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Minnesota Description

Minnesota is the northernmost continental U.S. State, and the only state lying north of the 49th Parallel of the contiguous 48 U.S. states.

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."

Minnesota History

Prior to the arrival of the French fur traders in the 17th century, the Anishinaabe, Dakota and other Native Americans inhabited Minnesota.

fur tradersFollowing 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.

fort snellingA 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

hmongThe 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.

3mMinneapolis 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.

Minnesota Travel

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.

Minnesota Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Aitkin Aitkin 218
Minneapolis Anoka 763
Detroit Lakes Becker 218
Bemidji Beltrami 218
Sauk Rapids Benton 320
Ortonville Big Stone 320
Mankato Blue Earth 507
New Ulm Brown 507
Cloquet Carlton 218
Chaska Carver 952
Cass Lake Cass 218
Montevideo Chippewa 320
North Branch Chisago 651
Moorhead Clay 218
Bagley Clearwater 218
Grand Marais Cook 218
Windom Cottonwood 507
Brainerd Crow Wing 218
Saint Paul Dakota 651
Kasson Dodge 507
Alexandria Douglas 320
Blue Earth Faribault 507
Chatfield Fillmore 507
Albert Lea Freeborn 507
Red Wing Goodhue 651
Elbow Lake Grant 218
Minneapolis Hennepin 612
La Crescent Houston 507
Park Rapids Hubbard 218
Cambridge Isanti 763
Grand Rapids Itasca 218
Jackson Jackson 507
Mora Kanabec 320
Willmar Kandiyohi 320
Hallock Kittson 218
International Falls Koochiching 218
Madison Lac Qui Parle 320
Two Harbors Lake 218
Baudette Lake of the Woods 218
Le Sueur Le Sueur 507
Tyler Lincoln 507
Marshall Lyon 507
Mahnomen Mahnomen 218
Warren Marshall 218
Fairmont Martin 507
Hutchinson McLeod 320
Litchfield Meeker 320
Princeton Mille Lacs 763
Little Falls Morrison 320
Austin Mower 507
Slayton Murray 507
Mankato Nicollet 507
Worthington Nobles 507
Ada Norman 218
Rochester Olmsted 507
Fergus Falls Otter Tail 218
Thief River Falls Pennington 218
Pine City Pine 320
Pipestone Pipestone 507
East Grand Forks Polk 218
Glenwood Pope 320
Saint Paul Ramsey 651
Red Lake Falls Red Lake 218
Redwood Falls Redwood 507
Olivia Renville 320
Faribault Rice 507
Luverne Rock 507
Roseau Roseau 218
Duluth Saint Louis 218
Shakopee Scott 952
Elk River Sherburne 763
Arlington Sibley 507
Saint Cloud Stearns 320
Owatonna Steele 507
Morris Stevens 320
Benson Swift 320
Long Prairie Todd 320
Wheaton Traverse 320
Lake City Wabasha 651
Wadena Wadena 218
Waseca Waseca 507
Saint Paul Washington 651
Saint James Watonwan 507
Breckenridge Wilkin 218
Winona Winona 507
Buffalo Wright 763
Granite Falls Yellow Medicine 320

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.