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State of Minnesota

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Derived from the Sioux Indian word minisota, meaning "sky-tinted waters."

NICKNAME: The North Star State.

CAPITAL: St. Paul.

ENTERED UNION: 11 May 1858 (32nd).

SONG: "Hail! Minnesota."

MOTTO: L'Etoile du Nord (The North Star).

FLAG: On a blue field bordered on three sides by a gold fringe, a version of the state seal is surrounded by a wreath with the statehood year (1858), the year of the establishment of Ft. Snelling (1819), and the year the flag was adopted (1893). Five clusters of gold stars and the word "Minnesota" fill the outer circle.

OFFICIAL SEAL: A farmer, with a powder horn and musket nearby, plows a field in the foreground, while in the background, before a rising sun, a Native American on horseback crosses the plains; pine trees and a waterfall represent the state's natural resources. The state motto is above, and the whole is surrounded by the words "The Great Seal of the State of Minnesota 1858." Another version of the seal in common use shows a cowboy riding across the plains.

BIRD: Common loon.

FISH: Walleye.

FLOWER: Pink and white lady slipper.

TREE: Red (Norway) pine.

GEM: Lake Superior agate.

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Presidents' Day, 3rd Monday in February; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November plus one day; Christmas Day, 25 December. By statute, schools hold special observances on Susan B. Anthony Day, 15 February; Arbor Day, last Friday in April; Minnesota Day, 11 May; Frances Willard Day, 28 September; Leif Erikson Day, 9 October.

TIME: 6 AM CST = noon GMT.


Situated in the western north-central United States, Minnesota is the largest of the Midwestern states and ranks 12th in size among the 50 states.

The total area of Minnesota is 84,402 sq mi (218,601 sq km), of which land accounts for 79,548 sq mi (206,029 sq km) and inland water 4,854 sq mi (12,572 sq km). Minnesota extends 406 mi (653 km) n-s; its extreme e-w extension is 358 mi (576 km).

Minnesota is bordered on the n by the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario (with the line passing through the Lake of the Woods, Rainy River, Rainy Lake, a succession of smaller lakes, the Pigeon River, and Lake Superior); on the e by Michigan and Wisconsin (with the line passing through Lake Superior and the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers); on the s by Iowa; and on the w by South Dakota and North Dakota (with the line passing through Big Stone Lake, Lake Traverse, the Bois de Sioux River, and the Red River of the North).

The length of Minnesota's boundaries totals 1,783 mi (2,870 km). The state's geographic center is in Crow Wing County, 10 mi (16 km) sw of Brainerd.


Minnesota, lying at the northern rim of the Central Plains region, consists mainly of flat prairie, nowhere flatter than in the Red River Valley of the west. There are rolling hills and deep river valleys in the southeast; the northeast, known as Arrowhead Country, is more rugged and includes the Vermilion Range and the Mesabi Range, with its rich iron deposits. Eagle Mountain, in the extreme northeast, rises to a height of 2,301 ft (702 m), the highest point in the state; the surface of nearby Lake Superior, 601 ft (183 m) above sea level, is the state's lowest elevation. The mean elevation of the state is approximately 1,200 ft (366 m).

With more than 15,000 lakes and extensive wetlands, rivers, and streams, Minnesota has more inland water than any other state except Alaska. Some of the inland lakes are quite large: Lower and Upper Red Lake, 451 sq mi (1,168 sq km); Mille Lacs, 207 sq mi (536 sq km); and Leech Lake, 176 sq mi (456 sq km). The Lake of the Woods, 1,485 sq mi (3,846 sq km), is shared with Canada, as is Rainy Lake, 345 sq mi (894 sq km). A total of 2,212 sq mi (5,729 sq km) of Lake Superior lies within Minnesota's jurisdiction.

Lake Itasca, in the northwest, is the source of the Mississippi River, which drains about three-fifths of the state and, after meeting with the St. Croix below Minneapolis-St. Paul, forms part of the eastern boundary with Wisconsin. The Minnesota River, which flows across the southern part of the state, joins the Mississippi at the Twin Cities. The Red River of the North, which forms much of the boundary with North Dakota, is part of another large drainage system; it flows north, crosses the Canadian border above St. Vincent, and eventually empties into Lake Winnipeg in Canada. North River is the source of the St. Lawrence River.

Most of Minnesota, except for small areas in the southeast, was covered by ice during the glacial ages. When the ice melted, it left behind a body of water known as Lake Agassiz, which extended into what we now call the Dakotas and Canada and was larger than the combined Great Lakes are today; additional melting to the north caused the lake to drain away, leaving flat prairie in its wake. The glaciers also left behind large stretches of pulverized limestone, enriching Minnesota's soil, and the numerous shallow depressions that have developed into its modern-day lakes and streams.


Minnesota has a continental climate, with cold, often frigid winters and warm summers. The growing season is 160 days or more in the south-central and southeastern regions, but 100 days or less in the northern counties. Average temperatures range from 8°f (13°c) in January to 66°f (18°c) in July for Duluth, and from 12°f (11°c) in January to 74°f (23°c) in July for Minneapolis-St. Paul, often called the Twin Cities. The lowest temperature recorded in Minnesota was 60°f (51°c), at Tower on 2 February 1996; the highest, 114°f (46°c), at Moorhead on 6 July 1936.

Annual precipitation is at about 31 in (79 cm) at Duluth and 29.4 in (75 cm) at Minneapolis-St. Paul. Precipitation is lightest in the northwest, where it averaged 19 in (48 cm) per year. Heavy snowfalls occur from November to April, averaging about 70 in (178 cm) annually in the northeast and 30 in (76 cm) in the southeast. Blizzards hit Minnesota twice each winter on the average. Tornadoes occur mostly in the south; on average there are 18 tornadoes in the state each year.


Minnesota is divided into three main life zones: the wooded lake regions of the north and east, the prairie lands of the west and southwest, and a transition zone in between. Oak, maple, elm, birch, pine, ash, and poplar still thrive although much of the state's woodland has been cut down since the 1850s. Common shrubs include thimbleberry, sweetfern, and several varieties of honeysuckle. Familiar among some 1,500 native flowering plants are puccoon, prairie phlox, and blazing star; the pink and white (showy) lady slipper is the state flower. White and yellow water lilies cover the pond areas, with bulrushes and cattails on the shore. Three plant species were listed as threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in April 2006Leedy's roseroot, prairie bush-clover, and western prairie fringed orchid; the Minnesota dwarf trout lily was listed as endangered that year.

Among Minnesota's common mammals are the opossum, eastern and starnose moles, little brown bat, raccoon, mink, river otter, badger, striped and spotted skunks, red fox, bobcat, 13-lined ground squirrel (also known as the Minnesota gopher, symbol of the University of Minnesota), beaver, porcupine, eastern cottontail, moose, and white-tailed deer. The common loon (the state bird), western meadowlark, Brewer's blackbird, Carolina wren, and Louisiana water thrush are among some 240 resident bird species; introduced birds include the English sparrow and ring-necked pheasant. Teeming in Minnesota's many lakes are such game fishes as walleye, muskellunge, northern pike, and steelhead, rainbow, and brown trouts. The two poisonous snakes in the state are the timber rattler and the massasauga.

Classification of rare, threatened, and endangered species is delegated to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Among rare species noted by the department are the white pelican, short-eared owl, rock vole, pine marten, American elk, woodland caribou, lake sturgeon, and paddlefish; threatened species include the bobwhite quail and piping plover. Nine species of animals occurring within the state (vertebrates and invertebrates) were listed as threatened or endangered in 2006 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, including the gray wolf, bald eagle, piping plover, Topeka shiner, and Higgins' eye pearlymussel.


The state's northern forests have been greatly depleted by fires, lumbering, and farming, but efforts to replenish them began as early as 1876, with the formation of the state's first forestry association. In 1911, the legislature authorized a state nursery, established forest reserves and parks, and created the post of chief fire warden to oversee forestry resources and promote reforestation projects. Minnesota divides its environmental programs among three agencies: the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Office of Environmental Assistance. The Conservation Department, created in 1931, evolved into the present Department of Natural Resources, which is responsible for the management of forests, fish and game, public lands, minerals, and state parks and waters. The department's Soil and Water Conservation Board has jurisdiction over the state's 92 soil and water conservation districts. A separate Pollution Control Agency enforces air and water quality standards and oversees solid waste disposal and pollution-related land-use planning. The Environmental Quality Board coordinates conservation efforts among various state agencies.

Minnesotans dump 4,400 tons of waste a year (0.99 tons per capita) into 53 municipal landfills. In 1994, the state implemented the Minnesota Landfill Cleanup Program to ensure the proper care of 106 closed or closing municipal landfills. Beginning in 1996, the state began construction on 25 new municipal landfills and instituted a planning effort to manage all existing and closed sites. In 2003, Minnesota had 81 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 24 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006. In 2005, the EPA spent over $1.9 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $19.8 million for the state clean water revolving fund and $16.4 million for the drinking water revolving fund. To control the state's solid waste stream, Minnesotans have established 488 curbside recycling programs. The Reserve Mining Co. complied with a court order in 1980 by ending the dumping of taconite wastes, a possible carcinogen, into Lake Superior.

Other pollution problems came to light during the 1970s with the discovery of asbestos in drinking water from Lake Superior, of contaminants from inadequately buried toxic wastes at St. Louis Park, and of the killing by agricultural pesticides of an estimated 100,000 fish in two southeastern Minnesota brooks. During the early 1980s, the state's Pollution Control Agency approved plans by FMC, a munitions maker, to clean up a hazardous waste site at Fridley (near Minneapolis), which the EPA claimed was the country's most dangerous hazardous waste area. The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. in 1983 began to remove chemical wastes from three dumps in Oakdale (a suburb of St. Paul), where the company had disposed of hazardous wastes since the late 1940s. Each cleanup project was to cost the respective companies at least $6 million. In 2003, 31.4 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state.

In 1997, the state had some 9.5 million acres (3.8 million hectares) of wetlands. The Wetlands Conservation Act of 1991 set the ambitious goal of no wetland loss in the future.


Minnesota ranked 21st in population in the United States with an estimated total of 5,132,799 in 2005, an increase of 4.3% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Minnesota's population grew from 4,375,099 to 4,919,479, an increase of 12.4%. The population was projected to reach 5.6 million by 2015 and 6.8 million by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 64.1 persons per sq mi.

Minnesota was still mostly wilderness until a land boom in 1848 attracted the first substantial wave of settlers, mainly lumbermen from New England, farmers from the Middle Atlantic states, and tradespeople from eastern cities. The 1850 census recorded a population of 6,077 in what was then Minnesota Territory. With the signing of major Indian treaties and widespread use of the steamboat, large areas were opened to settlement, and the population exceeded 150,000 by the end of 1857. Attracted by fertile farmland and enticed by ambitious recruitment programs overseas, large numbers of European immigrants came to settle in the new state from the 1860s onward. In 1880, the state population totaled 780,733; by 1920 (when overseas immigration virtually ceased), the state had 2,387,125 residents. Population growth leveled off during the 1920s and has fallen below the national average since the 1940s. As of 2004, Minnesotans had a median age of 36.6 years. Nearly 24.3% of the population was under age 18, while 12.1% was age 65 or older.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan area had an estimated population of 3,116,206 in 2004, up from an estimated 2,723,137 in 1995. The city of Minneapolis itself had an estimated 373,943 residents in 2004; St. Paul had an estimated 276,963. Other leading cities include Duluth and Rochester.


Minnesota was settled during the second half of the 19th century, primarily by European immigrants, chiefly Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, English, and Poles, along with the Irish and some French Canadians. The Swedish newcomers were mainly farmers; Norwegians concentrated on lumbering, while the Swiss worked for the most part in the dairy industry. In 1890, Finns and Slavs were recruited to work in the iron mines; the state's meatpacking plants brought in Balkan nationals, Mexicans, and Poles after the turn of the century. By 1930, 50% of the population was foreign-born. Among first-and second-generation Minnesotans of European origin, Germans and Scandinavians are still the largest groups. The state has more ethnic Norwegians than any other, and is second in number of ethnic Swedes, behind California. The other ethnic groups are concentrated in Minneapolis-St. Paul or in the iron country of the Mesabi Range, where ethnic enclaves still persist. As of 2000, foreign-born residents of Minnesota numbered 260,463, or 5.3% of the state total, up from 113,039 (2.5%) in 1990.

As of 2000 there were 54,967 American Indians in Minnesota, with 35,282 living on 13 of the state's 14 Indian reservations (one was unpopulated). Besides those living on reservations and in villages, a cluster of Indian urban dwellers (chiefly Ojibwa) lived in St. Paul. The reservation with the largest 2000 population was Leech Lake, with 10,205 people. Other reservations included Fond du Lac (3,728) and Mille Lacs (4,704). Indian lands totaled 764,000 acres (309,000 hectares) in 1982, of which 93% were tribal lands. In 2004, 1.2% of the state's population was composed of American Indians.

There were only 39 black Americans in Minnesota in 1850; by 1990, blacks numbered 95,000, or 2.1% of the total population, and as of 2000, the black population had jumped to 171,731 (3.5%). In 2004, 4.1% of the population was black. In 2000 there were 141,968 Asian and Pacific residents, including 41,800 Hmong (second-largest total in the United States), 18,824 Vietnamese, 16,887 Asian Indians, 16,060 Chinese, 12,584 Koreans, and 9,940 Laotians. In 2000, Pacific Islanders numbered 1,979. In 2000, there also were 143,382 Hispanics and Latinos, 2.9% of the state population. In 2004, 3.4% of the population was Asian, 0.1% of Pacific Island origin, and 3.5% Hispanic and Latino. That year, 1.4% of the population reported origin of two or more races.


Many place-names echo the languages of the Yankton and San-tee Sioux Indian tribes and of the incoming Algonkian-language Ojibwa, or Chippewa, from whom most of the Sioux fled to Dakota Territory. Such place-names as Minnesota itself, Minnetonka, and Mankato are Siouan in origin; Kabetogama and Winnibigoshish, both lakes, are Ojibwan.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "African languages" includes Amharic, Ibo, Twi, Yoruba, Bantu, Swahili, and Somali. The category "Scandinavian languages" includes Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Population 5 years and over 4,591,491 100.0
  Speak only English 4,201,503 91.5
  Speak a language other than English 389,988 8.5
Speak a language other than English 389,988 8.5
  Spanish or Spanish Creole 132,066 2.9
  Miao, Hmong 41,673 0.9
  German 35,027 0.8
  African languages 24,747 0.5
  Vietnamese 16,503 0.4
  French (incl, Patois, Cajun) 15,744 0.3
  Scandinavian languages 12,722 0.3
  Chinese 12,578 0.3
  Russian 9,629 0.3
  Laotian 7,987

English in the state is essentially Northern, with minor infiltration of Midland terms because of early movement up the Mississippi River into southern Minnesota and also up the Great Lakes into and beyond Duluth. Among older residents, traces of Scandinavian intonation persist, and on the Iron Range several pronunciation features reflect the mother tongues of mine workers from eastern Europe.

Although some minor variants now compete in frequency, on the whole Minnesota speech features such dominant Northern terms as andirons, pail, mouth organ (harmonica), comforter (tied and filled bedcover), wishbone, clingstone peach, sweet corn, angleworm (earthworm), darning needle or mosquito hawk (dragonfly), and sick to the stomach. Minnesotans call the grass strip between street and sidewalk the boulevard and a rubber band a rubber binder, and many cook coffee when they brew it. Three-fourths of a sample population spoke root with the vowel of put; one third, through school influence, pronounced /ah/ in aunt instead of the usual Northern short /a/, as in pants. Many younger speakers pronounce caller and collar alike.


Minnesota's first Christian church was organized by Presbyterians in Ft. Snelling in 1835; the first Roman Catholic church, the Chapel of St. Paul, was dedicated in 1841 at a town then called Pig's Eye but now known by the same name as the chapel. Immigrants arriving in subsequent decades brought their religions with them, with Lutherans and Catholics predominating.

The Roman Catholic Church reported a statewide membership of 1,185,980 in 2004; with about 730,989 members belonging to the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. As of 2000, predominant Protestant groups included the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 853,448 adherents, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 203,863 adherents. In 2004, the United Methodist Church had 83,755 members. In 2005, the United Church of Christ reported a statewide membership of 33,901. Other Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Baptist denominations were also somewhat prominent. The Episcopal Church had 30,547 adherents in 2000. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) reported 27,524 members in 71 congregations in 2006. A Mormon temple was opened in St. Paul in 2000. In 2000, there were about 42,000 adherents to Judaism and 12,300 adherents of Islam. That year, over 1.8 million people (about 38.3% of the population) were not counted as members of any religious organization.

Minnesota is the headquarters for three national Lutheran religious groups: the American Lutheran Church, the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, and the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations. The Temple of Eckankar (est. 1990) and the Eckankar Spiritual Center (est. 2004) are located in Chanhassen, which is considered to be the spiritual home of the faith. Eckankar, called "a religion of the light and sound of God" by its followers, was introduced by Paul Twitchell, an American journalist, in 1965.


The development of an extensive railroad network after the Civil War was a key factor in the growth of lumbering, iron mining, wheat growing, and other industries. By 2003, Minnesota had a total of 5,923 rail mi (9,536 km). In that same year, metallic ores were the top commodity transported by rail that originated within the state. As of 2006, Amtrak provided east-west service from Chicago to Seattle/Portland to six stations in Minnesota, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, via its Empire Builder train.

Planning and supervision of mass transportation in the Twin Cities metropolitan area are under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Transit Commission, a public corporation. The national Greyhound bus line was founded in Hibbing in 1914.

Minnesota had 131,937 mi (212,418 km) of public roads and streets in 2004. Minneapolis-St. Paul is linked by I-35 to Duluth, and I-94 connects the Twin Cities with Moorhead and Fargo, North Dakota. In 2004, there were 2.490 million automobiles, 2.046 million trucks of all types, and 7,000 buses registered with the state. In that same year, the state had 3,083,007 licensed drivers.

The first settlements grew up around major river arteries, especially in the southeast; early traders and settlers arrived first by canoe or keelboat, later by steamer. The port of Duluth-Superior, at the western terminus of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway (officially opened in 1959) was the state's busiest port, handling 45.392 million tons of domestic and international cargo in 2004, making it the 19th-busiest port in the United States. The port of Two Harbors was the state's second busiest port that same year and the nation's 48th busiest, handling 13.472 million tons. The ports of Minneapolis and St. Paul handle a combined cargo greater than seven million tons each year, with agricultural products and scrap iron moving downstream and petroleum products, chemicals, and cement moving upstream. Minnesota in 2004 had 258 mi (415 km) of navigable inland waterways. In 2003, water-borne shipments totaled 47.687 million tons.

In 2005, Minnesota had a total of 520 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 384 airports, 58 heliports, one STOLport (Short Take-Off and Landing), and 77 seaplane bases. Minneapolis-St. Paul International is the state's largest and busiest airport. In 2004, the airport had 17,482,627 enplanements, making it the ninth-busiest airport in the United States.


People have lived on the land that is now Minnesota for at least 10,000 years. The earliest inhabitantsbelonging to what archaeologists classify as the Paleo-Indian (or Big Game) culturehunted large animals, primarily bison, from which they obtained food, clothing, and materials for shelter. A second identifiable cultural tradition, from around 5000 bc, was the Eastern Archaic (or Old Copper) culture. These people hunted small as well as large game animals and fashioned copper implements through a cold hammering process. The more recent Woodland Tradition (1000 bc-ad 1700) was marked by the introduction of pottery and of mound burials. From the 1870s to the early 1900s, more than 11,000 burial mounds were discovered in Minnesotathe most visible remains of prehistoric life in the area. Finally, overlapping the Woodland culture in time was the Mississippian Tradition, beginning around ad 1000, in which large villages with permanent dwellings were erected near fertile river bottoms; their residents, in addition to hunting and fishing, raised corn, beans, and squash. There are many sites from this culture throughout southern Minnesota.

At the time of European penetration in the 17th and early 18th centuries, the two principal Indian nations were the Dakota, or Minnesota Sioux, and, at least after 1700, the Ojibwa, or Chippewa, who were moving from the east into northern Minnesota and the Dakota homelands. Friendly relations between the two nations were shattered in 1736, when the Dakota slew a party of French missionaries and traders (allies of the Ojibwa) and their Cree Indian guides (distant relatives of the Ojibwa) at the Lake of the Woods, an act the Ojibwa viewed as a declaration of war. There followed more than 100 years of conflict between Dakota and Ojibwa, during which the Dakota were pressed toward the south and west, with the Ojibwa establishing themselves in the north.

Few scholars accept the authenticity of the Kensington Rune Stone, found in 1898, the basis of the claim that Minnesota was visited in 1362 by the Vikings. The first white men whose travels through the region have been documented were Pierre Esprit Radisson and his brother-in-law, Médart Chouart, Sieur de Groseilliers, who probably reached the interior of northern Minne-sota in the 1650s. In 1679, Daniel Greysolon, Sieur Duluth, held council with the Dakota near Mille Lacs and formally claimed the region for King Louis XIV of France. The following year, Duluth negotiated the release of three captives of the Dakota Indians, among them a Belgian explorer and missionary, Father Louis Hennepin, who named the falls of the Mississippi (the site of present-day Minneapolis) after his patron saint, Anthony of Padua, and returned to Europe to write an exaggerated account of his travels in the region.

Duluth was in the vanguard of the French, English, and American explorers, fur traders, and missionaries who came to Minnesota during the two centuries before statehood. Among the best known was Nicolas Perrot, who built Ft. Antoine on the east side of Lake Pepin in 1686. In 1731, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Verendrye, journeyed to the Lake of the Woods, along whose shores he erected Ft. St. Charles; subsequently, he or his men ventured farther west than any other known French explorer, reaching the Dakotas and the Saskatchewan Valley. His eldest son was among those slain by Dakota Indians at the Lake of the Woods in 1736.

Competition for control of the upper Mississippi Valley ended with the British victory in the French and Indian War, which placed the portion of Minnesota east of the Mississippi under British control; the land west of the Mississippi was ceded by France to Spain in 1762. Although the Spanish paid little attention to their northern territory, the British immediately sent in fur traders and explorers. One of the best known was Jonathan Carver, who spent the winter of 176667 with the Dakota on the Minnesota River. His account of his travelsa mixture of personal observations and borrowings from othersquickly became a popular success.

There was little activity in the region during the Revolutionary War, and for a few decades afterward, the British continued to pursue their interests there. The North West Company built a major fur-trading post at Grand Portage, which quickly became the center of a prosperous inland trade, and other posts dotted the countryside. The company hired David Thompson away from the Hudson's Bay Company to map the area from Lake Superior west to the Red River; his detailed and accurate work, executed in the late 1790s, is still admired today. After the War of 1812, the US Congress passed an act curbing British participation in the fur trade, and the North West Company was eventually replaced by the American Fur Company, which John Jacob Astor had incorporated in 1808.

Under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, Minnesota east of the Mississippi became part of the Northwest Territory; most of western Minnesota was acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The Red River Valley became a secure part of the United States after an agreement with England on the northern boundary was reached in 1818.

In 1805, the US War Department sent Lt. Zebulon Pike and a detachment of troops to explore the Mississippi to its source. Pike failed to locate the source, but he concluded a treaty with a band of Dakota for two parcels of land along the river. Later, additional troops were sent in to establish US control, and in 1819, a military post was established in part of Pike's land, on a bluff overlooking the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. First called Ft. St. Anthony, it was renamed in 1825 for Col. Josiah Snelling, who supervised the construction of the permanent fort. For three decades, Ft. Snelling served as the principal center of civilization in Minnesota and the key frontier outpost in the northwest.

In 1834, Henry H. Sibley was appointed a manager of the American Fur Company on the upper Mississippi. He settled comfortably at Mendota, a trading post across the river from Ft. Snelling, and enjoyed immediate success. The company's fortunes took a downward turn in 1837, howeverpartly because of a financial panic but, even more important, because the first of a series of treaties with the Dakota and Ojibwa transferred large areas of Indian land to the US government and thus curtailed the profitable relationship between fur traders and Indians. The treaties opened the land for lumbering, farming, and settlement. Lumbering spawned many of the early permanent settlements, such as Marine and Stillwater, on the St. Croix River, and St. Anthony (later Minneapolis) at the falls of the Mississippi. Another important town, St. Paul (originally Pig's Eye), developed as a trading center at the head of navigation on the Mississippi.

In 1849, Minnesota Territory was established. It included all of present-day Minnesota, along with portions of North and South Dakota east of the Missouri River. Alexander Ramsey, a Pennsylvania Whig, was appointed as the first territorial governor, and in 1851, the legislature named St. Paul the capital. Stillwater was chosen for the state prison, while St. Anthony was selected as the site for the university. As of 1850, the new territory had slightly more than 6,000 inhabitants, but as lumbering grew and subsequent Indian treaties opened up more land, the population boomed, reaching a total of more than 150,000 by 1857, with the majority concentrated in the southeast corner, close to the rivers.

On 11 May 1858, Minnesota officially became the 32nd state, with its western boundaries pruned from the Missouri to the Red River. Henry Sibley, a Democrat, narrowly defeated Alexander Ramsey, running as a Republican, to become the state's first governor. But under Ramsey's leadership, the fast-growing Republican Party soon gained control of state politics and held it firmly through the early 20th century. In the first presidential election in which Minnesota participated, Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate, easily carried the state, and when the Civil War broke out, Minnesota was the first state to answer Lincoln's call for troops. In all, Minnesota supplied more than 20,000 men to defend the Union.

More challenging to the defense of Minnesota was the Dakota War of 1862. Grieved by the loss of their lands, dissatisfied with reservation life, and ultimately brought to a condition of near starvation, the Dakota appealed to US Indian agencies without success. The murder of five whites by four young Dakota Indians ignited a bloody uprising in which more than 300 whites and an unknown number of Indians were killed. In the aftermath, 38 Dakota captives were hanged for "voluntary participation in murders and massacres," and the Dakota remaining in Minnesota were removed to reservations in Nebraska. (Some later returned to Minnesota.) Meanwhile, the Ojibwa were relegated to reservations on remnants of their former lands.

Also during 1862, Minnesota's first railroad joined St. Anthony (Minneapolis) and St. Paul with 10 mi (16 km) of track. By 1867, the Twin Cities were connected with Chicago by rail; in the early 1870s, tracks crossed the prairie all the way to the Red River Valley. The railroads brought settlers from the eastern states (many of them Scandinavian and German in origin) to every corner of Minnesota; the settlers, in turn, grew produce for the trains to carry back to the cities of the east. The railroads soon ushered in an era of large-scale commercial farming. Wheat provided the biggest cash crop, as exports rose from 2 million bushels in 1860 to 95 million in 1890. Meanwhile, the falls of St. Anthony became the major US flour-milling center; by 1880, 27 Minneapolis mills were producing more than 2 million barrels of flour annually.

Despite these signs of prosperity, discontent grew among Minnesota farmers, who were plagued by high railroad rates, damaging droughts, and a deflationary economy. The first national farmers' movement, the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, was founded in 1867 by a Minnesotan, Oliver H. Kelley, and spread more rapidly in Minnesota than in any other state. The Farmers' Alliance movement, joining forces with the Knights of Labor, exerted a major influence on state politics in the 1880s. In 1898, the Populist Partyin which a Minnesotan, Ignatius Donnelly, played a leading role nationwidehelped elect John Lind to the governorship on a fusion ticket.

Most immigrants during the 1860s and 1870s settled on the rich farmland of the north and west, but after 1880 the cities and industries grew more rapidly. When iron ore was discovered in the 1880s in the sparsely settled northeast, even that part of the state attracted settlers, many of them immigrants from eastern and southern Europe. Before 1900, Duluth had become a major lake port, and by the eve of World War I, Minnesota had become a national iron-mining center.

The economic picture changed after the war. As the forests were depleted, the big lumber companies turned to the Pacific Northwest. An agricultural depression hit the region, and flour mills moved to the Kansas City area and to Buffalo, New York. Minnesotans adapted to the new realities in various ways. Farmers planted corn, soybeans, and sugar beets along with wheat, and new food-processing industries developed. To these were added business machines, electronics, computers, and other high-technology industries. In 1948, for the first time, the dollar value of all manufactured products exceeded total cash farm receipts. In 1950 the state's urban population exceeded its rural population for the first time. Minnesota was becoming an urban commonwealth.

In addition to heightened demand for its agricultural products, Minnesota prospered as a result of new defense-related, high-technology, and other industries that grew up following World War II. Over $1 billion was invested in plants to process low-grade iron ore, called taconite, after the state's supply of high-grade ore declined. By the 1970s, environmentalists were targeting the ore producers for polluting Lake Superior with mineral wastes, and in 1978 the Minnesota Supreme Court ordered Reserve Mining Company to comply with pollution-control standards.

A successful merger of Minnesota's Farmer-Labor and Democratic parties, engineered in 194344 by both local and national politicians, revived the state's progressivist tradition after World War II. Hubert Humphrey (later US vice president) and his colleagues Orville Freeman, Eugene McCarthy, and Eugenie Anderson emerged as leaders of this new coalition. Their political heir, Walter Mondale, was vice president in 197781 but, as the Democratic presidential candidate in 1984, lost the election in a Republican landslide, carrying only his native state and the District of Columbia.

In the 1990s, Minnesota continued its economic diversification as service industries, including finance, insurance, and real estate, became increasingly important. As a result, it closed the decade with a low unemployment rate of 2.8% (when the national aver-age was just over 4%). Though Minnesota, led by the Twin Cities, enjoyed an unprecedented decade of economic prosperity, it was generally acknowledged that agriculture across the Great Plains was in crisis by the end of the 1990s.

For many farmers, their problems had been exacerbated by weather conditions. In 1988, Minnesota's agricultural producers suffered from the worst drought since the 1930s. As a result of the severe flooding of the Mississippi River in 1993, almost half of Minnesota's counties were designated as disaster areas. Again in 1997, some of the most severe flooding in the century occurred in the Red River and Minnesota River valleys.

The state legislature closed its 1999 session having passed the largest permanent tax cut and one-time rebate in the state's history, amounting to $2.9 billion in tax relief. Though the accomplishment was hailed as a result of a multipartisan effort, discord soon befell Minnesota government. By October, activists were attempting to recall Governor Jesse Ventura, elected the previous year the Reform Party candidate, only to align himself with the Independence Party of Minnesota shortly after taking office. The following legislative session (in 2000) saw more veto overrides than in any other session of the last half century.

Republican Tim Pawlenty, elected governor in 2002, sponsored an Internet privacy bill early in his term and stressed the need for higher education standards and attracting more high-tech jobs to the state. In 2003, Minnesota faced the largest budget deficit in its history, $4.2 billion. The legislature that year passed a $28.3 billion budget marked by spending cuts and no new taxes. Democrats, farmers, and labor leaders feared Pawlenty's commitment to no new taxes would amount to large spending cuts in education, health care, and other areas. However, by 2005 Pawlenty had balanced the state's budget without cutting funding for K-12 education. Under Pawlenty's leadership, an overhaul of the state's education standards, welfare reform, lawsuit reform, and a large transportation package were passed.

As of 2005, the state had a $10 billion per year tourism industry. As such, it was focusing attention on its water resources, which provide jobs, drive quality of life, and support fish and wildlife. Development, pollution, and growing demands for safe drinking water are all pressures placed on the future health of Minnesota waters.


The constitutional convention that assembled at St. Paul on 13 July 1857 was marked by such bitter dissension that the Democrats and Republicans had to meet in separate chambers; the final draft was written by a committee of five Democrats and five Republicans and then adopted by a majority of each party, without amendment. Since Democrats and Republicans were also unwilling to sign the same piece of paper, two separate documents were prepared, one on blue-tinted paper, the other on white. The constitution was ratified by the electorate on 13 October and approved by the US Congress on 11 May 1858. An amendment restructuring the constitution for easy reference and simplifying its language was approved in 1974; for purposes of constitutional law, however, the original document (incorporating numerous other amendments) remains authoritative. Through January 2005 there were 118 amendments.

As reapportioned by court order after the 1970 census, the Minnesota legislature consists of a 67-member Senate and a 134-member House of Representatives. Legislative sessions begin in January and are limited to 120 legislative days or to the first Monday after the third Saturday in May. Sessions are to be held in only odd-numbered years, but the legislature may divide and meet in even-numbered years as well. Only the governor may call for special sessions. Senators serve four years and representatives two, at annual salaries of $31,140 as of 2004, unchanged from 1999. Representatives must be at least 18 years old and senators 21; they must be qualified voters, and must have resided in the state for one year and in the legislative district for six months preceding election.

The governor and lieutenant governor are jointly elected for four-year terms; both must be US citizens at least 25 years old, qualified voters, and must have been residents of Minnesota for a year before election. Other constitutional officers are the secretary of state, auditor, and attorney general, all serving for four years. Numerous other officials are appointed by the governor, among them the commissioners of government departments and many heads and members of independent agencies. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $120,311.

Once a bill is passed by a majority of both houses, the governor may sign it, veto it in whole or in part, or pocket-veto it by fail-ing to act within 14 days of adjournment. (When the legislature is in session, however, a bill becomes law if the governor fails to act on it within three days.) A two-thirds vote of the members of both houses overrides a veto. Constitutional amendments require the approval of a majority of both houses of the legislature and are subject to ratification by the electorate. Those voting in state elections must be at least 18 years old, US citizens, and state residents for at least 20 days prior to election day. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.

Minnesota Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 19482004
*Won US presidential election.
**Minnesota has 10 electoral votes. One electoral vote was cast for John Edwards.
1 Called Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota.
2 IND. -Republican party called Republican Party as of 1995.
3 Appeared as Industrial Government Party on the ballot.
1948 11 *Truman (D) 692,966 483,617 27,866 4,646 2,525
1952 11 *Eisenhower (R) 608,458 763,211 2,666 2,383
1956 11 *Eisenhower (R) 617,525 719,302 1,098 2,080
1960 11 *Kennedy (D) 779,933 757,915 3,077 962
1964 10 *Johnson (D) 991,117 559,624 1,117 2,544
1968 10 Humphrey (D) 857,738 658,643 68,931
1972 10 *Nixon (R) 802,346 898,269 2,805 4,261 31,407
1976 10 *Carter (D) 1,070,440 819,395 3,529 4,149 13,592
1980 10 Carter (D) 954,173 873,268 31,593 8,406 6,136
1984 10 Mondale (D) 1,036,364 1,032,603 2,996 1,219
1988 10 Dukakis (D) 1,109,471 962,337 5,109 5,403 2,155
1992 10 *Clinton (D) 1,020,997 747,841 3,373 562,506 3,363
GREEN (Nader)
1996 10 *Clinton (D) 1,120,438 766,476 8,271 257,704 24,908
2000 10 Gore (D) 1,168,266 1,109,659 5,282 22,166 126,696
2004 10** Kerry (D) 1,445,014 1,346,695 4,639 18,683 4,408


The two major political parties are the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) and the Republican Party (until 1995 called the Independent-Republican Party). The Republican Party dominated Minnesota politics from the 1860s through the 1920s, except for a period around the turn of the century. The DFL, formed in 1944 by merger between the Democratic Party and the populist Farmer-Labor Party, rose to prominence in the 1950s under US Senator Hubert Humphrey; it functions as the state chapter of the US Democratic Party.

The DFL is the heir to a long populist tradition bred during the panic of 1857 and the early days of statehood, a tradition perpetuated by a succession of strong, though transient, third-party movements. The Grange, a farmers' movement committed to the cause of railroad regulation, took root in Minnesota in 1868; it withered in the panic of 1873, but its successors, the Anti-Monopoly Par-ty and the Greenback Party, attracted large followings for some time afterward. They were followed by a new pro-silver group, the Farmers' Alliance, which spread to Minnesota from Nebraska in 1881 and soon became associated with the Minnesota Knights of Labor. The Populist Party also won a foothold in Minnesota, in alliance with the Democratic Party in the late 1890s.

The Farmer-Labor Party, the most successful of Minnesota's third-party movements, grew out of a socialist and isolationist movement known at first as the Non-Partisan League. Founded in North Dakota with the initial aim of gaining control of the Republican Party in that state, the league moved its headquarters to St. Paul and competed in the 1918 elections under the name Farmer-Labor Party, hastily adopted to attract what party leaders hoped would be its two main constituencies. The party scored a major success in 1922 when its candidate, Henrik Shipstead, a Glenwood dentist, defeated a nationally known incumbent, Republican Senator Frank B. Kellogg; Farmer-Labor candidate Floyd B. Olson won the governorship in 1930. The decline of the party in the late 1930s was hastened by the rise of Republican Harold Stassen, an ardent internationalist, who won the governorship in 1938 and twice won reelection.

The first DFL candidate to become governor was Orville Freeman in 1954. The DFL held the governorship from 1963 to 1967 and from 1971 to 1978, when US Representative Al Quie (IR) defeated his DFL opponent, Rudy Perpich; however, Perpich regained the governorship for the DFL in 1982. Perpich served four terms. He lost to Independent-Republican Arne Carlson in 1990, and Carlson was reelected in 1994. The 1998 gubernatorial election in Minnesota made national headlines; it was won by Reform candidate and former World Wrestling Federation personality Jesse Ventura. After gaining office, Ventura switched allegiances to the Independence Party of Minnesota. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, won the governorship in 2002.

Minnesota is famous as a breeding ground for presidential candidates. Governor Harold Stassen contended seriously for the Republican nomination in 1948 and again in 1952. Vice President Hubert Humphrey was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1968, losing by a narrow margin to Richard Nixon. During the same year, US Senator Eugene McCarthy unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination on an antiwar platform; his surprising showings in the early primaries against the incumbent, Lyndon B. Johnson, helped persuade Johnson to withdraw his candidacy. Eight years later, McCarthy ran for the presidency as an independent, drawing 35,490 votes in Minnesota (1.8% of the total votes cast) and 756,631 votes (0.9%) nationwide. Walter Mondale, successor to Hubert Humphrey's seat when Humphrey became Johnson's vice president in 1964, was chosen in 1976 by Jimmy Carter as his vice-presidential running mate; he again ran with Carter in 1980, when the two lost their bid for reelection. In the 1984 election, Minnesota was the only state to favor the Mondale-Ferraro ticket. Minnesotans gave the Republican Party a majority in the state's House of Representatives for the first time since 1970, but the Democrats retained control of the state Senate.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore won 48% of the presidential vote; Republican George W. Bush gained 46%; and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader received 5%. In 2004, Democratic challenger John Kerr garnered 51% of the vote to Bush's 48%. In 2004 there were 2,977,000 registered voters; there is no party registration in the state. The state had 10 electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election.

In 2000, Democrat Mark Dayton was elected to the Senate. In 1996 Democrat Paul Wellstone successfully defended his Senate seat against a challenge by Republican Rudy Boschwitz, from whom he had won the seat in 1990. Wellstone died in a plane crash in October 2002, along with his wife and daughter, three staff members, and two pilots. Republican Norm Coleman won Wellstone's Senate seat in 2002, defeating Democrat and former vice president Walter Mondale, who stepped in to run after Wellstone's death. Following the 2004 elections, Minnesota's delegation to the US House was split between four Democrats and four Republicans. In mid-2005, there were 36 Democrats, 29 Republicans, and 1 Independent serving in the Minnesota state Senate. Party representation in the state House consisted of 66 Democrats, and 68 Republicans.


As of 2005, Minnesota was divided into 87 counties, 854 municipal governments, 415 school districts, and 403 special districts. In 2002 there were also 1,793 townships.

Each of Minnesota's counties is governed by a board of commissioners, ordinarily elected for four-year terms. Other elected officials include the auditor, treasurer, recorder, sheriff, attorney, and coroner; an assessor and engineer are customarily appointed. Besides administering welfare, highway maintenance, and other state programs, the county is responsible for planning and development and, except in large cities, for property assessment. During the 1970s, counties also assumed increased responsibility for solid waste disposal and shoreline management.

Each regional development commission, or RDC, consists of local officials (selected by counties, cities, townships, and boards of education in the region) and of representatives of public interest groups (selected by the elected officials). RDCs prepare and adopt regional development plans and review applications for loans and grants.

Cities either have home-rule charters or are statutory cities, which are restricted to the systems of government prescribed by state law. In either case, the mayor-council system is the most common. Besides providing such traditional functions as street maintenance and police and fire protection, some cities operate utilities, sell liquor, or run hospitals, among other services. Each township is governed by a board of supervisors and by other elected officials.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 194,995 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Minnesota operates under the authority of executive order; the public safety commissioner is designated as the state homeland security advisor.

Minnesota's ombudsman for corrections investigates complaints about corrections facilities or the conduct of prison officials. The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board supervises the registration of lobbyists, monitors the financing of political campaigns, and sees that elected and appointed state officials observe regulations governing conflict of interest and disclosure of personal finances. Minnesota law also provides that legislative meetings of any kind must be open to the public.

The state-aided public school system is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education, which carries out the policies of an 11-member Board of Teaching appointed by the governor. Responsible for higher education are the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, elected by the legislature; the boards of trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU), appointed by the governor; and other agencies. The Department of Transportation maintains roads and bridges, enforces public transportation rates, inspects airports, and has responsibility for railroad safety.

Minnesota's Department of Health investigates health problems, disseminates health information, regulates hospitals and nursing homes, and inspects restaurants and lodgings. Health regulations affecting farm produce are administered by the Department of Agriculture. State facilities for the developmentally disabled are operated by the Department of Human Services, which administers state welfare programs and provides social services to the aged, the handicapped, and others in need.

The Department of Public Safety registers motor vehicles, licenses drivers, enforces traffic laws, and regulates the sale of liquor. The Department of Military Affairs has jurisdiction over the Minnesota National Guard, and the Department of Corrections operates prisons, reformatories, and parole programs. The Housing Finance Agency aids the construction and rehabilitation of low-and middle-income housing. Laws governing occupational safety, wages and hours, and child labor are enforced by the Department of Labor and Industry, while the Department of Employment and Economic Development supervises public employment programs and administers unemployment insurance. Other departments focus on agriculture, commerce, employee relations, finance, natural resources, public service, and revenue.


Minnesota's highest court is the Supreme Court, consisting of a chief justice and six associate justices; all are elected without party designation for six-year terms, with vacancies being filled by gubernatorial appointment. The district court, divided into 10 judicial districts with 254 judges in 1999, is the court of original jurisdiction. Each judicial district has at least three district judges, elected to six-year terms. The governor designates a chief judge for a three-year term.

County courts, operating in all counties of the state except twoHennepin (Minneapolis) and Ramsey (St. Paul), which have municipal courtsassume functions formerly exercised by probate, family, and local courts. They exercise civil jurisdiction in cases where the amount in contention is $5,000 or less, and criminal jurisdiction in preliminary hearings and misdemeanors. They also hear cases involving family disputes, and have concurrent jurisdiction with the district court in divorces, adoptions, and certain other proceedings. The probate division of the county court system presides over guardianship and incompetency proceedings and all cases relating to the disposing of estates. All county judges are elected for six-year terms.

As of 31 December 2004, a total of 8,758 prisoners were held in Minnesota's state and federal prisons, an increase (from 7,865) of 11.4% over 2003. As of year-end 2004, a total of 544 inmates were female, up 25.1% (from 435) from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Minnesota had an incarceration rate of 171 per 100,000 population in 2004.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2004 Minnesota had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 269.6 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 13,751 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 155,019 reported incidents or 3,039 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Minnesota has no death penalty. The state's Crime Victims Reparations Board offers compensation to innocent victims of crime or to their dependent survivors.

In 2003, Minnesota spent $119,675,678 on homeland security, an average of $24 per state resident.


In 2004, there were 9,076 Defense Department personnel, 1,607 active-duty military personnel and 479 civilian personnel in Minnesota. In 2004 Minnesota firms received about $1.33 billion in defense contracts, and Defense Department payroll amounted to $708 million.

As of 2003, there were 426,591 veterans of US military service living in Minnesota. Of these, 59,307 served in World War II; 52,341 in the Korean conflict; 140,907 during the Vietnam era; and 51,141 in the Gulf War. Expenditures on veterans exceeded $1.0 billion in 2004.

As of 31 October 2004, the Minnesota Highway Patrol employed 545 full-time sworn officers


A succession of migratory waves began in the 17th and 18th centuries with the arrival of the Dakota and Ojibwa, among other Indian groups, followed during the 19th century by New England Yankees, Germans, Scandinavians, and finally southern and eastern Europeans. Especially since 1920, new arrivals from other states and countries have been relatively few, and the state experienced a net loss from migration of 80,000 between 1970 and 1980. The trend was almost halted in the 1980s when immigration nearly equaled emigration. Between 1990 and 1998, Minnesota had net gains of 71,000 in domestic migration and 47,000 in international migration. In 1998, 6,981 foreign immigrants entered the state. Minnesota's overall population increased 8% between 1990 and 1998.

Within the state, there has been a long-term movement to metropolitan areas, especially to the suburbs of major cities; from 1970 to 1983, the state's metropolitan population grew by nearly 1% annually. The urban population increased from 66.8% to 69.9% during the 1980s and, leveling off somewhat, ranged between 68.8% and 69.7% in the 1990s. From 1980 to 1990, the population of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area grew 15.5%; it grew another 8.9% between 1990 and 1996. In the period 200005, net international migration was 70,800 and net internal migration was 16,768, for a net gain of 54,032 people.


Relations with the Council of State Governments are conducted through the Minnesota Commission on Interstate Cooperation, consisting of five members from each house of the state legislature and five administrative officers or other state employees; in addition, the governor, the president of the Senate, and the speaker of the House are nonvoting members. Minnesota also participates in the Great Lakes Charter, which it formed with seven other states in 1985 to preserve the lakes' water supply, and in other regional compacts. Minnesota is a party to the Boundary Compact Between Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; the Great Lakes Commission; the Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission; and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. Minnesota received $5.493 billion in federal grants in fiscal year 2005, an estimated $5.154 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $5.783 billion in fiscal year 2007.


Furs, wheat, pine lumber, and high-grade iron ore were once the basis of Minnesota's economy. As these resources diminished, however, the state turned to wood pulp, dairy products, corn and soybeans, taconite, and manufacturing, often in such food-related industries as meat-packing, canning, and the processing of dairy products. The leading sources of income in Minnesota have shifted again in the late 1990s. Manufacturing as a percent of total state output fell from 18.5% in 1997 to 13.7% in 2004, although there was net growth in manufacturing output from 1997 to 2001 of 5.8% compared to an output growth of 32.5% from general services; 27.9% from the trade sector; 26.1% from financial services; and 25.8% from government services. Minnesota's economy grew robustly at the end of the 1990s7% in 1997, 5.2% in 1999, and 8.5% in 2000, but the annual growth rate plummeted to 1% in the recession of 2001. In 2002, employment declined more rapidly than in the country as a whole because of the large share of Minnesota workers in sectors most affected by the national slowdown: manufacturing, information technology, and airline industries. Office vacancy rates in metropolitan areas increased from 12.2% in 2001 to 19.6% in 2002, above the national average of 16.5%. On the other hand, having escaped the drought conditions that afflicted many other states, corn and soybean harvests were large in 2002, and Minnesota growers were in a position to benefit from drought-induced higher prices for both crops. The dairy sector, however, faced historically low prices, increasing the number of dairy producers leaving the industry.

Minnesota's gross state product in 2005 was $233 billion, up from $223.822 billion in 2004, when manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $30.670 billion (13.7% of GSP), followed by the real estate sector at $24.875 billion (11.1% of GSP), and healthcare and social assistance at $17.637 billion (7.8% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 464,946 small businesses in Minnesota. Of the 134,438 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 131,674 or 97.9% were small companies. An estimated 15,167 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 3.5% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 15,209, down 15.2% from 2003. There were 1,374 business bankruptcies in 2004, down 0.4% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 391 filings per 100,000 people, ranking Minnesota as 40th in the nation.


In 2005 Minnesota had a gross state product (GSP) of $233 billion which accounted for 1.9% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 17 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Minnesota had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $36,184. This ranked eighth in the United States and was 109% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.6%. Minnesota had a total personal income (TPI) of $184,413,901,000, which ranked 17th in the United States and reflected an increase of 6.4% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.7%. Earnings of persons employed in Minnesota increased from $138,475,249,000 in 2003 to $147,971,949,000 in 2004, an increase of 6.9%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 2002 to 2004 in 2004 dollars was $55,914, compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 7.0% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Minnesota numbered 2,946,100, with approximately 119,600 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 4.1%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 2,756,800. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Minnesota was 9% in November 1982. The historical low was 2.5% in April 1999. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 4.7% of the labor force was employed in construction; 12.5% in manufacturing; 19.3% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 6.6% in financial activities; 11.3% in professional and business services; 14.2% in education and health services; 9.1% in leisure and hospitality services; and 15.2% in government.

The history of unionization in the state includes several long and bitter labor disputes, notably the Iron Range strike of 1916, the Teamsters' strike of 1934, and the Hormel strike of 198586. The earliest known unionstwo printers' locals, established in the late 1850sdied out during the Civil War, and several later unions faded in the panic of 1873. The Knights of Labor were the dominant force of the 1880s. The next decade saw the rise of the Minnesota State Federation of Labor, whose increasing political influence bore fruit in the landmark Workmen's Compensation Act of 1913 and the subsequent ascension of the Farmer-Labor Party. The legislature enacted a fair employment practices law in 1955 and passed a measure in 1973 prescribing collective-bargaining procedures for public employees and granting them a limited right to strike.

The BLS reported that in 2005, a total of 392,000 of Minnesota's 2,494,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 15.7% of those so employed, down from 17.5% in 2004, but still above the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 410,000 workers (16.4%) in Minnesota were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Minnesota is one of 28 states that does not have a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, Minnesota had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $6.15 per hour for employers having annual receipts of $625,000 or more, and a rate of $5.25 per hour for employers under that total. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 47.5% of the employed civilian labor force.


Cash receipts from farm marketings totaled over $9 billion in 2005, placing Minnesota sixth among the 50 states; crops made up about 47% of the total value. For 2004, Minnesota ranked first in the production of sugar beets, sweet corn for processing, and green peas for processing; second in spring wheat, third in alfalfa hay; fourth in corn, oats, soybeans, and flaxseed; and sixth in barley and durum wheat.

The early farmers settled in the wooded hills and valleys in the southeastern quarter of the state, where they had to cut down trees and dig up stumps to make room for crops. With the coming of the railroads, farmers began planting the prairies with wheat, which by the late 1870s took up 70% of all farm acreage. In succeeding decades, wheat prices fell and railroad rates soared, fanning agrarian discontent. Farmers began to diversify, with dairy farming, oats, and corn becoming increasingly important. Improved corn yields since the 1940s have spurred the production of hogs and beef cattle and the growth of meat-packing as a major industry.

As of 2004, the state had 79,800 farms, covering 27,600,000 acres (11,200,000 hectares), or 51% of the state's total land area; the average farm had 346 acres (140 hectares). The number of people living on farms steadily declined from 624,000 in 1960 to 482,000 in 1970, and by 2002 there were only 66,996 persons residing on the farms they operated. The value of farmland rose between 2000 and 2004, from $1,320 per acre to $1,800. Minnesota's farmers faced acute financial troubles during the early 1980s as a result of heavy debts, high interest rates, and generally low crop prices.

The main farming areas are in southern Minnesota, where corn, soybeans, and oats are important, and in a Red River Valley along the western border, where wheat, barley, sugar beets, and potatoes are among the chief crops.

Agribusiness is Minnesota's largest basic industry, with about one-fourth of the state's labor force employed in agriculture or agriculture-related industries, most notably food processing.


Excluding the northeast, livestock-raising is dispersed throughout the state, with cattle concentrated particularly in west-central Minnesota and in the extreme southeast, and hogs along the southern border.

In 2005, the state had an estimated 2.4 million cattle and calves, valued at nearly $2.3 billion. The state had 6.5 million hogs and pigs, valued at $780 million in 2004. Minnesota produced more turkey in 2003 than any other state: 1.2 billion lb (0.55 billion kg), worth $425.3 million. Also during 2003, the state produced 13.8 million lb (6.3 million kg) of sheep and lambs, which brought in a total of nearly $13.3 million.

The state's total of 8.3 billion lb (4 billion kg) of milk outproduced all but five states in 2003. Production of broilers in 2003 was 228.5 million lb (103.4 million kg), worth around $77.7 million, and egg output in the same year was 2.9 billion, worth $146.4 million.


Commercial fishermen in 2004 landed 323,000 lb (146,800 kg) of fish valued at $187,000. The catch included herring and smelts from Lake Superior, whitefish and yellow pike from large inland lakes, and carp and catfish from the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. In 2001, the commercial fleet had about 25 boats and vessels.

Sport fishing attracts some 1.5 million anglers annually to the state's 2.6. million acres (1.1 million hectares) of fishing lakes and 7,000 mi (11,000 km) of fishing streams, which are stocked with trout, bass, pike, muskellunge, and other fish by the Division of Fish and Wildlife of the Department of Natural Resources. Federal funds allocated for sport fish restoration projects totaled $10.8 million in 2005/06. In 2004, there were 1,467,677 sports fishing licenses issued in the state, second highest after Texas.


Forests, which originally occupied two-thirds of Minnesota's land area, have been depleted by lumbering, farming, and forest fires. As of 2004, forestland covered 16,230,000 acres (6,568,000 hectares), or over 30% of the state's total land area. Most of the forestland is in the north, especially in Arrowhead Country in the northeast. Of the 14,723,000 acres (5,958,000 hectares) of commercial timberland, less than half is privately owned and more than one-third is under state, county, or municipal jurisdiction. In 2004, lumber production totaled 265 million board feet, 45% hardwoods and 55% soft woods. Over half of the timber that is harvested is used in paper products, and about one-third for wood products. Mills that process raw logs account for half of all forest and forest-product employment in Minnesota.

The state's two national forests are Superior (2,094,946 acres/847,825 hectares) and Chippewa (666,541 acres/269,749 hectares). The Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, promotes effective management of the forest environment and seeks to restrict forest fire occurrence to 1,100 fires annually, burning no more than 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) in all.

More than 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) are planted each year with trees by the wood fiber industry, other private interests, and federal, state, and county forest servicesmore than enough to replace those harvested or destroyed by fire, insects, or disease.


According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by Minnesota in 2003 was $1.23 billion, a decrease from 2002 of about 5%. The USGS data ranked Minnesota as 11th among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for around 3% of total US output.

By value (in descending order), Minnesota's top nonfuel mineral commodities in 2003 were iron ore, construction sand and gravel, crushed stone, industrial sand and gravel, dimension stone, and lime. Minnesota in 2003 was the nation's top producer of iron ore, was third in peat, and sixth in construction sand and gravel.

According to preliminary data for 2003, production of usable iron ore totaled 34.8 million metric tons and was valued at $969 million, while construction sand and gravel output that year stood at 47 million metric tons and was valued at $188 million. Crushed stone output in 2003 totaled 9.8 million metric tons and was valued at $57.3 million. Minnesota in 2003 was also a producer of common clays and dimension stone.


As of 2003, Minnesota had 179 electrical power service providers, of which 125 were publicly owned and 47 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, five were investor owned, one was federally operated, and one was an owner of an independent generator that sold directly to customers. As of that same year there were 2,410,903 retail customers. Of that total, 1,398,351 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 675,996 customers, while publicly owned providers had 336,550 customers. There were five federal customers and only one independent generator or "facility" customer.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 11.486 million k W, with total production that same year at 55.050 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 90.1% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 35.655 billion kWh (64.8%), came from coal-fired plants, with nuclear plants in second place at 13.413 billion kWh (24.4%) and other renewable power sources in third at 2.410 billion kWh (4.4%). Natural gas power plants accounted for 3.3% of all power generated, followed by petroleum fueled plants at 1.6%, hydroelectric at 1.5%, and other types of generating facilities at 0.1%.

As of 2006, Minnesota had two nuclear power plants: the Monticello plant near Monticello and the Prairie Island plant in Red Wing.

Minnesota's 7 million acres (2.8 million hectares) of peat lands, the state's only known fossil fuel resource, constitute nearly half of the US total (excluding Alaska). If burned directly, the accessible fuel-quality peat deposit could substantially supplement Minnesota's energy needs. As of 2004, the state had no proven reserves or production of crude oil and natural gas. As of 2005, Minnesota's two refineries had a capacity of 335,000 barrels per day.


Minnesota's vast wealth of natural resources, especially the state's extensive timberlands and fertile prairie, was the basis for Minnesota's early industrial development. In the late 19th century, Minneapolis was the nation's flour milling center. By the early 20th century, canning and meat packing were among the state's largest industries.

While food and food products remain an important part of the state's economy, the state's economy has diversified significantly from these early beginnings. As of the early 2000s, the state looks primarily to high technology industries such as computer manufacturing, printing and publishing, scientific instrument manufacturing, and fabricated metal production, for revenues.

According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Minnesota's manufacturing sector covered some 20 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $88.472 billion. Of that total, food manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $16.841 billion. It was followed by computer and electronic product manufacturing at $11.898 billion; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $7.357 billion; transportation equipment manufacturing at $7.105 billion; and machinery manufacturing at $7.080 billion.

In 2004, a total of 325,601 people in Minnesota were employed in the state's manufacturing sector. Of that total, 214,788 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 44,845, with 20,519 actual production workers. It was followed by food manufacturing at 42,337 employees (32,182 actual production workers); fabricated metal product manufacturing at 39,238 employees (27,531 actual production workers); machinery manufacturing at 31,238 employees (18,790 actual production workers); and printing and related support activities with 29,224 employees (19,967 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that Minnesota's manufacturing sector paid $14.210 billion in wages. Of that amount, the computer and electronic product manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $2.631 billion. It was followed by fabricated metal product manufacturing at $1.768 billion; food manufacturing at $1.513 billion; machinery manufacturing at $1.472 billion; and printing and related support activities at $1.161 billion.


Access to the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, helps make Minnesota a major marketing and distribution center for the upper Midwest.

According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Minnesota's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $108.3 billion from 8,884 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 5,022 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 2,749 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 1,113 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $46.7 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $46.6 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $14.9 billion.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Minnesota was listed as having 21,129 retail establishments with sales of $60.01 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: gasoline stations (2,605); food and beverage stores (2,551); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (2,461); miscella-neous store retailers (2,447); and clothing and clothing accessories stores (2,298). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts stores accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $14.8 billion, followed by general merchandise stores at $8.6 billion; food and beverage stores at $8.5 billion; and building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers at $6.1 billion. A total of 306,571 people were employed by the retail sector in Minnesota that year.

Exports of manufactured goods to foreign countries amounted to $14.7 billion in 2005. Manufactured exports included computers and computer software, electronic equipment, scientific instruments, and transportation equipment. Dairy products, feed grains, soybeans, and wheat were the largest agricultural commodity exports by total value.


The Minnesota Attorney General's Office enforces Minnesota's laws against false advertising, consumer fraud, and deceptive trade practices. The Consumer Protection Division answers consumer questions and mediates consumer complaints, attempting to resolve the complaints through a voluntary mediation program. The Attorney General's office also produces brochures and booklets on a wide variety of consumer topics, including landlords and tenants, new-car buying, home building, credit, and debt collection.

When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General's Office can initiate civil but not criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; handle formal consumer complaints; and exercise limited subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; and initiate criminal proceedings. However, the Attorney General cannot represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.

The Consumer Protection Division is located in St. Paul. Also, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office in Minneapolis offers consumer protection services, as does the Minneapolis Division of Licenses and Consumer Services.


As of June 2005, Minnesota had 470 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 102 state-chartered and 69 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 176 institutions and $56.362 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 16.5% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $12.948 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 83.5% or $65.360 billion in assets held.

As of 2004, the median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered to savers and the higher rates charged on loans) stood at 4.37%, up from 4.33% in 2003; by 2005 the rate was 4.46%. The median percentage of past-due/nonaccrual loans to total loans was 1.44% in 2005, up slightly from 1.38% in 2004 but down from 1.65% in 2003.


Minnesotans held over 2.8 million life insurance policies valued at about $268 billion as of 2004; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was over $469 billion. The average coverage amount is $94,900 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $969.6 million.

As of 2003, there were 49 property and casualty and 13 life and health insurance companies incorporated or organized in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled $8.7 billion. That year, there were 8,391 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $1.2 billion. About $2.79 billion of coverage was held through FAIR plans, which are designed to offer coverage for some natural circumstances, such as wind and hail, in high risk areas.

In 2004, 64% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 7% held individual policies, and 19% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 9% of residents were uninsured. Minnesota has the lowest percentage of uninsured residents in the nation; the state also ranks as having the highest percentage of employment-based insureds. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 16% for single coverage and 25% for family coverage. The state offers an 18-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were over 3.4 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $30,000 per individual and $60,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $10,000. Personal injury protection, underinsured, and uninsured motorist coverage are also mandatory. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $836.12.


The Minneapolis Grain Exchange, founded in 1881 as the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, is the state's major commodity exchange. The MGE is used primarily for the pricing of grains. Enforcement of statutes governing securities, franchises, and corporate takeovers (as well as charitable organizations, public cemeteries, collection agencies, and bingo) is the responsibility of the Securities Division of the Department of Commerce.

In 2005, there were 1,400 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 7,410 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 225 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 115 NASDAQ companies, 45 NYSE listings, and 7 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had 19 Fortune 500 companies; Target (based in Minneapolis) ranked first in the state and 29th in the nation with revenues of over $52.6 billion, followed by UnitedHealth Group (Minnetonka), Best Buy (Richfield), St. Paul Travelers Co. (St. Paul), and 3M (St. Paul). All five companies are listed on the NYSE.


Minnesota spends a relatively large amount on state government and local assistance, especially on a per capita basis. The state budget is prepared by the Department of Finance and submitted biennially by the governor to the legislature for amendment and approval. The fiscal year (FY) runs from 1 July to 30 June.

Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at nearly $16.7 billion for resources and $15.8 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Minnesota were $7.2 billion.

MinnesotaState government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 29,708,220 5,828.57
  General revenue 24,217,043 4,751.23
    Intergovernmental revenue 6,379,798 1,251.68
    Taxes 14,734,921 2,890.90
      General sales 4,066,790 797.88
      Selective sales 2,317,528 454.68
      License taxes 941,783 184.77
      Individual income tax 5,709,584 1,120.19
      Corporate income tax 637,183 125.01
      Other taxes 1,062,053 208.37
    Current charges 1,903,656 373.49
    Miscellaneous general revenue 1,198,668 235.17
  Utility revenue - -
  Liquor store revenue - -
  Insurance trust revenue 5,491,177 1,077.34
Total expenditure 28,831,675 5,656.60
  Intergovernmental expenditure 9,638,153 1,890.95
  Direct expenditure 19,193,522 3,765.65
    Current operation 13,399,569 2,628.91
    Capital outlay 1,312,133 257.43
    Insurance benefits and repayments 3,346,880 656.64
    Assistance and subsidies 756,958 148.51
    Interest on debt 377,982 74.16
Exhibit: Salaries and wages 3,928,883 770.82
Total expenditure 28,831,675 5,656.60
  General expenditure 25,383,736 4,980.13
    Imergovernmental expenditure 9,638,153 1,890.95
    Direct expenditure 15,745,583 3,089.19
  General expenditures, by function:
    Education 9,872,467 1,936.92
    Public welfare 8,047,983 1,578.96
    Hospitals 191,650 37.60
    dealth 516,458 101.33
    Highways 1,823,163 357.69
    Police protection 212,528 41.70
    Correction 411,061 80.65
    Natural resources 465,387 91.31
    Parks and recreation 160,839 31.56
    Government administration 655,093 128.53
    interest on general debt 377,982 74.16
    Dther and unallocable 2,649,125 519.74
  Utility expenditure 101,059 190.83
  Liquor store expenditure - -
  Insurance trust expenditure 3,346,880 656.64
Debt at end of fiscal year 6,665,669 1,307.76
Cash and security holdings 50,533,430 9,914.35

On 5 January 2006 the federal government released $100 million in emergency contingency funds targeted to the areas with the greatest need, including $4.2 million for Minnesota.


In 2005, Minnesota collected $15,881 million in tax revenues or $3,094 per capita, which placed it sixth among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Property taxes accounted for 3.9% of the total, sales taxes 26.5%, selective sales taxes 15.3%, individual income taxes 39.9%, corporate income taxes 5.9%, and other taxes 8.5%.

As of 1 January 2006, Minnesota had three individual income tax brackets ranging from 5.35 to 7.85%. The state taxes corporations at a flat rate of 9.8%.

In 2004, state and local property taxes amounted to $4,920,174,000 or $965 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state 27th nationally. Local governments collected $4,312,311,000 of the total and the state government $607,863,000.

Minnesota taxes retail sales at a rate of 6.50%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 1%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 7.50%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is tax exempt. The tax on cigarettes is 123 cents per pack, which ranks 14th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Minnesota taxes gasoline at 20 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Minnesota citizens received $0.69 in federal spending.


Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) offers a variety of programs to encourage expansion of existing industries and to attract new industry to the state. The department extends loans to small businesses for capital investments that create or retain jobs. It awards grants to new or expanding companies in rural areas and provides limited guarantees to private lenders for loans given to start-up companies. The Minnesota Trade Office assists with the financing of small business exports. The state offers grants to depressed communities to help them retain or attract business or to rebuild their infrastructure. Minnesota's corporate income tax is structured to favor companies having relatively large payrolls and property (as opposed to sales) within the state. In 2006, an initiative called Positively Minnesota was guiding economic development efforts. The primary goal was to capture a great share of business expansions. As a group, Positively Minnesota included economic developers, utilities and private firms as well as the DEED. Beginning in 2004, the Job Opportunity Building Zones (JOBZ) project was launched: it is a rural economic development stimulus program. The program provides substantial tax relief to companies that start up or expand in targeted areas of Minnesota. The program identifies 10 zones encompassing more than 300 communities in every region of the state (except in the seven Twin Cities metropolitan counties). The program was to expire in 2015.


Shortly after the founding of Minnesota Territory, promoters attracted new settlers partly by proclaiming the tonic benefits of Minnesota's soothing landscape and cool, bracing climate; the area was trumpeted as a haven for retirees and for those afflicted with malaria or tuberculosis.

The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 5.2 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 13.9 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 13.5 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 86.5% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 85% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.

The crude death rate in 2003 was 7.1 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 171.4; cancer, 183.5; cerebrovascular diseases, 53.9; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 39.3; and diabetes, 26.2. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 1.1 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 4.3 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 57.6% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 20.6% of state residents were smokers.

In 2003, Minnesota had 131 community hospitals with about 16,400 beds. There were about 615,000 patient admissions that year and 9.1 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 11,300 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,109. Also in 2003, there were about 425 certified nursing facilities in the state with 39,336 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 92.1%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 79.7% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year; this was the second-highest dental care percentage in the nation (following Connecticut). Minnesota had 283 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 962 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 3,069 dentists in the state.

About 19% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 9% of the state population was uninsured in 2004; representing the lowest uninsured rate in the country. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $6.9 million.

The Mayo Clinic, developed by Drs. Charles H. and William J. Mayo in the 1890s and early 1900s, was the first private clinic in the United States and became a world-renowned center for surgery. In 2005, it was ranked second on the Honor Roll of Best Hospitals 2005 by U.S. News & World Report. In the same report, it ranked second for best care in heart disease and heart surgery and fifth for best care in cancer. The separate Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, founded and endowed by the Mayo brothers in 1915, was subsequently affiliated with the University of Minnesota, which became the first US institution to offer graduate education in surgery and other branches of clinical medicine.


In 2004, about 147,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $318. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 259,937 persons (124,398 households); the average monthly benefit was about $88.16 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $274.9 million.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Minnesota's TANF program is called Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). In 2004, the state program had 88,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $193 million in fiscal year 2003.

In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 775,050 Minnesota residents. This number included 517,510 retired workers, 76,260 widows and widowers, 84,830 disabled workers, 44,770 spouses, and 51,680 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 15.2% of the total state population and 93.8% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $955; widows and widowers, $925; disabled workers, $879; and spouses, $480. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $505 per month; children of deceased workers, $673; and children of disabled workers, $260. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 70,745 Minnesota residents, averaging $398 a month. An additional $7.7 million of state-administered supplemental payments were distributed to 40,320 residents.


In 2004, Minnesota had an estimated 2,212,701 housing units, of which 2,054,900 were occupied. That year, Minnesota had the highest rate of homeownership in the nation with 75.3% of all housing units being owner-occupied. About 68% of all units were single-family, detached homes. Most units rely on utility gas and electricity for heating. It was estimated that 53,332 units lacked telephone service, 9,065 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 9,270 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.41 members.

In 2004, 41,800 new units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $181,135. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,260. Renters paid a median of $673 per month. In September 2005, the state received a grant of $362,500 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $20.9 million in community development block grants.


Minnesota's first public school system was authorized in 1849, but significant growth in enrollment did not occur until after the Civil War. In 2004, 92.3% of Minnesotans age 25 or older were high school graduates, far exceeding the national average of 84%. Some 32.5% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to the national average of 26%.

The total enrollment for fall 2002 in Minnesota's public schools stood at 847,000. Of these, 568,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 279,000 attended high school. Approximately 80.2% of the students were white, 7.8% were black, 4.6% were Hispanic, 5.4% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 2.1% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 836,000 in fall 2003 but was expected to be 826,000 by fall 2014, a decline of 2.5% during the period 2002 to 2014. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $8.6 billion. In fall 2003, there were 93,935 students enrolled in 568 private schools. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in Minnesota scored 290 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.

As of fall 2002, there were 323,791 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 11.7% of total postsecondary enrollment. In 2005 Minnesota had 113 degree-granting institutions. The state's public postsecondary education system is overseen by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) and includes three areas: the state university systemwith campuses at Bemidji, Mankato, Marshall, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Moorhead, St. Cloud, and Winona; the community college system, and a statewide network of area vocational-technical institutes. The University of Minnesota (founded as an academy in 1851) has campuses in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris, and Crookston. The state's oldest private college, Hamline University in St. Paul, was founded in 1854 and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. There are more than 20 private colleges, many of them with ties to Lutheran or Roman Catholic religious authorities. Carleton College, at Northfield, is a notable independent institution.

Minnesota has an extensive program of student grants, work-study arrangements, and loan programs, in addition to reciprocal tuition arrangements with Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota.


State and regional arts groups as well as individual artists are supported by state and federal grants administered through the Minnesota State Arts Board, an 11-member panel appointed by the governor. In 2005, the Minnesota State Arts Board and other Minnesota arts organizations received 57 grants totaling $3,319,100 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The State Arts Board was also given funding from the state and from private sources. The Minnesota Humanities Commission (MHC) was founded in 1971. As of 2006 the MHC offered public programs such as the "Humanities Foundations," which provided family literacy programs and Teacher Institutes and "Learning in Retirement," which promoted adult learning through senior organizations. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $1,503,460 to 19 state programs.

The Ordway Music Theater in St. Paul, which has two concert halls, opened in January 1985. The Ordway is the home of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera Company, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. The privately owned nonprofit theater was built for about $45 million and was founded with funding from the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corp. and other private sources. In 1999, the Ordway received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to use interactive video-conferencing technology to develop an "electronic field trip" accessible to student audiences across the state.

The St. Olaf College Choir, at Northfield, has a national reputation. The Tyrone Guthrie Theater, founded in Minneapolis in 1963, is one of the nation's most prestigious repertory companies; it moved to a location overlooking the Mississippi River in 2006. The Minnesota Ballet is based in Duluth.

Literary arts are active in the state. The Loft, founded in 1974 in Minneapolis, is considered to be one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive literary centers and offers programs for readers, mentoring programs for writers, grants and awards for writers, and publications, among other services.

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is an innovative museum with an outstanding contemporary collection. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts exhibits more traditional works with a permanent collection of over 100,000 pieces spanning 5,000 years of world history. The Weisman Art Museum of the University of Minnesota is in Minneapolis, and the Minnesota Museum of Art is in St. Paul.


In 2001, Minnesota had an estimated 140 public library systems, with a total of 359 libraries, of which 232 were branches. The total number of books and serial publications that year was 14,414,000 volumes, with audio and video items totaling 651,000 and 488,000, respectively. Library circulation reached 43,843,000. The system also operated 17 bookmobiles. The largest single public library system is the 15-library Minneapolis Public Library and Information Center (founded in 1885); its new Central Library opened in 2006. The leading academic library, with 5,747,805 volumes, is that maintained by the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis. Special libraries include the James Jerome Hill Reference Library (devoted to commerce and transportation) and the library of the Minnesota Historical Society, both located in St. Paul. Nearly all public, academic, school, and special libraries participate in one of the seven library system networks that facilitate resource sharing. In 2001, operating income for the state's public library system was estimated at $149 million, including $642,000 in federal grants and $10 million in state grants.

There are more than 164 museums and historic sites. In addition to several noted museums of the visual arts, Minnesota is home to the Mayo Medical Museum at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The Minnesota Historical Society Museum offers rotating exhibits on varied aspects of the state's history. In May 1996, the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post opened its doors. Historic sites include the Split Rock Lighthouse on the north shore of Lake Superior, Historic Fort Snelling in the Twin Cities, the boyhood home of Charles Lindbergh in Little Falls, and the Sauk Centre home of Sinclair Lewis.


As of 2004, 97.1% of Minnesota's occupied housing units had telephones. Additionally, by June of that same year there were 2,832,079 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 67.9% of Minnesota households had a computer and 61.6% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 723,484 high-speed lines in Minnesota, 655,837 residential and 67,647 for business.

Commercial broadcasting began with the opening of the first radio station in 1922; as of 2005 there were 135 major radio stations33 AM and 102 FMand 20 major television stations. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area had 1,481,050 television households, 54% of which received cable as of 1999.

As of 2000, a total of 116,792 Internet domain names had been registered in Minnesota.


The Minnesota Pioneer, whose first issue was printed on a small hand press and distributed by the publisher himself on 28 April 1849 in St. Paul, vies with the Minnesota Register (its first issue was dated earlier but may have appeared later) for the honor of being Minnesota's first newspaper. Over the next 10 years, in any case, nearly 100 newspapers appeared at locations throughout the territory, including direct ancestors of many present-day publications. In April 1982, Minneapolis's daily newspapers were merged into the Minneapolis Star Tribune. As of 2005, the state had 15 morning dailies, 10 evening dailies, and 15 Sunday papers.

The following table lists the leading dailies, with their average circulations in 2005:

Duluth News Tribune (m,S) 46,460 69,471
Minneapolis Star Tribune (m,S) 381,094 678,650
St. Paul Pioneer Press (m,S) 191,264 254,078

As of 2005, 333 weekly newspapers were being published in Minnesota. Among the most widely read magazines published in Minnesota were Family Handyman, appearing 11 times a year; Catholic Digest, a religious monthly; and Snow Goer, published six times a year for snowmobile enthusiasts.


In 2006, there were over 8,805 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 5,694 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious.

The Minnesota Historical Society, founded in 1849, is the oldest educational organization in the state and the official custodian of its history. The society is partly supported by state funds, as are such other semistate organizations as the Academy of Science (which promotes interest in science among high school students), the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, and the Humane Society. The Sons of Norway and American Swedish Institute, both with headquarters in Minneapolis, seek to preserve the state's Scandinavian heritage. The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International is based in St. Paul.

The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is based in Rochester. The National Scholastic Press Association is based in Minneapolis. The Organic Consumers Association, established in 1998, is based in the town of Finland.

Hobbyist and sport associations with headquarters in Minnesota include the American Coaster Enthusiasts, the North American Fishing Club, and North American Hunting Club.

The National Marrow Donor Program is based in Minneapolis, as is the National Council of the United States, International Organization of Good Templars.


In 2004, the state hosted some 28.6 million travelers, with 50% of all tourist activity involving Minnesota residents touring their own state. About 11.7 million visitors were from out of state, primarily from one of the following states: Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, Illinois, California, South Dakota, Michigan, Texas, Missouri, and Florida. Shopping was the most popular tourist activity for out-of-state visitors. Total travel expenditures for 2004 reached $9.2 billion, which included support for over 233,000 jobs. More than 40% of tourists visited the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

With its lakes and parks, ski trails and campsites, and historical and cultural attractions, Minnesota provides ample recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Minnesota's attractions include the 220,000-acre (80,000-hectare) Voyageurs National Park near the Canadian border; Grand Portage National Monument, in Arrowhead Country, a former fur-trading center with a restored trading post; and Pipestone National Monument, in southwestern Minnesota, containing the red pipestone quarry used by Indians to make peace pipes. Lumbertown USA, a restored 1870s lumber community, is in Brainerd, and the US Hockey Hall of Fame is in Eveleth. The city of Ely has the International Wolf Center. Harmony features Niagara Cave with an underground waterfall. Minneapolis is famous for the Mall of America, a huge indoor commercial and entertainment center featuring stores, rides, a beach, skating rink, movies, and restaurants. The Minnesota Zoo is located about 20 mi (30 km) south of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Between Redwood Falls and Jackson, tourists can view the Jeffers Petroglyphs dating from 3000 bc.

The state maintains and operates 66 parks, 9,240 mi (14,870 km) of trails, 10 scenic and natural areas, 5 recreation areas, and 18 canoe and boating routes. Minnesota also has 288 primary wildlife refuges. Many visitors hunt deer, muskrat, squirrel, beaver, duck, pheasant, and grouse. Others enjoy boating each year on Minnesota's scenic waterways. Winter sports have gained in popularity, and many parks are now used heavily all year round. Snowmobiling, though it has declined somewhat since the mid-1970s, still attracts enthusiasts annually, and cross-country skiing has rapidly accelerated in popularity.


Five of the major professional sports currently have teams in Minnesota: the Twins of Major League Baseball, the Vikings of the National Football League, the Lynx of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Wild of the National Hockey League, and the Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association. The Twins won the World Series in 1924, 1987, and 1991. The Vikings have gone to the Super Bowl four times, losing each one. The Minnesota North Stars of the National Hockey League moved to Dallas in 1993, but a new NHL team, the Minnesota Wild, began play in 2000.

In collegiate sports, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers compete in the Big Ten Conference. The football team won the Rose Bowl in 1962, while the basketball team won the Big Ten title and advanced to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Four in 1997. The university is probably best known for its ice hockey team, which won the NCAA title in 1974, 1976, 1979, 2002, and 2003, and supplied the coach, Herb Brooks, and many of the players for the gold medal-winning US team in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Other annual sporting events include the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race between Duluth and Grand Marais in January or early February, and auto racing at the Brainerd International Raceway in July and August. Alpine and cross-country skiing are popular.

Tracy Caulkins, Roger Maris, and Kevin McHale, past stars in swimming, baseball, and basketball, respectively, were all born in Minnesota.


No Minnesotan has been elected to the US presidency, but several have sought the office, including two who served as vice president. Hubert Horatio Humphrey (b.South Dakota, 191178) was vice president under Lyndon Johnson and a serious contender for the presidency in 1960, 1968, and 1972. A onetime mayor of Minneapolis, the "Happy Warrior" entered the US Senate in 1949, winning recognition as a vigorous proponent of liberal causes; after he left the vice presidency, Humphrey won reelection to the Senate in 1970. Humphrey's protégé, Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale (b.1928), a former state attorney general, was appointed to fill Humphrey's Senate seat in 1964, was elected to it twice, and after an unsuccessful try for the presidency, became Jimmy Carter's running mate in 1976; four years later, Mondale and Carter ran unsuccessfully for reelection, losing to Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and chose US Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro of New York as his running mate, making her the first woman to be nominated by a major party for national office; they were overwhelmingly defeated by Reagan and Bush, winning only 41% of the popular vote and carrying only Minnesota and the District of Columbia. Warren Earl Burger (190795) of St. Paul was named chief justice of the US Supreme Court in 1969. Three other Minnesotans have served on the court: Pierce Butler (18661939), William O. Douglas (18981980), and Harry A. Blackmun (b.Illinois, 190897).

Senator Frank B. Kellogg (b.New York, 18561937), who as secretary of state helped to negotiate the Kellogg-Briand Pact renouncing war as an instrument of national policy (for which he won the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize), also served on the Permanent Court of International Justice. Other political leaders who won national attention include governors John A. Johnson (18611909), Floyd B. Olson (18911936), and Harold E. Stassen (19072001), a frequent presidential candidate beginning in 1948. Eugene J. McCarthy (19162005), who served in the US Senate, was the central figure in a national protest movement against the Vietnam war and, in that role, unsuccessfully sought the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination won by Humphrey. McCarthy also ran for the presidency as an independent in 1976.

Several Minnesotans besides Kellogg have served in cabinet posts. Minnesota's first territorial governor, Alexander Ramsey (18151903), later served as a secretary of war, and Senator William Windom (182791) was also secretary of the treasury. Others serving in cabinet posts have included William DeWitt Mitchell (18741955), attorney general; Maurice H. Stans (190898), secretary of commerce; James D. Hodgson (b.1915), secretary of labor; and Orville Freeman (19182003) and Bob Bergland (b.1928), both secretaries of agriculture. The first woman ambassador in US history was Eugenie M. Anderson (Iowa, 190997), like Humphrey an architect of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

Notable members of Congress include Knute Nelson (b.Norway, 18431923), who served in the Senate from 1895 to his death; Henrik Shipstead (18811960), who evolved into a leading Republican isolationist during 24 years in the Senate; Representative Andrew J. Volstead (18601947), who sponsored the 1919 prohibition act that bears his name; and Representative Walter Judd (18981994), a prominent leader of the so-called China Lobby.

The Mayo Clinic was founded in Minnesota by Dr. William W. Mayo (b.England, 18191911) and developed through the efforts of his sons, Drs. William H. (18611939) and Charles H. (18651939) Mayo. Oil magnate J. Paul Getty (18921976) was a Minnesota native, as was Richard W. Sears (18631914), founder of Sears, Roebuck.

Prominent literary figures, besides Sinclair Lewis, include Ignatius Donnelly (b.Pennsylvania, 18311901), a writer, editor, and Populist Party crusader; F. Scott Fitzgerald (18961940), well known for classic novels including The Great Gatsby; and Ole Edvart Rølvaag (b.Norway, 18761931), who conveyed the reality of the immigrant experience in his Giants in the Earth. The poet and critic Allen Tate (b.Kentucky, 18991979) taught for many years at the University of Minnesota.

Journalist Westbrook Pegler (18941969) and cartoonist Charles Schulz (19222000) were both born in Minnesota as was radio personality and author Garrison Keillor (b.1942), who gained nationwide fame playfully satirizing his home state through the fictitious town of Lake Wobegon. Architects LeRoy S. Buffington (18471937) and Cass Gilbert (b.Ohio, 18591934) and economist Thorstein Veblen (b.Wisconsin, 18571929) influenced their fields well beyond the state's borders, as did Minnesota artists Wanda Gag (18931946) and Adolph Dehn (18951968).

Minnesota-born entertainers include Judy Garland (Frances Gumm, 192269) and Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman, b.1941). Football star William "Pudge" Heffelfinger (18671954) was a Minnesota native, and Bronislaw "Bronco" Nagurski (b.Canada, 19081990) played for the University of Minnesota.

Daniel Greysolon, Sieur Duluth (b.France, 16361710), Father Louis Hennepin (b.Flanders, 1640?1701), and Jonathan Carver (b.Massachusetts, 171080) were among the early explorers and chroniclers of what is now the State of Minnesota. Fur trader Henry H. Sibley (b.Michigan, 181191) was a key political leader in the territorial period and became the state's first governor; he also put down the Sioux uprising of 1862. Railroad magnate James J. Hill (b.Canada, 18381916) built one of the greatest corporate empires of his time, and Oliver H. Kelley (b.Massachusetts, 18261913), a Minnesota farmer, organized the first National Grange. John Ireland (b.Ireland, 18381918) was the first Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul, while Henry B. Whipple (b.New York, 18221901), longtime Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, achieved particular recognition for his work among Indians in the region.

The first US citizen ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature was Sinclair Lewis (18851951), whose novel Main Street (1920) was modeled on life in his hometown of Sauk Centre. Phil-ip S. Hench (b.Pennsylvania, 18961965) and Edward C. Kendall (b.Connecticut, 18861972), both of the Mayo Clinic, shared the 1950 Nobel Prize for medicine, and St. Paul native Melvin Calvin (191197) won the 1961 Nobel Prize for chemistry.


Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

Lewis, Anne Gillespie. The Minnesota Guide. Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum Pub., 1999.

Meyer, Roy (revision ed.). History of the Santee Sioux: United States Indian Policy on Trial. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

Perich, Shawn. Wild Minnesota: A Celebration of Our State's Natural Beauty. Stillwater, Minn.: Voyageur Press, 2005.

Radicalism in Minnesota, 19001960: A Survey of Selected Sources. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1994.

Radzilowski, John. Minnesota. New York: Interlink Books, 2004.

Risjord, Norman K. A Popular History of Minnesota. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2005.

Rueter, Theodore. The Minnesota House of Representatives and the Professionalization of Politics. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1994.

Stuhler, Barbara. Gentle Warriors: Clara Ueland and the Minnesota Struggle for Woman Suffrage. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1994.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Minnesota, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

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MINNESOTA. The state of Minnesota lies nearly at the center of the North American continent. Issuing from one of its many lakes, the Mississippi River rises and flows south to the Gulf of Mexico. On its western border the Red River flows north through Lake Winnipeg to Hudson Bay, and the streams that drain eastward into Lake Superior ultimately reach the Atlantic Ocean. It is a transition zone, divided among northern pine forests, the midwestern corn belt, and the Great Plains. The name Minnesota, derived from a Dakota word meaning "cloud colored water," has become the popular designation "Land of Sky Blue Waters."

Except for a small area in the southeastern corner, the state's modern topography was shaped by the ice sheets of the last (Wisconsin) glacial advance, which melted away between ten and fifteen thousand years ago. From that era come the first signs of human occupation and for most of the period until the arrival of Europeans some 350 years ago the area was a part of the Archaic and Woodland traditions and lay on the northwestern fringe of the Hopewell and Mississippian cultures that dominated the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. French traders and missionaries arriving in the late seventeenth century found it a land dotted with burial mounds and other ceremonial earthworks.

Colonial Occupation

In advance of the French came migrating Ottawa, Huron, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indians driven westward by the Iroquois wars and seeking to trade European goods for the furs gathered by the Dakota (Sioux) and other tribes beyond the Great Lakes. The first Frenchmen to leave a record of reaching the area, Pierre D'Esprit, Sieur de Radisson, and Medart Chouart, Sieur de Groseilliers, accompanied a group of Ottawas at some time between the years 1654 and 1660. They were soon followed by others: Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Luth (1679), Father Louis Hennepin (1680), Pierre Charles le Sueur (1700), and Pierre Gaultier, Sieur de la Verendrye (1731).

These men and many more licensed by the French crown took over and expanded the fur-trading network created by Indian middlemen. After Britain acquired French Canada in 1763, control of this trade passed to the North West Company and its various offshoots. Indian tribes meanwhile continued to move westward. The introduction of horses from Spain had produced a new buffalo-hunting culture that drew the Cheyennes and the western bands of Dakotas (Sioux) onto the open plains, even as the forests of northern Minnesota were being occupied by the Ojibwes.

Following the purchase of Louisiana Territory in 1803, the American government not only dispatched Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to the west coast, but also sent an expedition under Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike to explore the headwaters of the Mississippi and assert American authority there. In 1805 Pike purchased from the eastern bands of Dakotas the right to locate a fort at the mouth of the Minnesota River along with land that also encompassed the nearby Falls of Saint Anthony.

American Conquest

The War of 1812 intervened, and not until 1820 did the building of the fort commence. Named for Colonel Josiah Snelling, who saw it to completion, the outpost became the focus for American influence throughout the region during the next thirty years. The first steamboat, the Virginia, reached Fort Snelling in 1823, and a small trading and farming community grew, dominated by the regional headquarters of the American Fur Company. In 1837 the United States acquired by treaties with the Ojibwes and the Sioux the land on the east bank of the Mississippi, where settlers who had been forced off the military reservation established the village of Saint Paul in 1840.

After Iowa was admitted to statehood in 1846 and Wisconsin in 1848, the area that remained in those two territories, extending north to the British border and west to the Missouri River, became Minnesota. At this time, however, all but a small triangle between the Mississippi and Saint Croix Rivers was still Indian land. The new territory owed its creation in 1849 to the influence of Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas and to an influx of New England lumbermen eager to exploit its vast stands of pine. Saint Paul, located at the practical head of steamboat navigation on the Mississippi, became its capital.

In the nine years that followed, Minnesota rode the crest of a boom in western land speculation. Its population increased from barely 5,000 to 150,000, many of whom were new immigrants from Germany, Scandinavia, and Ireland. Treaties forced on the Dakota Indians in 1851 gave all of southern Minnesota except a narrow reservation along the Minnesota River to the United States, and even before the treaties were ratified, settlers poured into the southeastern counties and the Minnesota River Valley. In 1858, on the eve of the Civil War, Minnesota became the thirty-second state of the Union. Its north south orientation, including a potential port at the head of Lake Superior and a common boundary with Canada, was dictated by expansionist ambitions and by railroad interests, for which Douglas was again the spokesman. Saint Paul, a natural hub of future transportation routes, remained the capital. Henry Hastings Sibley, who for twenty years had managed the Minnesota trade of the American Fur Company, became the state's first governor. He was the last Democrat to hold the office for thirty years.

Swept by abolitionist and Republican sentiment in the election of 1860, the state was the first to volunteer troops to the Union. In 1862, however, Minnesota was engulfed by its own war. A faction among the Dakota tribe, enraged at forced assimilation and broken promises and led by Chief Little Crow, launched a surprise attack, slaying nearly 500 settlers. Vengeance was swift and terrible. All Indians, including not only the entire Dakota tribe but also the peaceful Winnebagos, were removed from southern Minnesota, and those who fled were pursued onto the northern plains, where intermittent warfare ended only with the massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1890.

Forty Years of Statehood

By the close of the nineteenth century, Minnesota's prairies and hardwood forests had been transformed into farmland. The pine forests were nearly exhausted, and lumbering, the state's first great extractive industry, was at its peak of productivity. It would cease abruptly after 1905. Already, however, timber was being replaced in the northeastern corner of Minnesota by a second great resource. Iron mining had begun on the Vermilion Range in the 1880s and on the richer Mesabi Range in 1890.

Agriculture also had its extractive aspects. Soaring wheat prices during the Civil War years tied Minnesota farming from the outset to a cash crop system and world markets. With luck and a limited investment, pioneer farmers could pay for their land in a year or two. Single crop farming, however, exhausted even the richest prairie soil, and diversification demanded more capital. Those without access to it sold out and went on to new land, thus producing a moving "wheat frontier" that by the 1880s had reached the Red River Valley and the Dakota plains.

Minnesota grew with the railroad era. Just as it owed its early organization to the dreams of railroad promoters, so the shape and location of its towns and cities were determined by steel rails. Government land grants to railroad companies comprised more than one-fifth of the state's area. Its own most prominent railroad promoter was James J. Hill, who built the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba line in 1878 and completed the transcontinental Great Northern Road in 1890.

Minnesota industry centered on the processing of raw materials and agricultural products. Sawmilling gained an early start in towns along the Saint Croix and Mississippi Rivers. The largest concentration was at the Falls of Saint Anthony. Industry powered by the falls produced the city of Minneapolis, which by 1880 had surpassed St. Paul in population. By then sawmilling was giving way to flour milling, and Minneapolis boasted of being the country's breadbasket. Firms like Washburn Crosby and Pillsbury had the most advanced flour-milling technology in the world, while the Minneapolis Millers Association, through its connection with rail lines and grain storage facilities, dictated the price of wheat to farmers across the region.

The stream of immigrants from Europe had continued to swell. By 1880, 71 percent of the population was either foreign-born or had an immigrant parent. The greatest number were from Germany, but Norway was a close second, and the Scandinavian countries together far outnumbered any single group. Native-born Anglo-Americans continued to control most of the seats of power in business and government, but in 1892 Minnesota elected Knute Nelson as its first foreign-born governor.

The Early Twentieth Century

The opening decades of the twentieth century saw the high tide of small-town life in Minnesota. Communities like Sauk Centre, which was bitterly satirized by its native son Sinclair Lewis in his novel Main Street (1920), thrived on rural prosperity, and in 1900 they were served by a railroad network that reached to every corner of the state. Soon, however, automobiles and the initiation of a state highway system, together with a prolonged agricultural depression in the 1920s, brought the decline and disappearance of many small towns.

In the same decades, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul merged into a twin-headed metropolis. Spreading suburbs were served by a single system of electric streetcars. Enlarged city newspapers circulated throughout the state, and with the arrival of commercial radio in 1922, city stations dominated the airwaves. The business and financial sway of the Twin Cities was recognized in 1912, when Minneapolis became the seat of the Ninth Federal Reserve District, extending from Upper Michigan to the Rocky Mountains. In the meantime Minnesota had gained yet a third urban center as iron mining expanded. Duluth and its surrounding communities, supported by shipbuilding, ore docks, and a steel mill, reached a population of 150,000 in 1920.

The Progressive Era in Minnesota, with its public concern over urbanization and industry, brought the election of the Democratic governor John Lind in 1898 and the passage of laws to open up the political system and expand the regulatory powers of government. Suffrage for women, however, was blocked until 1919 because of its association with the temperance movement in the minds of German voters and the brewing interests.

Industrialization also brought an emerging labor movement. The Minnesota State Federation of Labor was formed in 1890, but the major struggles of the next decades were led by groups like the Western Federation of Miners and the Industrial Workers of the World. Low pay and dangerous working conditions among immigrant miners in the great open pits of the Mesabi Range brought on two bitter strikes, in 1907 and in 1916. In Minneapolis, employers and bankers formed a semisecret organization called the Citizens Alliance, that held down wages and preserved an open-shop city until passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935.

The perceived threat of labor activism and the hysteria accompanying World War I led to a dark period of nativism and red-baiting that scarred Minnesota for a generation. Antiwar sentiment with in the state's large German population was met with open persecution and mob violence, and a wartime Committee of Public Safety used its near-absolute power to register all aliens, break strikes, and eliminate civil liberties such as freedom of speech.

Depression and World War II

In Minnesota the depression of the 1930s was a continuation of the agricultural crisis that had begun in 1920. Combined with increased mechanization during World War I, it had already eliminated thousands of small farms. Drought and depression in the 1930s only exacerbated the effects.

Minnesota industry had already begun to change. Papermaking and the manufacture of wood products had replaced lumbering. The state had lost its dominance in flour-making, and the large milling firms were turning to brand-name consumer products and intensive marketing. Meatpackers like the Hormel Company, along with other food processors, were doing likewise. With the decline of railroads, the Twin Cities were becoming a center for trucking and interstate buses and also home to the new Northwest Orient Airline.

New political alliances had been forged by the heat of wartime repression, and in the 1920s the Farmer-Labor Party replaced the Democrats as the state's second major party. In 1930 its candidate, Floyd B. Olson, was elected governor. A charismatic leader, Olson described himself as a radical but drew widespread support for policies that essentially mirrored those of the New Deal. His early death from cancer in 1936 left the Farmer-Labor Party divided, and his successor, Elmer A. Benson, met defeat in 1938 from the young Republican Harold E. Stassen.

The years preceding World War II revived bitter memories of the last war. Antiwar sentiment was strong, and there was significant support for former Minnesotan Charles A. Lindbergh and his "America First" campaign. Until 1940 both Minnesota senators opposed all moves toward intervention, and one of them, Henrik Shipstead, stayed on to cast his vote against the United Nations charter in 1945. That the war had reversed these attitudes in Minnesota was shown by his defeat in the next primary election.

The Postwar Era

The three decades after World War II saw more Minnesotans rise to prominence in national politics and public life than at any other period. Most notable was Hubert H. Humphrey, United States senator, vice president under Lyndon B. Johnson and Democratic candidate for president in 1968. Others included former governor Stassen, an architect of the United Nations charter and advisor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower; Orville Freeman and Robert Bergland, both secretaries of agriculture; Maurice Stans, secretary of commerce; Warren E. Burger, chief justice of the United States; Eugene J. McCarthy, United States senator and candidate for president; and Eugenie M. Anderson, the first woman to serve as a United States foreign ambassador. They were followed in the 1970s by Walter E. Mondale, vice president under Jimmy Carter (1976–1980) and Democratic candidate for president in 1984.

This unusual record reflected in part the health of both Minnesota's political parties. In 1944 the Farmer-Labor and Democratic Parties merged to form what became known as the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). Four years later Humphrey and a group of young Democrats dedicated to internationalism, the Cold War, and civil rights assumed party leadership. Led by Stassen and his successors, Minnesota Republicans were in substantial agreement with the DFL on these issues and other more local ones, such as support for education and human services. Rivalry between the parties remained keen, nevertheless; power was evenly divided, and Minnesota acquired a national reputation for clean politics and citizen participation.

Minnesota's economy also emerged from World War II stronger than ever before. Wartime retooling had laid the foundations for a new manufacturing sector. The state found itself especially strong in precision industries such as computers and medical devices and later in electronics. High prices had restored farm prosperity, and the green revolution in plant genetics and chemistry soon led to record crops. Although this new agriculture demanded ever greater capital investment and presaged the end of the family farm, its even darker side, including environmental damage, did not become evident until the 1980s.

Yet the postwar period brought hard times to the iron ranges, for reserves of high-grade ore had been exhausted. Abundant iron was locked in the hard rock known as taconite, but the investment required for its extraction was enormous. Prosperity slowly returned to northern Minnesota with the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959, the development of tourism, and passage of a state constitutional amendment in 1964 that limited the taxation of taconite plants.

In August 1973 Time magazine celebrated what it called "The Good Life in Minnesota." This included a broad array of cultural phenomena. A mushrooming of theater, art, and music groups in the 1960s was accompanied by founding of the Guthrie Theater and the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra; small presses flourished; major league sports came to the state. Minnesota became a mecca for canoeists and outdoors enthusiasts with expansion of its wilderness area on the Canadian border and establishment of Voyageurs National Park (1975). In the 1970s nationwide popularity of the radio show A Prairie Home Companion made mythical Lake Wobegon Minnesota's best-loved small town.

Demographic and Social Change

Until the mid-twentieth century Ojibwe Indians clustered on seven reservations in northern Minnesota were the state's largest racial minority. A small African American community centered in the Twin Cities found employment in service industries. Hispanics, mostly Mexican, included migratory workers in agriculture and a few permanent residents near the packing houses of South Saint Paul. Asians numbered only a few hundred.

Immediately after World War II, migration to cities along with national and international shifts in population brought great change. By the year 2000, nonwhites, including Hispanics, accounted for about 10 percent of the state's 4,919,000 people. Among minority groups Africans, both African Americans and recent immigrants from the continent, were the most numerous at 171,000. Asians and Pacific Islanders together numbered nearly 144,000, while Hispanics (of any race) were a close third at 143,000. American Indians, including members of various tribes living in the Twin Cities, came to just under 55,000.

Meanwhile Minnesota had become an urban state. Most minority immigrants stayed in the Twin Cities, and as early as 1970 more than half the population lived in the sprawling metropolitan area. The proportion grew as consolidation of farms into ever larger industrial-style operations brought depopulation to rural counties, especially those in the southern and western parts of the state.

Other forms of diversity accompanied these demographic changes in the state's ethnicity. The women's and gay rights movements of the 1970s and 1980s encountered growing resistance among conservatives rooted in the state's powerful religious traditions. Deep political rifts resulted, and after 1973, when Minnesotan Harry A. Blackmun wrote the United States Supreme Court's decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, abortion laws dominated each legislative session. Nevertheless, the number and power of women in public life grew steadily. The number of women representatives in the legislature increased from none from 1945 to 1950 to 61 in 1996. In 1977 Rosalie Wahl became the first woman to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court, and from 1990 to 1994 women held a majority on the court. Social and demographic change were both evident in Minneapolis, where an African American woman, Sharon Sayles Belton, served as mayor from 1993 to 2001.


Clark, Clifford E., Jr., ed. Minnesota in a Century of Change: The State and Its People Since 1900. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1989.

Gilman, Rhoda R. The Story of Minnesota's Past. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1991. For general readers. Heavily illustrated.

Graubard, Stephen R., ed. Minnesota, Real and Imagined: Essays on the State and Its Culture. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001. Originally published as the summer 2000 (vol. 129, no. 3) issue of Daedalus.

Holmquist, June Drenning, ed. They Chose Minnesota: A Survey of the State's Ethnic Groups. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1981.

Lass, William E. Minnesota: A History. New York: Norton, 2d ed., 1998.

Rhoda R.Gilman

See alsoDemography and Demographic Trends ; Explorations and Expeditions: French ; Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota ; Immigration ; Iron and Steel Industry ; Midwest ; Minneapolis–St. Paul ; Railroads .

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Minnesota (state, United States)

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 Shield, from which iron ore is decreasingly extracted. The Vermilion and Cuyuna ranges (discovered in 1884 and 1911) are virtually depleted, and the once rich Mesabi 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 Monuments, table), Itasca State Park (at the headwaters of the Mississippi), and the world's largest open-pit iron mine at Hibbing.

Saint Paul, the capital, and its larger twin, Minneapolis, are the two largest cities. Bloomington, Duluth, and Rochester 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 Bunyan, 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 Seaway (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. 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 State Colleges and Univ. system of Minnesota, 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 Builders. 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 Rune Stone 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 Wars and continued so after the War of 1812, when the American Fur Company 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 Territory and was governed under the Ordinance of 1787; the western part was joined to the United States by the Louisiana Purchase. 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 Sibley 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 Act 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 movement. 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 party, one of several third-party movements that challenged the Republican party's traditional leadership in Minnesota. Ignatius Donnelly was one of the Populists' most powerful figures.

Renewed agrarian discontent led to the founding of the Nonpartisan League in 1915. Farmers and laborers joined forces again in 1920 in the Farmer-Labor party, 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. Humphrey, who was elected to the U.S. Senate four times and was vice president from 1965 to 1969. Orville Freeman, DFL governor from 1955 to 1961, was secretary of agriculture from 1961 to 1969.

Walter F. Mondale, 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 Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and O. E. Rølvaag. Economist Thorstein Veblen and aviation pioneer Charles A. Lindbergh 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).

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Duluth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275

Minneapolis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285

Rochester . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295

Saint Paul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305

The State in Brief

Nickname: North Star State

Motto: L'etoile du nord (Star of the north)

Flower: Pink and white lady's slipper

Bird: Common loon

Area: 86,938 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 12th)

Elevation: Ranges from 600 feet to 2,301 feet above sea level

Climate: North part of state lies in the moist Great Lakes storm belt; western border is at the edge of the semi-arid Great Plains; spring is brief; summer is short, hot, and humid; winter is long and severe with heavy snowfall.

Admitted to Union: May 11, 1858

Capital: Saint Paul

Head Official: Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) (until 2007)


1980: 4,076,000

1990: 4,432,000

2000: 4,919,492

2004 estimate: 5,100,958

Percent change, 19902000: 12.4%

U.S. rank in 2004: 21st

Percent of residents born in state: 70.2% (2000)

Density: 61.8 people per square mile (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 177,454

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)

White: 4,400,282

Black or African American: 171,731

American Indian and Alaska Native: 54,967

Asian: 141,968

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 1,979

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 143,382

Other: 65,810

Age Characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 329,594

Population 5 to 19 years old: 1,105,251

Percent of population 65 years and over: 12.1%

Median age: 35.4 years (2000)

Vital Statistics

Total number of births (2003): 70,248

Total number of deaths (2003): 37,558 (infant deaths, 325)

AIDS cases reported through 2003: 1,900


Major industries: Manufacturing; trade; finance, insurance, and real estate; agriculture; services

Unemployment rate: 4.4% (March 2005)

Per capita income: $34,039 (2003; U.S. rank: 9th)

Median household income: $54,480 (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Percentage of persons below poverty level: 7.1% (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Income tax rate: 3.0%

Sales tax rate: 6.25%

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Minnesota State in n central USA, on the Canadian border; the capital is St Paul. Other major cities include Minneapolis and Duluth. French fur traders arrived in the 17th century. The area e of the Mississippi passed to Britain after the Seven Years' War, then to the USA after the American Revolution. The USA acquired lands w of the Mississippi from France in the Louisiana Purchase (1803). Minnesota organized as a territory in 1849, and acquired statehood in 1858. The terrain varies from the prairies of the s to the forests of the n. There are mountains in the e. The state is drained chiefly by the Minnesota, St Croix, and Mississippi rivers. Wheat and maize are the major crops, and many farms raise dairy cattle. There are rich deposits of iron ore in the Mesabi Range in the e. Since the 1950s, manufacturing replaced agriculture as the main economic activity. Industries: electronic equipment, machinery, paper products, chemicals, printing and publishing. Area: 206,207sq km (79,617sq mi). Pop. (2000) 4,919,479.

Statehood :

May 11, 1858

Nickname :

Gopher State

State bird :

Common loon

State flower :

Pink and white lady- slipper

State tree :

Norway pine

State motto :

Star of the North


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The highly publicized 1998 election of Reform Party candidate Jesse Ventura to the governor's seat came as no surprise to those who had studied Minnesota history. With a long tradition of protest politics and a disdain for power monopolies, the state has always steered an independent course. Situated in the heart of the American prairie and supplied with many natural resources, Minnesota was able to parlay its independent spirit into great economic success. From its wheat fields to its iron ore ranges and timber lands to its large industrial belts, Minnesota represented the economic diversity to which most of the country aspired.

Europeans who first came into the territory that is now Minnesota were witness to numerous confrontations between the Dakota and Ojibwa Indians who inhabited the territory. In the mid-1600s French explorers, fur traders, and missionaries sent back the first reports from the region. American and British explorers also came to the area, vying with the French for influence. After the French and Indian War (17541763) the part of Minnesota east of the Mississippi was ceded to Great Britain. In 1762 France ceded the land west of the river to Spain. British activity in the region continued until the U.S. Congress banned British fur trade there after the War of 1812 (18121814). The American Fur Company headed by John Jacob Astor (17631848) replaced a British company at Grand Portage, a center for inland trade.

The eastern part of Minnesota (east of the Mississippi) became part of the Northwest Territory in 1787. Most of the western part of the territory was acquired by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Red River Valley was ceded by a treaty with England in 1818. The American Fur Company continued to prosper on the upper Mississippi until treaties with the Ojibwa and Dakota Indians transferred large parcels of their land to the federal government in 1837. Unlike pioneer settlers fur traders had developed a profitable partnership with the Indians, one which was threatened by this action. The treaties opened up the territory to lumbering, farming, and settlement. Settlements such as Marine and Stillwater on the St. Croix River and St. Anthony (later Minneapolis) sprang up around the lumbering industry. St. Paul was a trading center at the head of the Mississippi.

In 1849 Minnesota became a territory, and by 1857 it had more than 150,000 inhabitants. It became the 32nd state of the Union in 1858. Minnesota supported the Union in the American Civil War (18611865). But during that period the state faced a more serious internal challenge from disgruntled Dakota Indians who waged a war on white settlers in 1862. Following the pattern of white western conquest both the Dakotas and the Ojibwas were eventually moved to reservations.

The first railroad joined St. Paul and St. Anthony, a flour-milling center, in 1862. Later rail routes connected the state with Chicago and the Red River Valley. Immigrants from the east and from northern Europe, especially Scandinavia and Germany, started coming to Minnesota in great numbers. They established farms and grew produce that was carried back east on the trains. Large-scale farming developed along with small farms, particularly for the wheat crop; 70 percent of all farms were planted with wheat by 1870.

Farmers suffered occasional natural disasters such as drought. They felt themselves injured also by high railroad rates and a general deflation. Agrarian discontent became part of the tradition of protest politics in the state. The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry was the first national farmers' organization which had its origins in Minnesota beginning in 1867. It had great influence on state politics in the 1880s. In 1890 another farm-oriented activist party called the Populists (or People's Party) helped elect John Lind Governor of Minnesota. Labor organizing was also strong in this period. As the Minnesota Federation of Labor gained power it succeeded in getting a landmark Workmen's Compensation Act passed in 1913. This laid the groundwork for the Farmer-Labor Party.

Aside from third parties the so-called Progressive Movement had other manifestations in Minnesota. Rural residents feared the power of big business, especially the railroad industry. An angry public outcry was heard in 1901 when railroad barons James J. Hill (18381916) and Edward Harriman, with help from banker J. P. Morgan (18371913), formed the Northern Securities Company. The company merged the Northern Pacific, Great Northern, and Chicago and Burlington railroads, virtually monopolizing railroads in the state. Governor Samuel Van Sant had his attorney general sue the company and led other Midwest governors in condemning the company. When President Theodore Roosevelt (19011909) instituted a federal suit against the company in his first action as a "trust-buster," the Northern Securities Company was broken up.

The lumbering industry in Minnesota prospered greatly in the decades following the American Civil War. It reached a peak in 1899. As it shipped some of the logs by rail and even more by water down the Mississippi, Minnesota supplied tons of lumber to the country, particularly the growing areas of the Great Plains states. Minneapolis became a sawmill center. In combination with flour mills and railroads sawmills helped the city's population swell to well over 150,000 by 1890. The combined population of Minneapolis and its "twin city" St. Paul grew to over 250,000. Lumber was also shipped from Duluth, which owed its prosperity to its position at the starting point of the North Pacific Railroad.

Duluth also became a major Lake Superior port after the discovery of iron ore in the northeast Mesabi and Vermilion ranges. After the 1880s eastern cities and industries began to grow. After a short boost to the economy produced by World War I (19141918) an economic downturn afflicted the state. Since Minnesota forests had been depleted of their resources lumbering shifted to the Pacific Northwest. An agricultural depression also caused several flour mills to move to Kansas City and Buffalo, New York.

Minnesotans adapted to the changes by planting corn, soybeans, and sugar beets in addition to the traditional wheat crop. Canning and meat packing had become important industries in the early part of the twentieth century; by the late part of the century food processing plants such as Green Giant, Libby, Del Monte, and General Foods shipped more manufactured products than any other industry in the state.

Like the rest of the nation Minnesota was plunged into a depression in the 1930s. The governor during this period was Floyd B. Olson, a reform politician who championed the poor farmers and laborers and supported the policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (19331945). This period marked the first time that Minnesota departed from a nearly unbroken history of Republican domination. In 1944 the populist Farmer-Labor Party merged with the Democrats and began a new chapter of reform in Minnesota under the leadership of Hubert H. Humphrey (19111973). Humphrey would later become Mayor of Minneapolis, U.S. senator, and vice president.

In the ensuing decades other manufactured products like business machines, computers, and electronic components added to the state's economic base. After the high-grade iron ore produced by the state was depleted new processes were instituted to extract iron from low-grade ore. This caused concern about environmental damage to Lake Superior. A sign of the changing demographics in the state was that the urban population of Minnesota exceeded its rural population for the first time in 1950.

Minnesotans experienced some economic challenges in the late 1980s and into the 1990s. An important environmental concern was addressed in 1980 when the Reserve Mining Company was forced to end the dumping of taconite (low-grade iron ore) wastes, thought to be carcinogenic, into Lake Superior. Other companies such as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company have been forced to clean up hazardous waste sites. Natural disasters also put a strain on Minnesota's economy. A drought plagued the state in 1988 and severe flooding of the Mississippi in 1993 and the Red River in 1997 devastated the lowlands.

The state maintained its economic health through diversification with increasing attention to service industries such as real estate, insurance, and finance. Tourism also became increasingly important to the state as millions of travelers, fishermen, and hunters came to enjoy the state's many scenic and recreational areas. Farming remained important to the state as well; in 1995 Minnesota ranked seventh in the nation by farm income. The state's proximity to the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence Seaway continued to make Minnesota a major marketing and distribution center for the upper Midwest. The state's per capita personal income in 1996 was over $25,000, ranking it ninth in the nation.

See also: Mississippi River, Plains Indians, Populist Movement, Saint Lawrence Seaway


Blegen, Theodore C. Minnesota: A History of the State. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1975.

Brook, Michael. Reference Guide to Minnesota History: A Subject Bibliography of Books, Pamphlets,

and Articles in English. St. Paul, MN: Historical Society, 1983.

Chrislock, Carl H. The Progressive Era in Minnesota, 18291914. St. Paul, MN: Historical Society, 1971.

Folwell, William W. A History of Minnesota. 4 vols. Rev. ed. St. Paul, MN: Historical Society, 19561959.

Lass, William E. Minnesota: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1977.

from out of the past of exploration and exploitation, out of boom and bust times, out of the experiences of pioneers and immigrants, and out of the heritage of industrialization and the tradition of protest politics has come the minnesota that is now.

william e. lass, minnesota: a bicentennial history, 1977

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Minnesota (river, United States)

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).

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Minnesotaaorta, daughter, exhorter, exporter, extorter, Horta, importer, mortar, porter, quarter, slaughter, snorter, sorter, sporter, supporter, three-quarter, torte, transporter, underwater, water •altar, alter, assaulter, defaulter, falter, Gibraltar, halter, Malta, palter, psalter, salter, vaulter, Walter •flaunter, haunter, saunter, taunter, vaunter •exhauster, Forster •fraudster • granddaughter •stepdaughter • manslaughter •ripsnorter • pole-vaulter • backwater •headquarter • freshwater •breakwater • rainwater • seawater •dishwater • tidewater • Whitewater •saltwater • rosewater • shearwater •firewater •doubter, grouter, outer, pouter, scouter, shouter, spouter, touter •counter, encounter, mounter •jouster, ouster •revcounter •bloater, boater, Botha, Dakota, doter, emoter, floater, gloater, iota, Kota, Minnesota, motor, promoter, quota, rota, rotor, scoter, voter •bolter, coulter (US colter), Volta •boaster, coaster, poster, roaster, toaster •roadster • oldster •bolster, holster, pollster, soulster, upholster •billposter

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The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.