moines.
Establishing the Iowa Territory
On June 17, 1673, two French explorers, Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette, became the first white people to reach Iowa. They traveled by canoe down the Wisconsin River to the Mississippi River to reach the area, landing on the Iowa side of the river on June 25th. In 1682, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, reached the mouth of the Mississippi River. He claimed the entire region drained by the Mississippi for France. La Salle named the area Louisiana in honor of King Louis XIV. However, during the late 1600s to early 1700s, only a handful of missionaries, soldiers, and fur traders visited Iowa.
In 1762, France gave control of the portion of Louisiana west of the Mississippi to Spain. A French-Canadian, Julien Dubuque, received permission from the Fox Indians to mine lead in 1788, near the site of today’s Dubuque. Dubuque was Iowa’s first European settler. He stayed there until his death in 1810. After Dubuque settled in Iowa, a small number of hunters and trappers also settled there.
In 1800, Spain returned control of the western Louisiana to France. Then in 1803, France sold this vast territory to the United States with the Louisiana Purchase. From 1804-06, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the legendary Lewis and Clark Expedition through the area.
In 1812, Iowa became part of the Territory of Missouri, when Louisiana became a state. During the early 1800s, fur companies set up trading posts on the Des Moines, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers. Officially Indian land, Iowa was closed to settlers. When Missouri became a state in 1821, Iowa became part of an unorganized territory.
The U.S. government forced many Sauk and Fox Indians living in Illinois to move to Iowa. In 1834, the region was made part of the Territory of Michigan. Then in 1836, the Territory of Wisconsin was created. On June 12, 1838, the land west of the Mississippi was separated from the Wisconsin Territory and organized as the Territory of Iowa. This land included all of Iowa, most of Minnesota, and two thirds of North and South Dakota.
FDR – The Stamp-Collecting President
President Franklin Roosevelt was instrumental in the design and issuance of U.S. #838. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother introduced the future President to stamp collecting at a young age. Throughout his life, he turned to his collection to relax and unwind.
Roosevelt was elected President four times, serving in the nation’s highest office longer than any other chief executive – 12 years. During those 12 years, Roosevelt promoted the importance of stamps by personally approving each of more than 200 stamp designs. This included suggesting topics, rejecting others, and even designing some of the stamps himself. He used U.S. postage stamps to educate Americans about their heritage, to buoy war-weary spirits during World War II, and to send a message of peace and hope as Europe faced the overwhelming task of rebuilding.