State of Minnesota
Flag of Minnesota [[File:|85px|State seal of Minnesota]]
Flag Seal
North Star State;
Land of 10,000 Lakes; The Gopher State
Motto(s): L’Étoile du Nord (French: The Star of the North)
CapitalSaint Paul
Largest cityMinneapolis
Largest metroMinneapolis-Saint Paul
AreaRanked 12th
 • Total86,943 sq mi
(225,181 km2)
 • Widthc. 200–350 miles (c. 320–560 km)
 • Lengthc. 400 miles (c. 640 km)
 • % water8.4
 • Latitude43° 30′ N to 49° 23′ N
 • Longitude89° 29′ W to 97° 14′ W
PopulationRanked 21st
 • Total5,266,214 (2009 est.)[1]
4,919,479 (2000)
 • Density65.3/sq mi  (25.21/km2)
Ranked 31st
 • Median household income$55,802 (10th[2])
 • Highest pointEagle Mountain[3]
2,301 ft (701 m)
 • Mean1,198 ft  (365 m)
 • Lowest pointLake Superior[3]
601 ft (183 m)
Before statehoodMinnesota Territory
Admission to UnionMay 11, 1858 (32nd)
GovernorTim Pawlenty (R)
Lieutenant GovernorCarol Molnau (R)
LegislatureMinnesota Legislature
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. SenatorsAmy Klobuchar (DFL)
Al Franken (DFL)
U.S. House delegation5 Democrats, 3 Republicans (list)
Time zoneCentral: UTC-6/-5
AbbreviationsMN, Minn.

Minnesota (Script error: No such module "IPAc-en".)[4] is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. It had a population of 5,266,214 in 2009.[5] The state has a land area of about 86,943 square miles (225,181 km2).[6] Minnesota is the 12th largest state by area and the 21st largest by population. The name of the state comes from the Dakota word for the Minnesota River, Mnisota, which means sky-tinted or cloudy-sky water.[7] It is known by the nickname "Land of 10,000 lakes". It was formed from the Minnesota Territory on May 11, 1858, becoming the 32nd U.S. state. The state's capital is St. Paul and its largest city is Minneapolis. The people who live in the state are known as Minnesotans.

Minnesota is the United States' largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and green peas.[8] It has large industries in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing.[9] Minnesota is known for its many diverse industries. The median household income in 2008 was about $57,288, the thirteenth highest in the nation.[10] The St. Paul/Minneapolis area is the economic center of the state, and where about 55% of Minnesota's population lives.[11] The state is made up of prairies in the west, used for agriculture purposes, deciduous forests in the southeast, most of which have been cleared, and used for farming purposes, and the forests in the north, a mainly uninhabited area.

Before becoming territory of the United States, the area was mainly used for fur trading,[12] however, as the fur trade industry declined, logging became the primary industry. The majority of Minnesotans are Protestants, and there is a large Lutheran affiliation in the state, although the Roman Catholic church is the largest single church.[13] Oklahoma is a very politically liberal state, having voted for the democratic candidate for President of the United States every time since 1976.[14]


Before European settlement, Minnesota was populated by the Anishinaabe, the Dakota, and other Native Americans. The first Europeans were French fur traders that arrived in the 1600s. Late that century, Ojibwe Indians migrated westward to Minnesota, causing tensions with the Sioux.[15] Explorers such as Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, Father Louis Hennepin, Jonathan Carver, Henry Schoolcraft, and Joseph Nicollet, among others, mapped out the state.

The portion of the state east of the Mississippi River became a part of the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War, when the Second Treaty of Paris was signed. Land west of the Mississippi River was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase, although a portion of the Red River Valley was disputed until the Treaty of 1818.[16] In 1805, Zebulon Pike bargained with Native Americans to acquire land at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The construction of Fort Snelling followed between 1819 and 1825.[17] Its soldiers built a grist mill and a sawmill at Saint Anthony Falls, the first of the water-powered industries around which the city of Minneapolis later grew. Meanwhile, squatters, government officials, and tourists had settled near the fort. In 1839, the Army forced them to move downriver, and they settled in the area that became St. Paul.[18] Minnesota Territory was formed on March 3, 1849. Thousands of people had come to build farms and cut timber, and Minnesota became the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858.

Treaties between European settlers and the Dakota and Ojibwe gradually forced the natives off their lands and on to smaller reservations. As conditions deteriorated for the Dakota, tensions rose, leading to the Dakota War of 1862.[19] The result of the six-week war was the execution of 38 Dakota — the largest mass execution in United States history — and the exile of most of the rest of the Dakota to the Crow Creek Reservation in Nebraska.[16] As many as 800 white settlers died during the war.[20]

Logging and farming were mainstays of Minnesota's early economy. The sawmills at Saint Anthony Falls, and logging centers like Marine on St. Croix, Stillwater, and Winona, processed high volumes of lumber. These cities were situated on rivers that were ideal for transportation.[16] Later, Saint Anthony Falls was tapped to provide power for flour mills. Innovations by Minneapolis millers led to the production of Minnesota "patent" flour, which commanded almost double the price of "bakers" or "clear" flour, which it replaced.[21] By 1900, Minnesota mills, led by Pillsbury, Northwestern and the Washburn-Crosby Company (a forerunner of General Mills), were grinding 14.1% of the nation's grain.[22]

The state's iron-mining industry was established with the discovery of iron in the Vermilion Range and the Mesabi Range in the 1880s, and in the Cuyuna Range in the early 1900s. The ore was shipped by rail to Duluth and Two Harbors, then loaded onto ships and transported eastward over the Great Lakes.[16]

Industrial development and the rise of manufacturing caused the population to shift gradually from rural areas to cities during the early 1900s. Nevertheless, farming remained prevalent. Minnesota's economy was hard-hit by the Great Depression, resulting in lower prices for farmers, layoffs among iron miners, and labor unrest. Compounding the adversity, western Minnesota and the Dakotas were hit by drought from 1931 to 1935. New Deal programs provided some economic turnaround. The Civilian Conservation Corps and other programs around the state established some jobs for Indians on their reservations, and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 provided the tribes with a mechanism of self-government. This provided natives a greater voice within the state, and promoted more respect for tribal customs because religious ceremonies and native languages were no longer suppressed.[17]

After World War II, industrial development quickened. New technology increased farm productivity through automation of feedlots for hogs and cattle, machine milking at dairy farms, and raising chickens in large buildings. Planting became more specialized with hybridization of corn and wheat, and the use of farm machinery such as tractors and combines became the norm. University of Minnesota professor Norman Borlaug contributed to these developments as part of the Green Revolution.[17] Suburban development accelerated due to increased postwar housing demand and convenient transportation. Increased mobility, in turn, enabled more specialized jobs.[17]

Minnesota became a center of technology after the war. Engineering Research Associates was formed in 1946 to develop computers for the United States Navy. It later merged with Remington Rand, and then became Sperry Rand. William Norris left Sperry in 1957 to form Control Data Corporation (CDC).[23] Cray Research was formed when Seymour Cray left CDC to form his own company. Medical device maker Medtronic also started business in the Twin Cities in 1949.

Naming History

The word Minnesota comes from the Dakota name for the Minnesota River: Mnisota. The word mni (also spelled mini or minne) means, "water". Mnisota can be translated as sky-tinted water or somewhat clouded water.[4][24] Native Americans showed the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mnisota.[24] Many locations in the state have similar names, such as Minnehaha Falls ("waterfall"), Minneiska ("white water"), Minneota ("much water"), Minnetonka ("big water"), Minnetrista ("crooked water"), and Minneapolis, which is a combination of mni and polis, the Greek word for "city".[25]


A map of Minnesota showing the many rivers and roads in the state

Minnesota is the 12th-largest state in the United States. It covers an area of 86,943 square miles (225,181 km2).[6] It is one of the five states in the Upper Midwest. It shares borders with Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The highest point in the state is Eagle Mountain, in the Arrowhead Region, which is 2,301 feet (701 m) high.[26]. The lowest point in the state is Lake Superior, in the northeast part of the state, which is 601 feet (183 m) above sea level.[26] There are four mountain ranges in Minnesota. They are the Misquah Hills, the Sawtooth Mountains, the Animikie Group, and the Leaf Hills Moraines. Of the four ranges, three are close to the shore of Lake Superior. The other one, the Leaf Hills Moraines, is located in west-central Minnesota. The nickname of Minnesota, Land of 10,000 lakes, refers to the many lakes and wetlands that populate the state. There are over 11,000 lakes, 9.3 million acres of wetlands, and more than 69,000 miles of rivers and streams.[27]

Cities and towns

Saint Paul, located in east-central Minnesota along the banks of the Mississippi River, has been Minnesota's capital city since 1849, first as capital of the Territory of Minnesota, and then as state capital since 1858.

Saint Paul is next to Minnesota's most populous city, Minneapolis; they and their suburbs are known collectively as the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the thirteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States and home to about 60% of the state's population.[28][29] The remainder of the state is known as "Greater Minnesota" or "Outstate Minnesota".

The state has eighteen cities with populations above 50,000 (based on 2005 estimates). In descending order of size they are Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Rochester, Duluth, Bloomington, Plymouth, Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Coon Rapids, Saint Cloud, Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Woodbury, Blaine, Apple Valley, Lakeville, and Minnetonka.[29] Of these only Rochester, Duluth, and Saint Cloud are outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Minnesota's population continues to grow, primarily in the urban centers. The populations of metropolitan Sherburne and Scott Counties doubled between 1980 and 2000, while 40 of the state's 87 counties lost residents over the same decades.[30]

Sports and recreation

Minnesota has professional men's teams in baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. The Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League play in the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association play at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball play in the Target Field. The Minnesota Wild play in the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul. Minnesota is also well-known for its many lakes, and water sports are very popular in the state.

State symbols

File:Common Loon head sideways.jpg
The Common Loon's distinctive cry is heard during the summer months on lakes throughout the state.[31]

Minnesota's state symbols:[32]


  1. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
  2. Median Household Income, from U.S. Census Bureau (from 2007 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Elevations and Distances in the United States". U.S Geological Survey. 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-06.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Minnesota. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Retrieved on 2008-04-26.
  5. "Population Estimates". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Minnesota North Star: just the facts". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  7. "Minnesota Place Names". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  8. "agprofile.ashx". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  9. "Minnesota, state, United States: Economy". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  10. "R1901. Median Household Income". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  11. "Minnesota history, facts, links". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  12. Harris (2004), p. 298.
  13. "U.S. Religion Map and Religious Populations". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  14. "Swing, Bellweather, and Red and Blue States: Demographics and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  15. "TimePieces". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 2006-09-19.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Template:Cite book
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Template:Cite book
  18. "Historic Fort Snelling". Minnesota Historical Society Press. Retrieved 2006-07-06.
  19. Kunnen-Jones, Marianne (2002-08-21). "Anniversary Volume Gives New Voice To Pioneer Accounts of Sioux Uprising". University of Cincinnati. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  20. Steil, Mark and Tim Post. Hundreds of settlers killed in attacks. Minnesota Public Radio. September 26, 2002.
  21. Hazen, Theodore R. "New Process Milling of 1850–70". Pond Lily Mill Restorations. Retrieved 2007-05-11.
  22. Danbom, David B. (Spring 2003). "Flour Power: The Significance of Flour Milling at the Falls". Minnesota History 58 (5): 271–285. 
  23. "Engineering Research Associates Records 1946–1959". Hagley Museum and Library. Retrieved 2006-11-26.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Minnesota State". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
  25. "Minnehaha Creek". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Elevations and Distances". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  27. "Lakes, rivers & wetlands". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  28. "Population in Metropolitan Statistical Areas Ranked by 2000 Census" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
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Other websites

Template:Sisterlinks General


Tourism & recreation

Culture & history

Maps and Demographics

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