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  • Pull shapes

       July 28, 2010

    So, I'm currently obsessed with Sporcle geography quizzes. Perhaps this obsession is what made me interested in How the States Got Their Shapes on History International last night. In any case, lucky me, because the show was a fascinating look behind the forces that made the states look the way they do today. For example:

    • Idaho and Colorado owe much of their shape due to the fact that the states around them gave up their land because they didn't want to be bothered with wild & rowdy gold prospectors
    • Missouri's boot exists because one guy held that land and decided that he wanted to be in Missouri rather than Arkansas.
    • Once the Erie Canal was opened, borders changed all over the place with states wanting "their" share of land on the Great Lakes

    So that's why Chicago isn't in Wisconsin, huh? Those damn FIBs needed a coast. In light of the ongoing fight to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes it's interesting that a single state with just a sliver of the lake can affect the entire region. Would things be different if all of that land was in Wisconsin? It's hard to imagine Chicago politics and the Progressive movement existing in the same state, so which would have held sway? Would we still have the Wisconsin Idea or would we be like more Illinois? And speaking of Illinois, what would it be like without Chicago? Would it basically just be the South? Would people still drive like crap?

    These are the questions that keep me up at night (not really, but it's better than thinking about bats).


    Posted by kris at July 28, 2010 10:43 AM

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