Nicknamed the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", there are 11,842 lakes within its borders, as well as 6,564 natural rivers and countless streams. Minnesota's name was derived from the Dakota Indians' word for "sky-tinted water."
Prior to the arrival of the French fur traders in the 17th century, the Anishinaabe, Dakota and other Native Americans inhabited Minnesota.
Following the end of the American Revolutionary War, the portion of the state east of the Mississippi River was acquired by the United States from England . The land west of the Mississippi was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803.
In 1825, Fort Snelling, the first major U.S. military establishment in the state, was built at the convergence of the Minnesota and Mississippi River. In addition to serving as a military post, it became a center for industry.
Fort Snelling's most famous (or infamous) role was the housing of slaves Dred Scott and his wife.
Squatters who were using timber and allowing their animals to graze near the fort populated the area near the fort. They were moved downstream on the Mississippi River, establishing present day St. Paul.
A large number of immigrants arrived in Minnesota in the 1830's to work in the farming and lumber industries. Most of them were from the eastern U.S., Canada and northern Europe. By 1900, nearly half of all Minnesotans were of German ancestry.
Minnesota, a U.S. State
On May 11, 1858 Minnesota became the 32nd state with St. Paul as its capital.
As time passed, the Native Americans were forced off their lands and onto smaller reservations. Finally, in 1862, the Dakota War broke out, with the result being the execution of 38 Dakotas and the deaths of nearly 800 white settlers. The Dakota were expelled from Minnesota to the neighboring states of South Dakota and Nebraska. In the late 1800's, industrial development grew at a rapid pace. Iron ore was discovered in the Vermilion and Mesabi Ranges, railroads expanded, wheat farms were started in southern Minnesota and Minneapolis grew to be one of the world's leading flour centers. Duluth became a major port city and in Rochester, the Mayo Clinic was founded.
Minnesota Commerce and Population
The Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) became the center of commerce in the 1900's. The Minneapolis Grain Exchange and the founding of a Federal Reserve Bank along with the other industries helped spur the growth of the area.
By the 1980's, Minnesota became home to many Southeast Asian refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos due to the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Today, St. Paul is home to one of the largest contingents of urban Hmong in the United States.
Minnesota is rich in natural resources. More than 75% of the nation's iron ore is from the northern area in the Mesabi, Cuyuna and Vermilion ranges. Farming is also a key contributer to the state's economy yielding high volumes of corn, wheat, rye, alfalfa, sugar beets and other farm products.
Minneapolis is considered to be the trade center of the Midwest and St. Paul is the home of the largest publishers of calendars and law books. Of the top 1,000 U.S. publicly traded companies, 33 are headquartered in Minnesota, including Target, 3M, General Mills, Hormel, Land O'Lakes, Best Buy, Cargill, Carlson Companies along with many more.
Tourism, a major revenue producer, attracts millions of visitors each year. Minnesota's climate features four distinct seasons, each offering unique opportunities for fun and exploration.
With the diversity of things to see and do, including cultural venues, fishing, hunting, water sports and winter sports, Minnesota is a favorite travel destination.