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The Algonquin word for Wisconsin and its original meaning have both grown obscure.

After the ice age ended around 8000 BCE, people in the subsequent Archaic period lived by hunting, fishing, and gathering food from wild plants.

Agricultural societies emerged gradually over the Woodland period between 1000 BCE to 1000 CE.

The state capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee, which is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Wisconsin's geography is diverse, having been greatly impacted by glaciers during the Ice Age with the exception of the Driftless Area.

The Northern Highland and Western Upland along with a part of the Central Plain occupies the western part of the state, with lowlands stretching to the shore of Lake Michigan.

Manufacturing, especially paper products, information technology (IT), cranberries, and tourism are also major contributors to the state's economy.

Subsequent French writers changed the spelling from Meskousing to Ouisconsin, and over time this became the name for both the Wisconsin River and the surrounding lands.

The first European to visit what became Wisconsin was probably the French explorer Jean Nicolet.

He canoed west from Georgian Bay through the Great Lakes in 1634, and it is traditionally assumed that he came ashore near Green Bay at Red Banks.

The British gradually took over Wisconsin during the French and Indian War, taking control of Green Bay in 1761 and gaining control of all of Wisconsin in 1763.

Like the French, the British were interested in little but the fur trade.

One leading theory holds that the name originated from the Miami word Meskonsing, meaning "it lies red", a reference to the setting of the Wisconsin River as it flows through the reddish sandstone of the Wisconsin Dells.