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Minnesota,river, 332 mi (534 km) long, rising in Big Stone Lake at the W boundary of Minnesota and flowing SE to Mankato, then NE to the Mississippi S of Minneapolis. Earlier called the St. Peter or St. Pierre, it was an important route of explorers and fur traders. The river follows the valley of the prehistoric River Warren, the outlet of Lake Agassiz.
See E. Jones, The Minnesota: Forgotten River (1962).
See also: National Parks and Monuments (table)National Parks and Monuments
Name Type1 Location Year authorized Size
Acadia NP SE Maine 1919 48,419 (19,603) Mountain and coast scenery.
..... Click the link for more information.
Minnesota(mĭn'ĭsō`tə), upper midwestern state of the United States. It is bordered by Lake Superior and Wisconsin (E), Iowa (S), South Dakota and North Dakota (W), and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario (N).
Facts and Figures
Area, 84,068 sq mi (217,736 sq km). Pop. (2010) 5,303,925, a 7.8% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, St. Paul. Largest city, Minneapolis. Statehood, May 11, 1858 (32d state). Highest pt., Eagle Mt., 2,310 ft (702 m); lowest pt., Lake Superior, 602 ft (184 m). Nickname, North Star State. Motto, L'Etoile du Nord [The Star of the North]. State bird, common loon. State flower, showy lady's slipper or pink and white lady's slipper. State tree, red pine. Abbr., Minn.; MN
Except for Alaska, Minnesota is the most northerly of all the states (reaching lat. 49°23'55"N). The climate is humid continental. Winter locks the land in snow, spring is brief, and summers are hot. Prehistoric glaciers left marshes, boulder-strewn hills, and rich, gray drift soil stretching from the northern pine wilderness to the broad southern prairies. In the eastern part of the state are mountains, part of the Canadian ShieldCanadian Shield
or Laurentian Plateau
, U-shaped region of ancient rock, the nucleus of North America, stretching N from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean. Covering more than half of Canada, it also includes most of Greenland and extends into the United States as the
..... Click the link for more information. , from which iron ore is decreasingly extracted. The Vermilion and Cuyuna ranges (discovered in 1884 and 1911) are virtually depleted, and the once rich MesabiMesabi
, range of low hills, NE Minn., once famous for its extensive iron ore deposits. The ores were found in a belt c.110 mi (180 km) long and from 1 to 3 mi (1.6–4.
..... Click the link for more information. range (1890) has also declined. South of the iron country, famous for its old-time boomtowns, lie rolling hills. In the south and the west are prairies, fertile farming country.
The state has more than 11,000 lakes and numerous streams and rivers. The rivers feed three great river systems: The Red River of the north and its tributaries in the west run north through Manitoba's lakes to Hudson Bay; streams in the east run into Lake Superior, and eventually into the St. Lawrence; and the Mississippi flows south from Minnesota headwaters above Lake Itasca, gathering volume from the waters of the St. Croix and Minnesota rivers before leaving the state.
The beauty of Minnesota's lakes and dense green forests, as seen in Voyageurs National Park, has long attracted vacationers, and there is excellent fishing in the state's many rivers, lakes, and streams. Also of interest to tourists are the Grand Portage and Pipestone national monuments (see National Parks and MonumentsNational Parks and Monuments
Name Type1 Location Year authorized Size
Acadia NP SE Maine 1919 48,419 (19,603) Mountain and coast scenery.
..... Click the link for more information. , table), Itasca State Park (at the headwaters of the Mississippi), and the world's largest open-pit iron mine at HibbingHibbing,
city (1990 pop. 18,046), St. Louis co., NE Minn., on the Mesabi iron range 90 mi (145 km) from the Canadian border; inc. 1893. Iron mining, formerly the major industry, has declined.
..... Click the link for more information. .
Saint PaulSaint Paul,
city (1990 pop. 272,235), state capital and seat of Ramsey co., E Minn., on bluffs along the Mississippi River, contiguous with Minneapolis, forming the Twin Cities metropolitan area; inc. 1854.
..... Click the link for more information. , the capital, and its larger twin, MinneapolisMinneapolis
, city (1990 pop. 368,383), seat of Hennepin co., E Minn., at the head of navigation on the Mississippi River, at St. Anthony Falls; inc. 1856. The largest city in the state and a port of entry, it is a major industrial and rail hub. With adjacent St.
..... Click the link for more information. , are the two largest cities. BloomingtonBloomington.
1 City (1990 pop. 51,972), seat of McLean co., central Ill.; inc. 1839. The economy is based on farming; electrical equipment is also manufactured. In 1856 the state Republican party was organized in Bloomington, at which time Lincoln delivered his famous
..... Click the link for more information. , DuluthDuluth
, city (1990 pop. 85,493), seat of St. Louis co., NE Minn., at the west end of Lake Superior, at the head of lake navigation and opposite Superior, Wis.; inc. 1870.
..... Click the link for more information. , and RochesterRochester
. 1 City (1990 pop. 70,745), seat of Olmsted co., SE Minn.; inc. 1858. It is a farm trade center, and its industries include printing and publishing, food processing, machinery, fabricated metal products, computers and electronic equipment, and construction
..... Click the link for more information. are other major cities.
Minnesota is one of the nation's largest producers of iron ore. Methods developed to use lower-grade ores such as taconite have kept production up in spite of the depletion of once rich high-grade deposits. Granite (from St. Cloud) and sand and gravel production are also among the largest in the country. Wheat, once paramount in agriculture, has been surpassed by corn, soybeans, and livestock. The state is also a leader in the production of creamery butter, dry milk, cheese, and sweet corn.
By the 1950s manufacturing rivaled agriculture as the major source of income in Minnesota. Major industries in the state produce processed foods, electronic equipment, machinery, paper products, chemicals, and stone, clay, and glass products. Minnesota pioneered the development of computers and other high-technology manufacturing. Printing and publishing are also important.
Reforestation and the use of relatively small trees for pulpwood have helped to keep timber one of Minnesota's assets, even though the "big woods" of the early 19th cent. have been to a large extent felled. The state is roughly 30% forestland and has two national forests. The high days of logging in Minnesota, immortalized in the legend of Paul BunyanBunyan, Paul,
legendary American lumberjack. He was the hero of a series of "tall tales" popular through the timber country from Michigan westward. Bunyan was known for his fantastic strength and gigantic size.
..... Click the link for more information. , were brief, but they helped build a number of large fortunes, such as that of Frederick Weyerhaeuser.
Also of great importance to Minnesota are its waterways, which have been extensively developed near industrial centers. Locks and other improvements enable Mississippi River barge traffic to pass around the Falls of St. Anthony at Minneapolis. Duluth, at the western tip of Lake Superior, has one of the busiest inland harbors in the United States; the completion of the Saint Lawrence SeawaySaint Lawrence Seaway,
international waterway, 2,342 mi (3,769 km) long, consisting of a system of canals, dams, and locks in the St. Lawrence River and connecting channels between the Great Lakes; opened 1959.
..... Click the link for more information. (1959) made the city an important port for overseas trade.
Government and Higher Education
Minnesota is governed under its 1858 constitution. The legislature has 67 senators and 134 representatives. The governor is elected for a four-year term and may be reelected. Arne Carlson, an Independent Republican, was elected governor in 1990 and reelected in 1994; Jesse Ventura of the Reform party, a former professional wrestler, surprisingly won the 1998 gubernatorial race. In 2002, Republican Tim Pawlenty was elected to the office; he was reelected in 2006. Mark Drayton, a Democrat, was elected governor in 2010 and 2014, and Tim Walz, also a Democrat, was elected in 2018. Minnesota sends two senators and eight representatives to Congress; it has 10 electoral votes.
Among institutions of higher learning in the state are the Univ. of Minnesota and the colleges and universities of Minnesota State, both with campuses throughout the state; Carleton College and Saint Olaf College, both in Northfield; and the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, affiliated with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Ancient Inhabitants and European Exploration
Archaeological evidence indicates that Minnesota was inhabited long before the time of the Mound BuildersMound Builders,
in North American archaeology, name given to those people who built mounds in a large area from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Mississippi River to the Appalachian Mts.
..... Click the link for more information. . A skeleton ("Minnesota Man"), found in 1931 near Pelican Falls, is believed to date from the late Pleistocene epoch, c.20,000 years ago. Many important archaeological finds relating to the early inhabitants of North America have been made in Minnesota.
There are some experts who argue on the basis of the Kensington RunestoneKensington Rune Stone,
much-disputed stone found (1898) on a farm near Kensington, Minn., SW of Alexandria. Inscribed on the stone in runes is an account of a party of Norse explorers, 14 days' journey from the sea, who camped nearby in 1362 and lost 10 of their men, presumably
..... Click the link for more information. and other evidence that the first Europeans to reach Minnesota were the Vikings, but French fur traders came in the mid-17th cent. is undeniably so. Other traders, explorers, and missionaries of New France also penetrated the country. Among these were Radisson and Groseilliers, Verendrye, the sieur Duluth, and Father Hennepin and Michel Aco, who discovered the Falls of St. Anthony (the site of Minneapolis).
At the time the French arrived, the dominant groups of Native Americans were the Ojibwa in the east and the Sioux in the west. Both were friendly to the French and contributed to the fur-trading empire of New France. Minnesota remained excellent country for fur trade throughout the British regime that followed the French and Indian WarsFrench and Indian Wars,
1689–1763, the name given by American historians to the North American colonial wars between Great Britain and France in the late 17th and the 18th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. and continued so after the War of 1812, when the American Fur CompanyAmerican Fur Company,
chartered by John Jacob Astor (1763–1848) in 1808 to compete with the great fur-trading companies in Canada—the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company. Astor's most ambitious venture, establishment of a post at Astoria, Oreg.
..... Click the link for more information. became dominant and the company's men helped to develop the area.
U.S. Absorption and Settlement
The eastern part of Minnesota had been included in the Northwest TerritoryNorthwest Territory,
first possession of the United States, comprising the region known as the Old Northwest, S and W of the Great Lakes, NW of the Ohio River, and E of the Mississippi River, including the present states of Ohio, Ind., Ill., Mich., Wis., and part of Minn.
..... Click the link for more information. and was governed under the Ordinance of 1787; the western part was joined to the United States by the Louisiana PurchaseLouisiana Purchase,
1803, American acquisition from France of the formerly Spanish region of Louisiana. Reasons for the Purchase
The revelation in 1801 of the secret agreement of 1800, whereby Spain retroceded Louisiana to France, aroused uneasiness in the United
..... Click the link for more information. . Further exploration was pursued by Jonathan Carver (1766–67), Zebulon M. Pike (1805–6), Henry Schoolcraft (1820, 1829), and Stephen H. Long (1823).
Only after the War of 1812, however, did settlement begin in earnest. In 1820 Fort St. Anthony (later Fort Snelling) was founded as a guardian of the frontier. A gristmill established there in 1823 initiated the industrial development of Minneapolis. Treaties (1837, 1845, 1851, and 1855) with the Ojibwa and the Sioux, by which the U.S. government took over Native American lands, and the opening of a land office at St. Croix Falls in 1848 initiated a period of substantial expansion.
Territorial Status and Statehood
In 1849 Minnesota became a territory. The Missouri and White Earth rivers were the western boundary. A land boom grew as towns were platted, railroads chartered, and roads built. Attention turned to education, and the Univ. of Minnesota was established in 1851. The school, with its many associated campuses, has subsequently exerted and continues to exert a great influence on the cultural life of the state. The building (1851–53) of the Soo Ship Canal at Sault Ste. Marie opened a water route for lake shipping eastward.
The Panic of 1857 hit Minnesota particularly hard because of land speculation, but difficult times did not prevent the achievement of statehood in 1858, with St. Paul as the capital and Henry Hastings SibleySibley, Henry Hastings,
1811–91, first governor of Minnesota, b. Detroit. After two years of law study, he was (1830–34) a clerk for the American Fur Company. He later became (1834) a partner and engaged in trading in the Wisconsin and Dakota territories.
..... Click the link for more information. as the state's first governor. The population had swelled from 6,000 in 1850 to more than 150,000 in 1857; by 1870 there were nearly 440,000 people. Chiefly a land of small farmers (mainly of British, German, and Irish extraction), Minnesota supported the Union in the Civil War and supplied large quantities of wheat to the Northern armies.
Native American Resistance and New Settlement
During the Civil War and afterward the Sioux reacted to broken promises, fraudulent dealings, and the encroachment of settlers on their lands with violent resistance. A Sioux force under Little Crow was defeated by H. H. Sibley, virtually ending Native American resistance. Meanwhile, settlement boomed, aided by the Homestead ActHomestead Act,
1862, passed by the U.S. Congress. It provided for the transfer of 160 acres (65 hectares) of unoccupied public land to each homesteader on payment of a nominal fee after five years of residence; land could also be acquired after six months of residence at $1.
..... Click the link for more information. of 1862. Later in the century came immigrants from Scandinavia—Swedes, Norwegians, and Finns. Lumbering, which had begun in 1839 at a sawmill on the St. Croix, became paramount, and logging camps were established. Fortunes were made quickly in the 1870s and 80s, as the railroads pushed west. A boom in wheat made the Minnesota flour mills famous across the world and brought wealth to flour producers such as John S. Pillsbury.
Discontent and Reform Politics
In the late 19th cent. farmers suffered from such natural disasters as the blizzard of 1873 and insect plagues from 1874 to 1876. To these were added the miseries that accompanied the downward trend of the national economy, and Minnesota became a center of farmers' discontent, expressed in the Granger movementGranger movement,
American agrarian movement taking its name from the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, an organization founded in 1867 by Oliver H. Kelley and six associates. Its local units were called granges and its members grangers.
..... Click the link for more information. . The opening of the iron mines gave new impetus to Minnesota's economy but conditions in these mines also created discontent among the laborers. They joined forces with the farmers in the 1890s in the Populist partyPopulist party,
in U.S. history, political party formed primarily to express the agrarian protest of the late 19th cent. In some states the party was known as the People's party.
..... Click the link for more information. , one of several third-party movements that challenged the Republican party's traditional leadership in Minnesota. Ignatius DonnellyDonnelly, Ignatius
, 1831–1901, American author and agrarian reformer, b. Philadelphia. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and in 1856 moved to Minnesota. There he gained political prominence, was lieutenant governor (1859–63), Congressman (1863–69), and
..... Click the link for more information. was one of the Populists' most powerful figures.
Renewed agrarian discontent led to the founding of the Nonpartisan LeagueNonpartisan League,
in U.S. history, political pressure group of farmers and workers organized in 1915 and led by a former socialist, Arthur C. Townley, who believed that the solution to the farmers' troubles lay in united political action.
..... Click the link for more information. in 1915. Farmers and laborers joined forces again in 1920 in the Farmer-Labor partyFarmer-Labor party,
in U.S. history, political organization composed of agrarian and organized labor interests. Formed in 1919 as the National Labor party, it changed its name at its 1920 presidential nominating convention in order to appeal to farmers.
..... Click the link for more information. , which was dominant in the 1930s. The Republicans returned to power in 1939 with the election of Harold Stassen as governor. In 1944 the Farmer-Labor party and the Democrats merged. Probably the most successful leader of the new party, the Democratic Farmer Labor party (DFL), was Hubert H. HumphreyHumphrey, Hubert Horatio,
1911–78, U.S. Vice President (1965–69), b. Wallace, S.Dak. After practicing pharmacy for several years, Humphrey taught political science and became involved in state politics.
..... Click the link for more information. , who was elected to the U.S. Senate four times and was vice president from 1965 to 1969. Orville FreemanFreeman, Orville Lothrop,
1918–2003, American political figure, b. Minneapolis. In World War II he served in the U.S. marine corps, was severely wounded, and was discharged with the rank of major in 1945.
..... Click the link for more information. , DFL governor from 1955 to 1961, was secretary of agriculture from 1961 to 1969.
Walter F. MondaleMondale, Walter Frederick
(Fritz Mondale), 1928–, Vice President of the United States (1977–81), b. Ceylon, Minn., LL.B., Univ. of Minn., 1956. A liberal Democrat, he was active in the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party and served as state attorney general (1960–64).
..... Click the link for more information. , a Humphrey protégé, was a U.S. senator from 1964 to 1977. He was elected vice president as Jimmy Carter's running mate in 1976 and ran for president in 1984, losing to incumbent Ronald Reagan. Since the 1950s the DFL and the Republicans have vied sharply in contests for state offices. In the 1970s the Republican party changed its name to the Independent Republican party. With the exception of 1952, 1956, and 1972, Minnesota has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1932.
Cooperatives and Population Shifts
The state has been notable for experimentation in novel features of local government and has also been a leader in the use of cooperatives. This phenomenon is perhaps explained by the cooperative heritage present among its many people of Scandinavian descent. In 1919 credit unions, cooperative creameries, grain elevators, and purchasing associations were supported by legislation that protected the institutions and instructed the state department of agriculture to encourage them. Today there are several thousand cooperative associations in Minnesota serving diversified needs.
Since the mid-19th cent. the state has become progressively more urban. In 1970 the urban population was two thirds of the total. Since 1970 dramatic suburban growth has taken place, especially in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area. Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport has become an important hub for the region. Nearby is the massive Mall of America (1992), the nation's largest shopping center.
Notable Institutions and Natives
Many people come to Minnesota for treatment at the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and surgeons at the Univ. of Minnesota have won recognition for their development of new heart-surgery techniques. The Minnesota Orchestra is nationally known, and the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis houses an excellent regional repertory company. Minnesota has contributed important literary figures to the nation, including Sinclair LewisLewis, Sinclair,
1885–1951, American novelist, b. Sauk Centre, Minn., grad. Yale Univ., 1908. Probably the greatest satirist of his era, Lewis wrote novels that present a devastating picture of middle-class American life in the 1920s.
..... Click the link for more information. , F. Scott FitzgeraldFitzgerald, F. Scott
(Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald), 1896–1940, American novelist and short-story writer, b. St. Paul, Minn. He is ranked among the great American writers of the 20th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , and O. E. RølvaagRølvaag, Ole Edvart
, 1876–1931, Norwegian-American novelist, b. Helgeland, Norway, grad. St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., 1905. He emigrated to the United States in 1896 and was head of the department of Norwegian at St. Olaf from 1906 to 1931.
..... Click the link for more information. . Economist Thorstein VeblenVeblen, Thorstein
, 1857–1929, American economist and social critic, b. Cato Township, Wis. Of Norwegian parentage, he spent his first 17 years in Norwegian-American farm communities. After studying at Carleton College and at Johns Hopkins, Yale (where he received a Ph.D.
..... Click the link for more information. and aviation pioneer Charles A. LindberghLindbergh, Charles Augustus,
1902–74, American aviator who made the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight, b. Detroit; son of Charles A. Lindbergh (1859–1924). He left the Univ. of Wisconsin (1922) to study flying.
..... Click the link for more information. were also born in the state.
See J. Borchert and D. P. Yeager, ed., Atlas of Minnesota (1969); C. C. Chrislock, The Progressive Era in Minnesota, 1899–1918 (1971); T. C. Blegen, Minnesota: A History of the State (2d ed. 1975); D. J. Tweton, Depression: Minnesota in the Thirties (1981); J. D. Holmquist, They Chose Minnesota (1988).
Minnesota State Information
Area (sq mi):: 86938.87 (land 79610.08; water 7328.79) Population per square mile: 64.50
Population 2005: 5,132,799 State rank: 0 Population change: 2000-20005 4.30%; 1990-2000 12.40% Population 2000: 4,919,479 (White 88.20%; Black or African American 3.50%; Hispanic or Latino 2.90%; Asian 2.90%; Other 4.10%). Foreign born: 5.30%. Median age: 35.40
Income 2000: per capita $23,198; median household $47,111; Population below poverty level: 7.90% Personal per capita income (2000-2003): $32,017-$34,031
Unemployment (2004): 4.60% Unemployment change (from 2000): 1.50% Median travel time to work: 21.90 minutes Working outside county of residence: 33.70%
List of Minnesota counties:
- US National Parks
- Urban Parks
- State Parks
- Parks and Conservation-Related Organizations - US
- National Wildlife Refuges
- National Scenic Byways
- National Forests
a state in the northern USA, west of the Great Lakes. Area, 218,000 sq km. Population, 3,805,000 (1970), of whom 66.4 percent are urban dwellers. Capital, St. Paul.
Much of the state consists of rolling plains, although in the northeast there are hills up to 701 m high. The state has a temperate continental climate, with the mean January temperature ranging from −10.6°C in the southeast to −15.3°C in the northwest and the mean July temperature ranging from 22.5°C to 17°C, respectively. Precipitation reaches 700 mm a year. The largest river is the Mississippi, and there are about 10,000 lakes. Coniferous forests have survived in the northeast, but the south-west, part of the USA’s corn and wheat belt, has been largely plowed up. The main branch of the economy is industry, whose development has been promoted by the proximity of the Great Lakes. The iron ore mined in the Mesabi, Vermilion, and Cuyuna ranges accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation’s output. The capacity of electric power plants, mostly thermal, was 2.5 million gigawatts in 1973. In 1971 more than 209,000 persons were employed in manufacturing. The principal industries are flour milling, butter and cheese production, and leather-making, concentrated in St. Paul and Minneapolis, which are situated at the intersection of the dairy, corn, and wheat regions. Other well-developed industries are machine building, armaments (St. Paul, Minneapolis), ferrous metallurgy, and shipbuilding (Duluth-Superior industrial complex).
Agriculture is important to the economy. In 1971 there were 119,000 farms, as compared with 203,000 in 1935, occupying 63 percent of the state’s area. Animal husbandry, chiefly dairy farming in central and southeastern Minnesota, yields about 70 percent of the agricultural output. In 1971 there were 4 million head of cattle (including about 1 million cows), 500,000 sheep, 3.5 million hogs, 14 million chickens, and 500,000 turkeys. The main crops are wheat, corn, rye, sugar beets, soybeans, and flax. The major port is Duluth-Superior. Minnesota is the country’s leading producer of butter, dry milk, oats, and turkeys and the second leading producer of cheese.
Thirty-second state; admitted on May 11, 1858
State capital: St. Paul Nicknames: North Star State; Gopher State; Bread and Butter State; The Land of 10,000 Lakes State motto: L’Etoile du Nord (French “The North Star”) State bird: Common loon (Gavia immer) State butterfly: Monarch (Danaus plexippus) State drink: Milk State fish: Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) State flower: Pink and white lady’s slipper (Cypripedium reginae) State fruit: Honeycrisp apple (Malus pumila cultivar Honeycrisp) State gem: Lake Superior agate State grain: Wild rice or manomin (Zizania aquatica or Zizania palustris) State muffin: Blueberry muffin State mushroom: Morel or sponge mushroom (Morchella esculenta) State photograph: “Grace” State song: “Hail! Minnesota” State tree: Norway (red) pine (Pinus resinosa)
More about state symbols at:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 357 AnnivHol-2000, p. 80
State web site: www.state.mn.us
Office of the Governor 130 State Capitol 75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Saint Paul, MN 55155 651-296-3391 fax: 651-296-2089 www.governor.state.mn.us
Secretary of State
60 Empire Dr
Saint Paul, MN 55103