Passed by 456 votes – Iowa Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin

Today, the Iowa Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin remembers the new state of Iowa, 169 years ago.

In the Iowa Official Register of 1909-10, they included a brief history of what is now the state of Iowa.


Prior to the year 1762 the territory now included In the State of Iowa was claimed by Spain, England and France. Through preliminary treaty In 1762, carried into effect in 1763, France was conceded ownership of that part of the disputed territory lying west of the Mississippi River, but while negotiations were pending France secretly ceded these possessions to Spain.

In 1769 Spain took formal possession and retained control until 1800, and then under treaty agreement re-ceded the territory to France.

The original claim of France to this Territory was based on discoveries by Jaques Marquette and Louis Joliet, who In the course of their wanderings floated down the Wisconsin river to its mouth and then down the Mississippi.

They are said to have been the first white men to set foot on what was afterwards Iowa soil.

On their way down the Mississippi they discovered foot prints and a pathway on the west bank of the Mississippi near the mouth of the Des Moines river, and going ashore soon found an Indian village where they stopped for a friendly visit. This was in the summer of 1673.

It was following their discoveries that the King of France named the vast extent of country to which claim was made, the Province of Louisiana.

In 1803 the United States paid to France the sum of $15,000,000 for all its rights and title to the territory in question, which transaction has since been known as the “Louisiana Purchase.”

The territory acquired now constitutes all of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska and parts of Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

However, the United States in 1819 by treaty recognized that the northern line of Mexico extended north so as to include within its limits that part of Texas and New Mexico and a portion of the grant In Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming which had been Included within the Louisiana Purchase.

It embraced an area of about 875,025 square miles or 560,016,000 acres. Undoubtedly the boundary lines of the territory acquired by the purchase were but vaguely understood and not clearly defined at the time of the transfer.

On the acquirement of this territory in 1803 the congress of the United States provided for its government. In 1804 congress passed an act dividing the territory along the thirty-third parallel, naming the southern part the territory of Orleans and the northern part the district of Louisiana.

In 1805 the district of Louisiana was organized as the territory of Louisiana and in 1812 the territory of Louisiana was re-organized and its name changed to the territory of Missouri.

In 1819 the territory of Arkansas was organized taking in the present area of the state and some additional on the west.

In 1821 the State of Missouri was organized and admitted as a State in its present form.

The remaining portion of what had been the territory of Missouri was left for a time without any organized form of government.

In 1834 the unorganized part of Missouri territory was attached to and made a part of the territory of Michigan.

In 1836 the territory of Wisconsin was organized, including what now constitutes the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

On July 4, 1838, the territory of Iowa was organized embracing that part of Wisconsin territory lying west of the Mississippi river and north of the state of Missouri.

In 1840 and 1842 elections were held in Iowa territory to vote on the question of holding a constitutional convention but in each case the proposition was defeated.

In 1844 the question was again submitted and carried. Following this delegates were elected and a convention held at Iowa City, which convened October 7, 1844, and agreed upon a constitution and boundary lines for a new state.

These lines included a large part of the present state of Minnesota but excluded a tract embracing all of the present counties of Lyon, Osceola and Sioux and parts of Dickinson, O’Brien, Plymouth and Wood- bury.

The proposed constitution, with outlines of territory for the proposed state, was submitted to congress for approval, but that body saw fit to change the proposed boundary lines, and when it was submitted to the people at an election in April, 1845, it was voted down.

In August of the same year the question of adopting the constitution as it came from the convention was voted on and defeated.

Another constitutional convention convened at Iowa City on May 4, 1846, and agreed to a constitution with provisions for State boundaries identical with those of the state at this time, and also in harmony with a statehood bill then pending in congress.

This constitution was adopted by the people at an election held August 3, 1846, the vote being 9,492 for and 9,036 against the constitution.

This action by the people of the proposed state was ratified by congress and on December 28, 1846, Iowa was admitted as the 29th state of the Union.

The question of amending or revising the constitution was agitated In 1854 and the Fifth General Assembly passed an act approved January 24, 1855, providing for the submission at the general election in August, 1856, of a proposition for holding a convention to revise or amend the same.

The proposition carried and at a special election held the following November delegates were selected to meet at Iowa City in January, 1867.

This convention formulated the present constitution of the state and it was adopted by the people at an election held August 3, 1857, by a vote of 40,311 for to 30,681 against the constitution.

It went Into effect by proclamation of the Governor dated September 3, 1857.

By the provisions of the new constitution the capital of the state was located at Des Moines and the State University was located at Iowa City.


The Iowa Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin shows between the territory seal on the left and the first state seal on the right.

Iowa Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin