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Apart from Norsemen who may have visited Minnesota in 1362, the first European explorers of Minnesota were two Frenchmen, Radisson and Groseilliers, in 1659. He was taken to the site of modern Minneapolis, where he was the first white man to see the Falls of St. Hennepin was later released.In 1762, Spain received all French land west of the Mississippi, including much of Minnesota, but they did little to exploit their possessions. After the War for Independence, Britain ceded its holdings south of the Great Lakes and east of the Mississippi to the United States, although they did not give up actual control for many years.Napoleon forced Spain in 1800 to return the land that it had taken from France previously. Administration of various parts passed through the territories of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin before Congress gave Minnesota its own territorial status in 1849. Minnesota was admitted to the Union as the 32nd state in 1858.After the outbreak of the Civil War, the Sioux decided to use the opportunity as a last attempt to recover their traditional hunting grounds from the encroachments of whites. The federal government responded with troops, who crushed the uprising.In the second half of the 19th century, the primary driving forces in Minnesota's economy were iron ore and timber. The exploitation of primary resources has been replaced with manufacturing, research, and health care, among other sectors.
This Day in Minnesota History
Rudolph G."Rudy" Perpich is born in Carson Lake, near Hibbing. The Iron Ranger would become one of Minnesota's most colorful governors, serving from 1976 to 1979 and 1983 to 1991. He would send National Guard troops to Austin to quell tensions during the Hormel strike in 1986, and he would sign a law returning the state's drinking age to twenty-one. During his terms the state lottery would be established and education heavily funded. He died on November 21, 1995.
The taxicab drivers of the Twin Cities split from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to establish their own union, the Guild of Taxi Drivers and Associated Workers.
Heiress Elizabeth Congdon and her nurse are murdered at Glensheen mansion in Duluth. In a sensational trial, Congdon's son-in-law, Roger Caldwell, is convicted of the murders. New evidence in the case sets him free a year later but incriminates his wife, Marjorie. Acquitted of these murders but found guilty in two arson cases, Marjorie is sentenced to serve time in an Arizona prison.
Minnesota HistoryMinnesota History features news articles that relate to historical events in Minnesota it is part of a partnership between MinnPost and the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS). After their publication in MinnPost, the articles are developed into entries in MNopedia, MHS’ evolving online encyclopedia about Minnesota. These articles are researched and produced by MinnPost writers under the direction of Susan Albright in conjunction with MNopedia Editor Molly Huber. MNopedia is made possible with funding from the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Rosalie Wahl: Minnesota trailblazer
“She helped cement professional legal values and real experiences into the legal curriculum, here in Minnesota and across the nation.”
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid celebrates 100 years of ensuring access to justice
In 1913, John Benson opened the doors of a Minneapolis law office meant to help the poor and underserved. Today, that office has morphed into Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid.
Minneapolis’ oldest skyway still in use turns 50
The 7th Street span that connects the Northstar Center with the Roanoke Building opened 50 years ago this summer, on June 12, 1963.
In 1977, boss tells Willmar 8 ‘We’re not all equal, you know’ strike ensues
Things didn’t work out so well for the Willmar 8. But for the women’s movement, the 1977-1979 strike was a resounding success.
Looking back at the 1878 Washburn A Mill explosion
In a matter of seconds, a series of thunderous explosions destroyed what had been the city’s largest industrial building, along with several adjacent mills.
When the wind screamed: Looking back at the 1998 St. Peter tornado
More than 1,700 homes in this town of 10,000 sustained significant damage from the 150-mile-an-hour winds that swept in 15 years ago.
30 years ago, Mickey’s Diner awarded historic status
With fluffy pancakes, Al Roker and “A Prairie Home Companion,” it would seem Mickey’s Diner has had a charmed existence. It has, except for one night in 2008.
Hard-fought United States vs. Reserve Mining changed environmentalism
Reserve Mining Company v. The United States of America is seen as a landmark decision, one that gave the EPA broader powers to regulate corporate pollution.
Jukebox divas from Minnesota: The Andrews Sisters
The sisters weren’t just popular. They defined the sound of the 1940s, as much as Glenn Miller’s big band or Bing Crosby’s velvety crooning.
Milford Mine disaster, 1924: ‘Save your breath and start climbing!’
On Feb. 5, 1924, boggy water from Foley Lake flooded the Milford Mine near Crosby, killing 41 men in Minnesota’s worst mining disaster.
Minnesota values shaped civil-rights leader Roy Wilkins
On Jan. 20, 1967, Roy Wilkins, longtime director of the NAACP, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
125 years ago, deadly ‘Children’s Blizzard’ blasted Minnesota
When the storm hit, it caught so many settlers by surprise that between 250 and 500 people died that weekend, according to estimates by newspaper editors in several states.
Gov. Olson, 80 years ago, proposed progressive taxes and unemployment insurance
By some estimates, in January of 1933 more than 50 percent of workers on the Iron Range were out of work or working only a few days a month.
The 1940 Marlborough Hotel fire: ‘There was nothing that escaped the flames’
The deadliest fire in Minneapolis history, which occurred 73 years ago today, would claim 19 lives and destroy a building that housed more than 120 residents.
50 years ago: The Andersen-Rolvaag recount begins
The hand count of 800,000 ballots was prompted by an election board’s declaration that Gov. Elmer L. Andersen had received 142 more votes than Lt. Gov. Karl Rolvaag.
Keeping temps just right: the Minneapolis-developed thermostat
The Round is so ubiquitous that Honeywell was granted a trademark for the word “Round” in 1987 and for the shape in 1990.
St. Olaf Christmas Festival celebrates 100 years of choral cheer
This year’s four-day festival begins Thursday night at the Skoglund Center Auditorium on the campus in Northfield the concert is also broadcast by MPR.
In ’87 the Twins turned the towns upside down
Thursday marks the 25th anniversary of the Twins’ Game Seven victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, an event that brought the Twin Cities their first major sports championship.
Citizens League to celebrate 60 years of policy innovation
“Our goal was to bring citizens into solving the issues in new and different ways,” said Citizens League Executive Director Sean Kershaw.
150 years ago: U.S.-Dakota War ends at the Battle of Wood Lake
Within about two hours, the battle was over. The badly outnumbered Dakota forces had succumbed to Sibley’s superior firepower.
History of Minnesota
The history of Minnesota tells the tale of the first fur-traders arriving in Two Harbors, Minnesota in 1660 who discovered that the Native American tribes of the Chippewa and the Sioux had inhabited the area for some time. Around this time fur traders carrying hundreds of pounds of animal pelts discovered what is now known as Voyageurs National Park. The entire Lake Superior region was claimed in the name of France in 1679.
In Minnesota history, the land that was to the west of the Mississippi River was handed over to Spain circa 1760. France continued with its successful fur trading in the region where hunting was excellent. At the end of the Indian and French war, circa 1765, Britain was in control of Minnesota's eastern region.
The well-known Fort Snelling in St Paul, adjacent to Minneapolis, was constructed in 1825 at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Fort Snelling was a big part of the development of the Northwest. Today it's surrounded by a metropolis but the history about Minnesota shows it was once staged alone in the wilderness.
Fort Snelling was a military outpost. In Minnesota history the outposts were there to ensure that non-citizens couldn't use the rivers for any commercial reasons. Later in Minnesota history treaties were created making foreigners less of a problem. Fort Snelling became a prosperous area that was eventually settled as the Twin Cities and Stillwater.
After ownership by many different territories, Minnesota officially became its own territory on March 3, 1849. Visitors can learn many more details at the Minnesota History Center. In the history of Minnesota the boundaries that existed in the late 1800s are almost identical to those that exist today. History about Minnesota explains how the Native Americans that lived in the region traded their land for food. The food was delivered to the isolated reservations where they lived, and often suffered without meals.
On May 11, 1858, highlighted in the history about Minnesota, the area was inaugurated as the 32nd state in the USA with St Paul as the capital. Two years later in Minnesota history the Civil War broke out. Due to the war consuming the Minnesotans, hostile and resentful Native Indians joined the war against the people of Minnesota due to their lack of food.
History about Minnesota shows that there was a wealth of industrial development occurring in the later 1800s. Minneapolis became a leader in flour milling. Railroads were further developed making transportation more accessible to the masses and for trading. Thousands of European immigrants began arriving in droves looking for new land to settle their families in. Newly discovered iron ore resources were shipped to the Vermillion Range. Today this area encompasses Lake Vermillion, one of the most popular outdoor regions in Minnesota. Kayaking, canoeing, excellent fishing and many water-based sports are all possible.
Around this time in the history of Minnesota the Mayo Clinic had begun development in Duluth. Today the clinic is one of the world leaders in medical research. After WW1 many industries which suffered from the Great Depression began expanding and included machinery, computers and electronic equipment.
50 Minnesota innovations that changed the world
We challenge any other state to come up with a list of extraordinary innovations as impressive as Minnesota’s.
Minnesotans are proud of their heritage, including the “firsts” we’re known for, such as Scotch tape, water skis, Spam and the pacemaker. While other states are equally proud of their firsts—New York for the credit card Michigan, the artificial heart Texas, the integrated circuit—few other states, if any, have created as many firsts with as wide-ranging effect as has Minnesota. We officially rank between second (so says the Harvard Business Review) and ninth (Forbes and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) among “most innovative states.” Such distinctions tend to look only at volume and not overall significance, however. With this in mind, TCB editors combed through more than 100 inventions and “firsts” to present in the following pages 50 Minnesota firsts that have had the greatest impact on society.
1879Great Northern Railroad
James J. Hill turned St. Paul into the Upper Midwest’s rail hub by building the northernmost transcontinental railroad route in the United States, from Minnesota to Puget Sound. What’s more, it was the only completed transcontinental that was financed completely from private funds, thanks largely to the land it acquired in North Dakota and Montana—land it sold mostly to immigrant farmers. Hill’s Great Northern survives as part of BNSF, one of the seven remaining Class I railroads still operating in the U.S.
Swiss-born Albert Butz invented a “damper flapper” that allowed a coal-fired furnace to be regulated via the world’s first furnace thermostat. The St. Paul business he founded to manufacture the product, the Butz Thermo-electric Regulator Co., would evolve into today’s Honeywell International. Honeywell became one of Minnesota’s most legendary and innovative companies, thanks to the high-design round thermostats it began to market in 1952. Honeywell still makes round thermostats and numerous other products, but it’s based in New Jersey these days.
1899Concrete Grain Elevator
Train storage structures built of wood had an unfortunate habit of burning down, so grain trader Frank Peavey drove the development of something a little less flammable. Working with Charles Haglin, a Minneapolis contractor who also built Minneapolis City Hall and the Grain Exchange Building (among many other structures), Peavey built the first concrete grain elevator. It’s still standing near the interchange of Highways 7 and 100 in St. Louis Park, though it hasn’t held grain for more than a century. It now advertises the location of cooking utensil product manufacturer Nordic Ware.
1912Grocery Bag With Handles
Walter Deubener owned St. Paul’s first cash-and-carry grocery store (until then, all grocers delivered). To make it easier for his customers to tote their own purchases, he created a bag with a loop of string supporting the bottom that formed convenient handles at the top. It was such a notable innovation that the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce still names its annual business awards after Deubener. Given how long Deubener’s invention has been around, it’s surprising that there still are supermarkets that make you clutch your groceries in your arms.
1912Better Business Bureau
The BBB grew out of the “vigilance committees” established regionally by the advertising industry to ensure that advertisements’ claims were true. The Minneapolis Advertising Club’s vigilance committee was the first to call itself the Better Business Bureau, and it established the mode of operation followed by the 110-plus BBBs now established in the U.S. and Canada. Businesses that affiliate with their local BBB are required to follow standards for honesty and fair dealing. In the past few years, alas, various BBBs have been accused of protecting or punishing certain member companies, and several chapters have been disaffiliated.
1914Greyhound Bus Lines
Carl Wickman and Andrew Anderson open the first bus line in order to transport iron miners between Hibbing and Alice (a nearby town that Hibbing later annexed). That became the start of America’s largest cross-country bus company. Greyhound hasn’t stopped in Hibbing, or anywhere else on the Iron Range, however, since 1973.
The first electric toaster was invented in Scotland in 1893, but it took Stillwater mechanic Charles Strite to make that breakthrough a little more convenient. Though Strite patented the idea, other companies actually built the device, with the first—Minneapolis-based Waters Genter’s 1-A-1 Toastmaster—reaching the market in 1925. The Toastmaster brand is still around, attached not only to toasters but also to coffeemakers and a variety of commercial food preparation equipment.
On a summer day on Lake Pepin, 18-year-old Ralph Samuelson affixed two 8-foot-long pine boards to his feet, then grabbed hold of a rope connected to a powerboat. Over time, as he mastered his invention, Samuelson also ski-jumped (on a greased platform) and speed-skied (going 80 miles per hour behind a flying boat). Samuelson’s renown was not enough to prevent another person from patenting water skis, but history has confirmed him as the father of the invention. Despite the daredevilry of his youth, Samuelson ended his days quietly, as a turkey farmer in Pine Island.
1923Milky Way Candy Bar
Frank C. Mars, a native of Hancock, Minn., founded the Mar-O-Bar candy company in Minneapolis in 1920. Three years later, Mars introduced Milky Way, reputedly the world’s first “filled” candy bar. Its filling was inspired by the name of a chocolate-malt milkshake popular at the time. Milky Way was a hit, and six years after its introduction, Mars moved his company to the Midwest candy capital, Chicago. There the company would create other famous brands, notably 3 Musketeers and M&Ms.
The company originally known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing moved away from mining (and the North Shore), and has been developing new products ever since. One of 3M’s earliest innovations, masking tape, was originally created for use by auto painters for two-tone paint jobs. The tape’s inventor, Richard Drew, would go on to develop the first transparent cellophane adhesive tape, which 3M branded as Scotch tape.
1926Closed-Cabin Commercial Airplane
Northwest Airways was the first U.S. airline to offer a closed-cabin aircraft, a three-passenger Stinson Detroiter. Northwest, which was founded that same year, had its headquarters in Detroit at the time. But it flew only between the Twin Cities and Chicago at first, primarily as an air-mail carrier. In 1929, a group of Twin Cities businesspeople acquired Northwest and moved its headquarters to Minnesota, operating out of St. Paul’s Holman Field. Delta Air Lines acquired Northwest in 2008.
Leave it to a couple of Minnesota inventors to develop a cooling technology. Joseph Numero, a manufacturer of sound equipment for movie theaters, and Frederick Jones, an inventor who worked for Numero, designed a mechanical refrigeration unit to replace the ice blocks that trucking companies used to cool their trailers. Numero sold his sound-equipment business and together with Jones, founded the company now known as Thermo King. (During World War II, Jones would design portable cooling units for the military to keep food and medicine from spoiling.) Thermo King was acquired by Ingersoll Rand in 1997, but its headquarters remains in Minnesota.
1940Mass Spectrometer For Uranium-235
Minnesota-born Alfred Nier was one of the state’s most remarkable scientists, but his achievements aren’t well-known here, perhaps because he was a physicist rather than a physician or otherwise involved in medicine. But Nier’s work in mass spectrography at the University of Minnesota was crucial in the development of a pure sample of uranium-235, the isotope that would be a key component of the atomic bomb. Among the other milestones in Nier’s career was the development of small mass spectrometers used on the Viking Mars landers in the 1970s to identify elements in the Red Planet’s atmosphere.
Like many innovative U.S. companies, Honeywell was involved in defense work during World War II. What was then Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Co. developed an electronic autopilot for U.S. Air Force bombers, helping pilots fly steadily enough to hit targets from high altitudes. In time, aerospace would become one of Honeywell’s largest businesses.
1943Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
Minnesota’s reputation as health care innovator isn’t restricted to physical health. Developed under the auspices of the University of Minnesota, the MMPI is the world’s most widely used standardized personality and psychology test. It’s used to not only to help psychologists make diagnoses, but also to aid employers in screening job candidates. Using a set of 567 true/false questions (there’s also a shorter, streamlined version), the test is “graded” using numerous scales to assess anxiety levels, propensity for addiction, tendency toward extroversion or introversion, and many other psychological characteristics. The MMPI has its critics, but it’s still considered the gold standard of personality assessments.
1947Magnetic Recording Tape
Magnetic recording had been around for years 3M made it useful. Until then, magnetic recording used unwieldy and limited media such as wire and steel tape. 3M developed a strong but flexible plastic tape material as a recording medium. Singer Bing Crosby used 3M tape to record his radio show in 1948, and the invention became the basis of the commercial and consumer tape-recording businesses. In 1996, 3M’s tape business became part of spinoff company Imation, which still produces magnetic tape.
The founders of Mound Metalcraft Co. originally manufactured steel garden implements. Then a toymaker operating in the same building gave them his patents, and the toy steam shovels and cranes that started as a sideline for Mound Metalcraft quickly became its business. Bigger and more rugged than other toy vehicles, Tonka trucks were postwar playtime classics. The company would disappear in 1991 after some diversification failures, but the brand lives on — though in plastic, not steel.
1947Packaged Cake Mix
General Mills didn’t invent the packaged cake mix—such products had been around since the 1920s. But until the Minneapolis company mastered the food chemistry, cake mixes were readily subject to spoilage. When General Mills introduced Betty Crocker ginger cake mix in 1947, just-add-water products became much more shelf-stable—and widely accepted among harried parents of baby boomers.
Now a common anti-inflammatory used to treat maladies ranging from eczema to chronic joint pain, cortisone is a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal gland in times of stress. Mayo Clinic researchers Edward Kendall, Philip Hench and Harold Mason identified cortisone and discovered its ability to suppress the immune system. Merck & Co. would introduce the first commercially produced cortisone in 1949. Cortisone may well have played a key role in subsequent U.S. history: If it hadn’t been for Kendall and Hench’s discovery, John F. Kennedy—who took cortisone both orally and via injection—might not have become president.
St. Louis Park-based Nordic Ware produced the perfect postwar cooking utensil, one that allows even indifferent bakers to whip up an elegant dessert with ease. It was a slow seller until the 1960s, when a Pillsbury Bake-Off contestant used the pan to create a winning recipe. Nordic Ware is now a widely diversified cookware company, but it continues to create new Bundt pan designs. And it still makes them in Minnesota.
Toro introduced the first walk-behind snow blower, much to the relief of corner-lot homeowners and their cardiologists. Numerous companies manufacture blowers these days Toro’s current line ranges from a compact electric model to a massive heavy-duty model with a 342cc engine that can blast the white stuff up to 45 feet.
A professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota in the 1950s and ’60s who later became director of medical affairs at St. Jude Medical, C. Walton Lillehei is one of the world’s greatest heart physicians. One of his first great accomplishments: the first successful open-heart surgery, on a 5-year-old girl at the University of Minnesota, which Lillehei performed with colleague F. John Lewis.
1953Black-Box Flight Data Recorder
Though now firmly focused on food, General Mills made many intriguing excursions into other industries during the postwar decades. For many years, it had a mechanical division that developed a variety of devices. One was the “black box” to record flight data on airplanes—crucial for determining the causes of a crash. The man behind the device was collision researcher James “Crash” Ryan in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Engineering, who worked with General Mills to perfect the technology. It took years of lobbying to get airlines on board, but now no commercial airplane takes off without it.
Another first associated with pioneering open-heart surgeon Walt Lillehei: the helix reservoir bubble oxygenator, which Lillehei developed with colleague Richard A. Wall. The device kept oxygen pumped into the blood during heart surgery. Before that, the standard approach to oxygenating the patient’s blood was cross circulation, which linked the patient’s bloodstream to that of a healthy donor.
1955In-the-ear Hearing Aid
World War II Air Force hero Ken Dahlberg left hearing-aid manufacturer Telex in 1948 to start an electronics company manufacturing “pillow radios” for hotels and hospitals. Within a few years, Dahlberg was making hearing aids of his own, incorporating a new technology: transistors. In 1955, his company created an all-transistor model called the Magic-Ear, whose components were contained in a small “shell” that fit inside the ear. It was the first in-the-ear aid, and it made wearing a hearing aid much less of a burden. Dahlberg’s company is now called Miracle-Ear, and remains based in Minnesota, though it’s now owned by an Italian hearing-aid company, Amplifon.
The Minnesota Iron Range might have lost its major industry instead of remaining one of the world’s largest sources of iron if it weren’t for the work of Edward Davis. Knowing that there were limited quantities of “natural” ore in the ground, Davis worked for decades to perfect technologies that would allow mining companies to separate iron from taconite, a rock formation with less pure iron content, and turn that iron into pellets for use by steel-making blast furnaces. When the natural ore began to run out in the 1950s, taconite-pellet technology was ready to take over. In 1955, Reserve Mining in Silver Bay produced the first pellets. There’s still plenty of taconite on the Range, though demand for iron has slumped in the past year, thanks to a global glut of steel.
1955Climate-Controlled Shopping Center
The Dayton department store company and Austrian-born designer Victor Gruen (a socialist in his younger days) changed the retail game forever when Southdale opened in Edina. Gruen had originally envisioned something more like a mixed-use downtown, and came to loathe the malls that Southdale pioneered and have since spread worldwide. It’s probably no coincidence that one of the world’s largest enclosed centers is just a few miles away from the original.
Edgar Hetteen didn’t invent the snowmobile. But the northern Minnesota native saw that snowmobiles had serious potential for recreational purposes, and he built the first such machine at his Roseau farm-implement company, Polaris Industries. The machine took off, and Hetteen would take off from Polaris in 1960 to start another snowmobile maker in Thief River Falls, a company that would come to be known as Arctic Cat. Polaris and Arctic Cat remain major Minnesota manufacturers, and both still make snowmobiles, although the product that has driven their growth in recent years is the all-terrain vehicle.
Working in his garage, electrical engineer Earl Bakken developed a battery-powered heart pacemaker that can be worn inside the body. Previously, pacemakers were large machines that had to be carted next to the patient. With his device, Bakken launched Medtronic, now a global med-tech giant. And yes, groundbreaking heart surgeon C. Walton Lillehei was associated with this breakthrough as well: He asked Bakken to create such a device after one of his heart patients died.
Continuing its forays far from flour and Cheerios, General Mills had an on-staff aeronautical engineer design ALVIN, a deep-sea submersible that could be transported aboard a ship instead of being towed. Used by the U.S. Naval Institute, the three-passenger sub has performed a number of remarkable tasks, from locating a lost hydrogen bomb in 1966 to exploring the wreck of the Titanic two decades later. General Mills sold its mechanical division decades ago, but ALVIN (which has been upgraded several times) remains in use.
The bane of street-loving urbanists and the boon of winter-weary downtown workers, skyways first appeared in Minneapolis across Marquette Avenue, connecting the Northstar Center and the Northwestern National Bank building, where Wells Fargo Center now stands. The idea is credited to real estate developer Leslie Park, who worried that the city’s central business district needed to stay attractive to businesses and their employees. (General Mills decamped from downtown to Golden Valley in 1955.) Minneapolis now has about eight miles of skyways. St. Paul has more than five miles, and it can claim an even older skyway, built in the 1940s between the two towers of the First National Bank building, more than a dozen floors up.
1963Retractable Seat Belt
Score another safety first for Minnesota engineer James “Crash” Ryan. In addition to the black-box flight-data recorder, Ryan developed seat belts that self-tighten during a collision. As with the black box, the retractable belt wasn’t instantly embraced—but like the black box, the retractable seat belt is now standard equipment.
The first computer to receive the designation was the CDC 6600, developed by Control Data Corp. Among its other applications, it was used to model complex phenomena such as hurricanes and galaxies. It was considered the world’s fastest computer until 1969, when its successor, the CDC 7600, sped past it. One of the lead developers on the project, Seymour Cray, would leave Control Data to start his own supercomputer firm, which put Minnesota more firmly on the mainframe map. Though Control Data has disappeared and Cray Inc. has its headquarters in Seattle (with a sizable office in St. Paul), IBM’s Rochester facility continues to work on supercomputers, such as the new Mira.
Charlie Foley and Neil Rabens worked for a St. Paul company called Reynolds Guyer Agency of Design when they created a game called Pretzel. (Some sources identify Reyn Guyer, son of agency founder Reynolds Guyer, as the originator of the idea, which Foley and Rabens then developed.) The agency sold the idea to Milton Bradley, which renamed the game Twister. Sears Roebuck, then a dominant retailer, at first refused to carry it, considering it too risqué, but the company changed its mind when Johnny Carson played it on TV in 1966. Twister has never gone out of production, and has enjoyed revivals over the years.
1966Prosthetic Heart Valve
Heart surgeon C. Walton Lillehei was once again involved with this innovation, the Lillehei-Nakib toroidal disc. Though plastic artificial heart valves had been used since the early 1950s, this new design would make artificial valves more durable and would inspire more innovations to come—and become the basis for significant business units at Medtronic and St. Jude Medical.
Walt Lillehei’s open-heart procedure is far from the only surgical first in Minnesota. The first successful pancreas, kidney and bone marrow transplants were performed at the University of Minnesota.
The other hot toy associated with St. Paul designer Reyn Guyer, the foam rubber Nerf, made it much easier for kids to play ball-related games inside. Parker Brothers bought the idea and ran with it, developing the Nerf football in the early 1970s. With the demise of Parker Brothers, Nerf has become the property of Hasbro, which has made Guyer’s original soft-toy concept the center of an arsenal of toys that blast foam darts and arrows.
Chaska engineer and designer Edward Pauls was an avid cross-country skier who wanted to re-create the exercise benefits of his favorite athletic endeavor indoors. Pauls sold the business to a company called CML, which flourished until the mid-1990s, when newer types of exercise equipment overtook skier machines in popularity. A Utah company, ICON Health & Fitness, reclaimed the product and the brand, which now is also affixed to elliptical machines, treadmills and other fitness equipment.
1979Crisp-Crust Frozen Pizza
As well as operating a small restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis, Rose Totino and her husband, Jim, ran a frozen-pizza business, which they sold to Pillsbury in 1975. Rose Totino joined Pillsbury as a vice president and kept working to improve her recipe. The crust had always been frozen pizza’s drawback, so Totino and Pillsbury food scientists developed a “delamination-resistant fried dough product,” as the patent termed it. Thanks to Totino, frozen pizza doesn’t have to have the taste and mouth-feel of tomato-covered cardboard.
Scott Olson didn’t invent the inline roller skate, but the 19-year-old made them faster and more comfortable for his fellow hockey players to wear to stay in skating shape during the summer. Pucksters took to them—and so did fitness-obsessed people who had never put a puck in the basket in their lives. Although you can still find them at roller rinks, regular roller skates have all but disappeared from the market—inline skates blew past them.
1981Satellite TV Broadcasting
Stanley S. Hubbard took a huge gamble starting U.S. Satellite Broadcasting (USSB)—a risk that included his family broadcasting company launching its own digital satellite, the first ever for TV broadcasts. After 13 years in development, the satellite could transmit dozens of channels to an 18-inch satellite dish. USSB went public in 1996 (with Hubbard Broadcasting retaining 57 percent ownership) and was sold to DirecTV in 1998. Hubbard’s pioneering success in satellite-transmitted television cemented his reputation as one of the broadcasting industry’s greatest innovators.
Golden Valley Microwave Foods’ Act II brand was the first shelf-stable popcorn you can make in the family nuke—just in time for the home VCR boom. Blockbuster Video and countless other video stores are gone, but Act II remains America’s third best-selling microwave popcorn.
1987Sleep Number Bed
Select Comfort’s pressure-adjustable air-supported mattress was the brainchild of Robert Walker, who saw the promise of similar technology at a South Carolina company called Comfortaire (which is now owned by Select Comfort). Sales of the Sleep Number bed, which allows the sleeper to easily adjust the level of air support, are small relative to traditional spring mattresses, but with 400-plus Select Comfort stores, the brand’s own number is rising. As for Walker, he should have rested on his laurels. In 2014, he was convicted of cheating investors in a new venture, a coal-to-gas energy company.
1991Breathe Right Nasal Strip
Whether or not nasal strips really help people breathe easier or snore less, there’s no doubt that it didn’t hurt when pro football players started racking up some big games wearing those little strips on the bridges of their noses. Bruce Johnson, a self-taught engineer who suffered from severe nasal congestion, found that two pieces of plastic affixed with an adhesive pad kept his nostrils open at night, and licensed the idea to CNS, the Minnesota medical equipment company that made the strips. GlaxoSmithKline seems to think they work: In 2006, the Big Pharma firm plunked down $566 million for CNS, and the pros and others are still sporting them.
These loose, comfy, stripey pants were huge with pro wrestlers, weightlifters, rockers and ballplayers of all kinds. During the first half of the 1990s, Zubaz were a hit with men. (Not so much with women—for many wives and girlfriends, Zubaz equaled sloppy and lazy.) In the mid-1990s, founders Bob Truax and Dan Stock sold their share of the company, which went bankrupt shortly thereafter. In 2007, Truax and Stock relaunched the brand via the Internet, and Zubaz have made something a comeback. Last season, after the Detroit Tigers beat the Boston Red Sox, members of the victorious team posed in full-body Zubaz with a tiger-stripe design. And just when women everywhere thought their worries were over.
1992Microwaveable French Fries
You could call this Act II’s next act. Golden Valley Microwave Foods, which had introduced Act II microwave popcorn almost a decade earlier, decided it was time for a microwave version of another All-American snack food. The Minnesota company that developed these delicacies has since been acquired by Omaha food-brand giant ConAgra.
University of Minnesota medical chemist Robert Vince’s research with a group of antiviral agents called carbovirs led to his discovery of a breakthrough anti-AIDS medication called Abacavir, marketed by Glaxo-SmithKline as Ziagen. The drug has generated more than $300 million for the university, the most lucrative source of licensing income in the school’s history.
Originally branded as QuickMedx, MinuteClinic offers a fast-in, fast-out approach to treating a handful of common ailments such as sore throats. Once health insurers approved the idea, MinuteClinic added new maladies to its treatment capabilities, and the concept spread like, well, a virus. In 2006, pharmacy chain CVS acquired the company there now are nearly 900 MinuteClinic locations nationwide—as well as a number of copies (Target Clinic, for example).
2001Fast Anthrax Test
Founded in the late 1800s, Mayo Clinic is one of the chief reasons that health care is one of Minnesota’s keystone industries. In the wake of 9/11, letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two U.S. senators, killing five and prompting a nationwide scare. Working with pharmaceutical firm Roche, Mayo researchers developed a test to detect anthrax bacteria in human and environmental samples in less than an hour. The fears subsided, but the test remains on call.
ReconRobotics was founded to commercialize University of Minnesota robotics technology. In 2007, it introduced the Recon Scout, a small, remote-controlled robot that allows military and law-enforcement personnel to “see” into dangerous situations without putting themselves in harm’s way. ReconRobotics has since developed other “throwable” mini-bots for the military, and is now throwing the idea into other markets.
This article is reprinted in partnership with Twin Cities Business.
The word Minnesota comes from the Dakota  name for the Minnesota River, which got its name from one of two words in Dakota: "mní sóta", which means "clear blue water",   or "Mníssota", which means "cloudy water".    Dakota people demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mní sóta.  Many places in the state have similar Dakota names, such as Minnehaha Falls ("curling water" or waterfall), Minneiska ("white water"), Minneota ("much water"), Minnetonka ("big water"), Minnetrista ("crooked water"), and Minneapolis, a hybrid word combining Dakota mní ("water") and -polis (Greek for "city"). 
When Europeans arrived in North America, a subculture of Sioux called the Dakota people lived in Minnesota. The first Europeans to enter the region were French voyageurs, fur traders who arrived in the 17th century. They used the Grand Portage to access trapping and trading areas further into Minnesota. The Anishinaabe (also known as Ojibwe or Chippewa) were migrating into Minnesota, causing tensions with the Dakota people,  and dislocated the Mdewakaton. Explorers such as Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, Father Louis Hennepin, Jonathan Carver, Henry Schoolcraft, and Joseph Nicollet mapped the state.
The region was part of Spanish Louisiana from 1762 to 1802.   The portion of the state east of the Mississippi River became part of the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War, when the Second Treaty of Paris was signed. Land west of the Mississippi was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase, though part of the Red River Valley was disputed until the Treaty of 1818.  In 1805 Zebulon Pike bargained with Native Americans to acquire land at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers to create a military reservation. The construction of Fort Snelling followed between 1819 and 1825.  Its soldiers built a grist mill and a sawmill at Saint Anthony Falls, which were harbingers of the water-powered industries around which Minneapolis later grew. Meanwhile, squatters, government officials, and others had settled near the fort in 1839 the army forced them off military lands, and most moved downriver, just outside the military reservation, to the area that became St. Paul. 
Minnesota underwent several territorial organizations. From 1812 to 1821 it was part of the Territory of Missouri that corresponded with much of the Louisiana Purchase. It was briefly an unorganized territory (1821-1834) and was later consolidated with Wisconsin, Iowa and half the Dakotas to form the short-lived Territory of Michigan (1834-1836). From 1836 to 1848 Minnesota and Iowa were part of the Territory of Wisconsin. From 1838 to 1846 Minnesota west of the Mississippi River was part of the Territory of Iowa. Minnesota east of the Mississippi was part of Wisconsin until 1848. When Iowa gained statehood western Minnesota was in an Unorganized Territory again. Minnesota Territory was formed on March 3, 1849. The first territorial legislature, held on September 2, 1849,  was dominated by men of New England ancestry.  Thousands of pioneers had come to create farms and cut timber. Minnesota became the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858. The founding population was so overwhelmingly of New England origins that the state was dubbed "the New England of the West".    
Treaties between the U.S. Government and the Dakota and Ojibwe gradually forced the natives off their lands and onto reservations. In 1861 residents of Mankato formed the Knights of the Forest, with a goal of eliminating all Native Americans from Minnesota. As conditions deteriorated for the Dakota, tensions rose, leading to the Dakota War of 1862.  The six-week war ended with the execution of 38 Dakota and the exile of many to the Crow Creek Reservation in Dakota Territory.  As many as 800 settlers died during the war.  Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey subsequently declared that "the Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state.”  He also placed a bounty of $25/scalp on the heads of the Dakota men. Over 1,600 Dakota women, children and elderly walked from the Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling to be held until the spring thaw allowed riverboats to take them out of Minnesota to Crow Creek by the Great Sioux Reservation. Shortly after arriving at the fort, one of the women was raped by soldiers while gathering firewood.  William Crooks, commander of 6th Minnesota, had a palisade erected around the encampment on Pike island, just below the fort, to protect native people from the soldiers and settlers.  Conditions there were poor. The food was meager, measles and cholera swept the enclosure and nothing had been done to provide sanitation.  Many died. The men were imprisoned or had fled.  In early 1863, Ramsey resigned as governor to become the Federal Indian Commissioner. His successor, Governor Henry Swift, raised the bounty to $200/scalp immediately.  When hostilities broke out there were 6,500-7,000 Sioux in the state. When hostilities ended there were 2,000 in custody. The remainder had fled, the Canadians having set aside two parcels of 7,000 and 8,000 acres for those who crossed into Manitoba. The Canadians were not eager to take in the displaced Minnesota Sioux but went on to set aside even more land for them.  Upon becoming Indian Commissioner, Ramsey set out to get the Ojibwe too. In 1863 he negotiated the Treaty of Old Crossing, whereby the Ojibwe ceded all their land in northern Minnesota and moved to reservations.
Logging, farming and railroads were mainstays of Minnesota's early economy. The sawmills at Saint Anthony Falls and logging centers of Pine City, Marine on St. Croix, Stillwater, and Winona processed vast quantities of timber. These cities were on rivers that were ideal for transportation.  St. Anthony Falls was later tapped to provide power for flour mills. Innovations by Minneapolis millers led to the production of Minnesota "patent" flour, which commanded almost double the price of "bakers'" or "clear" flour, which it replaced.  By 1900 Minnesota mills, led by Pillsbury, Northwestern and the Washburn-Crosby Company (a forerunner of General Mills), were grinding 14.1% of the nation's grain. 
The state's iron-mining industry was established with the discovery of iron in the Vermilion and Mesabi ranges in the 1880s, followed by the Cuyuna Range in the early 1900s. The ore went by rail to Duluth and Two Harbors for ship transport east via the Great Lakes. 
Industrial development and the rise of manufacturing caused the population to shift gradually from rural areas to cities during the early 20th century. Nevertheless, farming remained prevalent. Minnesota's economy was hit hard by the Great Depression, resulting in lower prices for farmers, layoffs among iron miners, and labor unrest. Compounding the adversity, western Minnesota and the Dakotas were hit by drought from 1931 to 1935. New Deal programs provided some economic turnaround. The Civilian Conservation Corps and other programs around the state established some jobs for Indians on their reservations, and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 provided the tribes with a mechanism of self-government. This gave Natives a greater voice within the state and promoted more respect for tribal customs because religious ceremonies and native languages were no longer suppressed. 
After the war, industrial development quickened. New technology increased farm productivity through automation of feedlots for hogs and cattle, machine milking at dairy farms, and raising chickens in large buildings. Planting became more specialized with hybridization of corn and wheat, and farm machinery such as tractors and combines became the norm. University of Minnesota professor Norman Borlaug contributed to these developments as part of the Green Revolution.  Suburban development accelerated due to increased postwar housing demand and convenient transportation. Increased mobility in turn enabled more specialized jobs. 
Minnesota became a center of technology after World War II. Engineering Research Associates was formed in 1946 to develop computers for the United States Navy. It later merged with Remington Rand, and then became Sperry Rand. William Norris left Sperry in 1957 to form Control Data Corporation (CDC).  Cray Research was formed when Seymour Cray left CDC to form his own company. Medical device maker Medtronic also started business in the Twin Cities in 1949.
The United States Navy and Coast Guard have recognized Minnesota with:
Minnesota is the second northernmost U.S. state (after Alaska) and northernmost contiguous state, as the isolated Northwest Angle in Lake of the Woods county is the only part of the 48 contiguous states north of the 49th parallel. The state is part of the U.S. region known as the Upper Midwest and part of North America's Great Lakes Region. It shares a Lake Superior water border with Michigan and a land and water border with Wisconsin to the east. Iowa is to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota are to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba are to the north. With 86,943 square miles (225,180 km 2 ),  or approximately 2.25% of the United States,  Minnesota is the 12th-largest state. 
Minnesota has some of the earth's oldest rocks, gneisses that are about 3.6 billion years old (80% as old as the planet).   About 2.7 billion years ago basaltic lava poured out of cracks in the floor of the primordial ocean the remains of this volcanic rock formed the Canadian Shield in northeast Minnesota.   The roots of these volcanic mountains and the action of Precambrian seas formed the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. Since a period of volcanism 1.1 billion years ago, Minnesota's geological activity has been more subdued, with no volcanism or mountain formation, but with repeated incursions of the sea, which left behind multiple strata of sedimentary rock. 
In more recent times, massive ice sheets at least one kilometer thick ravaged the state's landscape and sculpted its terrain.  The Wisconsin glaciation left 12,000 years ago.  These glaciers covered all of Minnesota except the far southeast, an area characterized by steep hills and streams that cut into the bedrock. This area is known as the Driftless Zone for its absence of glacial drift.  Much of the remainder of the state has fifty feet (15 m) or more of glacial till left behind as the last glaciers retreated. Gigantic Lake Agassiz formed in the northwest 13,000 years ago. Its flat bed now is the fertile Red River valley, and its outflow, glacial River Warren, carved the valley of the Minnesota River and the Upper Mississippi downstream from Fort Snelling.  Minnesota is geologically quiet today it experiences earthquakes infrequently, most of them minor. 
The state's high point is Eagle Mountain at 2,301 feet (701 m), which is only 13 miles (21 km) away from the low point of 601 feet (183 m) at the shore of Lake Superior.   Notwithstanding dramatic local differences in elevation, much of the state is a gently rolling peneplain. 
Two major drainage divides meet in Minnesota's northeast in rural Hibbing, forming a triple watershed. Precipitation can follow the Mississippi River south to the Gulf of Mexico, the Saint Lawrence Seaway east to the Atlantic Ocean, or the Hudson Bay watershed to the Arctic Ocean. 
The state's nickname "Land of 10,000 Lakes" is apt, as there are 11,842 Minnesota lakes over 10 acres (4 ha) in size.  Minnesota's portion of Lake Superior is the largest at 962,700 acres (389,600 ha 3,896 km 2 ) and deepest (at 1,290 ft (390 m)) body of water in the state.  Minnesota has 6,564 natural rivers and streams that cumulatively flow for 69,000 miles (111,000 km).  The Mississippi River begins its journey from its headwaters at Lake Itasca and crosses the Iowa border 680 miles (1,090 km) downstream.  It is joined by the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling, by the St. Croix River near Hastings, by the Chippewa River at Wabasha, and by many smaller streams. The Red River drains the northwest part of the state northward toward Canada's Hudson Bay. Approximately 10.6 million acres (4,300,000 ha 43,000 km 2 ) of wetlands are within Minnesota's borders, the most of any state outside Alaska. 
Flora and fauna Edit
Minnesota has four ecological provinces: prairie parkland, in the southwestern and western parts of the state the eastern broadleaf forest (Big Woods) in the southeast, extending in a narrowing strip to the state's northwestern part, where it transitions into tallgrass aspen parkland and the northern Laurentian mixed forest, a transitional forest between the northern boreal forest and the broadleaf forests to the south.  These northern forests are a vast wilderness of pine and spruce trees mixed with patchy stands of birch and poplar.
Much of Minnesota's northern forest has undergone logging, leaving only a few patches of old growth forest today in areas such as in the Chippewa National Forest and the Superior National Forest, where the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has some 400,000 acres (162,000 ha) of unlogged land.  Although logging continues, regrowth and replanting keep about a third of the state forested.  Nearly all Minnesota's prairies and oak savannas have been fragmented by farming, grazing, logging, and suburban development. 
While loss of habitat has affected native animals such as the pine marten, elk, woodland caribou, and bison,  others like whitetail deer and bobcat thrive. Minnesota has the nation's largest population of timber wolves outside Alaska,  and supports healthy populations of black bears, moose, and gophers. Located on the Mississippi Flyway, Minnesota hosts migratory waterfowl such as geese and ducks, and game birds such as grouse, pheasants, and turkeys. It is home to birds of prey, including the largest number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states as of 2007,  red-tailed hawks, and snowy owls. Hawk Ridge is one of the premier bird watching sites in North America. The lakes teem with sport fish such as walleye, bass, muskellunge, and northern pike, and brook, brown, and rainbow trout populate streams in the southeast and northeast.
Minnesota experiences temperature extremes characteristic of its continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. The lowest temperature recorded was −60 °F (−51 °C) at Tower on February 2, 1996, and the highest was 114 °F (46 °C) at Moorhead on July 6, 1936.  Meteorological events include rain, snow, blizzards, thunderstorms, hail, derechos, tornadoes, and high-velocity straight-line winds. The growing season varies from 90 days in the far northeast to 160 days in southeast Minnesota near the Mississippi River, and average temperatures range from 37 to 49 °F (3 to 9 °C).  Average summer dewpoints range from about 58 °F (14 °C) in the south to about 48 °F (9 °C) in the north.   Average annual precipitation ranges from 19 to 35 inches (48 to 89 cm), and droughts occur every 10 to 50 years. 
|Location||July (°F)||July (°C)||January (°F)||January (°C)|
Protected lands Edit
Minnesota's first state park, Itasca State Park, was established in 1891, and is the source of the Mississippi River.  Today Minnesota has 72 state parks and recreation areas, 58 state forests covering about four million acres (16,000 km 2 ), and numerous state wildlife preserves, all managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Chippewa and Superior national forests comprise 5.5 million acres (22,000 km 2 ). The Superior National Forest in the northeast contains the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which encompasses over a million acres (4,000 km 2 ) and a thousand lakes. To its west is Voyageurs National Park. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) is a 72-mile-long (116 km) corridor along the Mississippi River through the Minneapolis–St. Paul Metropolitan Area connecting a variety of sites of historic, cultural, and geologic interest. 
Saint Paul, in east-central Minnesota along the banks of the Mississippi River, has been Minnesota's capital city since 1849, first as capital of the Territory of Minnesota, and then as the state capital since 1858.
Saint Paul is adjacent to Minnesota's most populous city, Minneapolis they and their suburbs are collectively known as the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the country's 16th-largest metropolitan area and home to about 55 percent of the state's population.  The remainder of the state is known as "Greater Minnesota" or "Outstate Minnesota". 
The state has 17 cities with populations above 50,000 as of the 2010 census. In descending order of population, they are Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Rochester, Duluth, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Plymouth, Saint Cloud, Woodbury, Eagan, Maple Grove, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Blaine, and Lakeville.  Of these only Rochester, Duluth, and Saint Cloud are outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Minnesota's population continues to grow, primarily in the urban centers. The populations of metropolitan Sherburne and Scott counties doubled between 1980 and 2000, while 40 of the state's 87 counties lost residents over the same period. 
The United States Navy has recognized multiple Minnesota communities.
|Source: 1910–2020 |
From fewer than 6,120 white settlers in 1850, Minnesota's official population grew to over 1.7 million by 1900. Each of the next six decades saw a 15 percent increase in population, reaching 3.4 million in 1960. Growth then slowed, rising 11 percent to 3.8 million in 1970, and an average of 9 percent over the next three decades to 4.9 million in the 2000 Census. 
The 2020 United States Census shows Minnesota's population at 5,709,752 on April 1, 2020, a 7.65% increase since the 2010 United States Census.  The rate of population change, and age and gender distributions, approximate the national average. Minnesota's center of population is in Hennepin County. 
As of the 2010 Census Minnesota's population was 5,303,925. The gender makeup of the state was 49.6% male and 50.4% female. 24.2% of the population was under age 18 9.5% between 18 and 24 26.3% from 25 to 44 27.1% from 45 to 64 and 12.9% 65 or older. 
The table below shows the racial composition of Minnesota's population as of 2017.
|Race||Population (2017 est.)||Percentage|
|White or European American||4,708,215||84.3%|
|Black or African American||365,225||5.7%|
|Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander||3,970||0.0%|
|Some other race||88,296||1.6%|
|Two or more races||139,151||2.7%|
According to the 2017 American Community Survey, 5.1% of Minnesota's population were of Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race): Mexican (3.5%), Puerto Rican (0.2%), Cuban (0.1%), and other Hispanic or Latino origin (1.2%).  The ancestry groups claimed by more than five percent of the population were: German (33.8%), Norwegian (15.3%), Irish (10.5%), Swedish (8.1%), and English (5.4%). 
In 2011 non-Hispanic whites were involved in 72.3 percent of all the births.  Minnesota's growing minority groups, however, still form a smaller percentage of the population than in the nation as a whole. 
Minnesota has the country's largest Somali population,  with an estimated 57,000 people, the largest concentration outside of the Horn of Africa. 
The majority of Minnesotans are Protestants, including a large Lutheran contingent, owing to the state's largely Northern European ethnic makeup. Roman Catholics (of largely German, Irish, French and Slavic descent) make up the largest single Christian denomination. A 2010 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that 32 percent of Minnesotans were affiliated with Mainline Protestant traditions, 21 percent were Evangelical Protestants, 28 percent Roman Catholic, 1 percent each Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and Black Protestant, and smaller amounts of other faiths, with 13 percent unaffiliated.  According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, the denominations with the most adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church with 1,150,367 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 737,537 and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod with 182,439.  This is broadly consistent with the results of the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, which also gives detailed percentages for many individual denominations.  The international Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference is headquartered in Mankato, Minnesota.  Although Christianity is dominant, Minnesota has a long history with non-Christian faiths. Ashkenazi Jewish pioneers set up Saint Paul's first synagogue in 1856.  Minnesota is home to more than 30 mosques, mostly in the Twin Cities metro area.  The Temple of ECK, the spiritual home of Eckankar, is based in Minnesota. 
Once primarily a producer of raw materials, Minnesota's economy has transformed to emphasize finished products and services. Perhaps the most significant characteristic of the economy is its diversity the relative outputs of its business sectors closely match the United States as a whole.  Minnesota's economy had a gross domestic product of $383 billion in 2019,  with 33 of the United States' top 1,000 publicly traded companies by revenue headquartered in Minnesota,  including Target, UnitedHealth Group, 3M, General Mills, U.S. Bancorp, Ameriprise, Hormel, Land O' Lakes, SuperValu, Best Buy, and Valspar. Private companies based in Minnesota include Cargill, the largest privately owned company in the United States,  and Carlson Companies, the parent company of Radisson Hotels. 
Minnesota's per capita personal income in 2019 was $58,834, the thirteenth-highest in the nation.  Its 2019 median household income was $74,593, ranking thirteenth in the U.S. and fifth among the 36 states not on the Atlantic coast. 
As of December 2018 the state's unemployment rate was 2.8 percent. 
Industry and commerce Edit
Minnesota's earliest industries were fur trading and agriculture. Minneapolis grew around the flour mills powered by St. Anthony Falls. Although less than one percent of the population is now employed in the agricultural sector,  it remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking sixth in the nation in the value of products sold.  The state is the nation's largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and peas for processing, and farm-raised turkeys. Minnesota is also a large producer of corn and soybeans,  and has the most food cooperatives per capita in the United States.  Forestry remains strong, including logging, pulpwood processing and paper production, and forest products manufacturing. Minnesota was famous for its soft-ore mines, which produced a significant portion of the world's iron ore for more than a century. Although the high-grade ore is now depleted, taconite mining continues, using processes developed locally to save the industry. In 2016 the state produced 60 percent of the country's usable iron ore.  The mining boom created the port of Duluth, which continues to be important for shipping ore, coal, and agricultural products. The manufacturing sector now includes technology and biomedical firms, in addition to the older food processors and heavy industry. The nation's first indoor shopping mall was Edina's Southdale Center, and its largest is Bloomington's Mall of America.
Minnesota is one of 45 U.S. states with its own lottery its games include multi-jurisdiction draws, in-house draws, and other games.
Energy use and production Edit
Minnesota produces ethanol fuel and is the first to mandate its use, a ten percent mix (E10).  In 2019 there were more than 411 service stations supplying E85 fuel, comprising 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.  A two percent biodiesel blend has been required in diesel fuel since 2005. Minnesota is ranked in the top ten for wind energy production. The state gets nearly one fifth of all its electrical energy from wind. 
Xcel Energy is the state's largest utility and is headquartered in the state  it is one of five investor-owned utilities.  There are also a number of municipal utilities. 
State taxes Edit
Minnesota has a progressive income tax structure the four brackets of state income tax rates are 5.35, 7.05, 7.85 and 9.85 percent.  As of 2008 Minnesota was ranked 12th in the nation in per capita total state and local taxes.  In 2008 Minnesotans paid 10.2 percent of their income in state and local taxes the U.S. average was 9.7 percent.  The state sales tax in Minnesota is 6.875 percent, but clothing, prescription drug medications and food items for home consumption are exempt.  The state legislature may allow municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 0.5 percent supplemental sales tax in Minneapolis.  Excise taxes are levied on alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel. The state imposes a use tax on items purchased elsewhere but used within Minnesota.  Owners of real property in Minnesota pay property tax to their county, municipality, school district, and special taxing districts.
Fine and performing arts Edit
Minnesota's leading fine art museums include the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, and The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA). All are in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra are prominent full-time professional musical ensembles who perform concerts and offer educational programs to the Twin Cities' community. The world-renowned Guthrie Theater moved into a new Minneapolis facility in 2006, boasting three stages and overlooking the Mississippi River. Attendance at theatrical, musical, and comedy events in the area is strong. In the United States, Minneapolis's number of theater companies ranks behind only New York City's,  and about 2.3 million theater tickets were sold in the Twin Cities annually as of 2006.  The Minnesota Fringe Festival in Minneapolis is an annual celebration of theatre, dance, improvisation, puppetry, kids' shows, visual art, and musicals with more than 800 performances over 11 days. It is the country's largest non-juried performing arts festival. 
The rigors and rewards of pioneer life on the prairie are the subject of Giants in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag and the Little House series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Small-town life is portrayed grimly by Sinclair Lewis in the novel Main Street, and more gently and affectionately by Garrison Keillor in his tales of Lake Wobegon. St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald writes of the social insecurities and aspirations of the young city in stories such as Winter Dreams and The Ice Palace (published in Flappers and Philosophers). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha was inspired by Minnesota and names many of the state's places and bodies of water. Minnesota native Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Science fiction writer Marissa Lingen lives here.
Minnesota musicians include Holly Henry, Bob Dylan, Eddie Cochran, The Andrews Sisters, The Castaways, The Trashmen, Prince, Soul Asylum, David Ellefson, Chad Smith, John Wozniak, Hüsker Dü, Owl City, Motion City Soundtrack, The Replacements, Atmosphere, and Dessa. Minnesotans helped shape the history of music through popular American culture: the Andrews Sisters' "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" was an iconic tune of World War II, while the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird" and Bob Dylan epitomize two sides of the 1960s. In the 1980s, influential hit radio groups and musicians included Prince, The Original 7ven, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, The Jets, Lipps Inc., and Information Society.
Minnesotans have also made significant contributions to comedy, theater, media, and film. The comic strip Peanuts was created by St. Paul native Charles M. Schulz. A Prairie Home Companion which first aired in 1974, became a long-running comedy radio show on National Public Radio. A cult scifi cable TV show, Mystery Science Theater 3000, was created by Joel Hodgson in Hopkins, and Minneapolis, MN. Another popular comedy staple developed in the 1990s, The Daily Show, was originated through Lizz Winstead and Madeleine Smithberg.
Popular culture Edit
Stereotypical traits of Minnesotans include "Minnesota nice", Lutheranism, a strong sense of community and shared culture, and a distinctive brand of North Central American English sprinkled with Scandinavian expressions. Potlucks, usually with a variety of hotdishes, are popular small-town church activities. A small segment of the Scandinavian population attend a traditional lutefisk dinner to celebrate Christmas. Life in Minnesota has also been depicted or used as a backdrop, in movies such as Fargo, Grumpy Old Men, Grumpier Old Men, Juno, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Young Adult, A Serious Man, New in Town, Rio, The Mighty Ducks films, and in famous television series like Little House on the Prairie, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, Coach, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, How I Met Your Mother and Fargo. Major movies shot on location in Minnesota include That Was Then. This Is Now, Purple Rain, Airport, Beautiful Girls, North Country, Untamed Heart, Feeling Minnesota, Jingle All The Way, A Simple Plan, and The Mighty Ducks films.
The Minnesota State Fair, advertised as The Great Minnesota Get-Together, is an icon of state culture. In a state of 5.5 million people, there were more than 1.8 million visitors to the fair in 2014, setting a new attendance record.  The fair covers the variety of Minnesota life, including fine art, science, agriculture, food preparation, 4-H displays, music, the midway, and corporate merchandising. It is known for its displays of seed art, butter sculptures of dairy princesses, the birthing barn, and the "fattest pig" competition. One can also find dozens of varieties of food on a stick, such as Pronto Pups, cheese curds, and deep-fried candy bars. On a smaller scale, many of these attractions are offered at numerous county fairs.
Minnesotans have low rates of premature death, infant mortality, cardiovascular disease, and occupational fatalities.   They have long life expectancies,  and high rates of health insurance and regular exercise.    These and other measures have led two groups to rank Minnesota as the healthiest state in the nation however, in one of these rankings, Minnesota descended from first to sixth in the nation between 2005 and 2009 because of low levels of public health funding and the prevalence of binge drinking.   While overall health indicators are strong, Minnesota does have significant health disparities in minority populations. 
On October 1, 2007, Minnesota became the 17th state to enact the Freedom to Breathe Act, a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and bars. 
The Minnesota Department of Health is the primary state health agency responsible for public policy and regulation. Medical care in the state is provided by a comprehensive network of hospitals and clinics operated by a number of large providers including Allina Hospitals & Clinics, CentraCare Health System, Essentia Health, HealthPartners, M Health Fairview and the Mayo Clinic Health System. There are two teaching hospitals and medical schools in Minnesota. The University of Minnesota Medical School is a high-rated teaching institution that has made a number of breakthroughs in treatment, and its research activities contribute significantly to the state's growing biotechnology industry.  The Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned hospital based in Rochester, was founded by William Worrall Mayo, an immigrant from England.  
U.S. News & World Report 's 2020–21 survey ranked 4,554 hospitals in the country in 12 specialized fields of care, and placed the Mayo Clinic in the top four in most fields. The hospital ranked first on the best hospitals honor roll. The only specialty where it fell outside the top ten was ophthalmology.  The Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota are partners in the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a state-funded program that conducts research into cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart health, obesity, and other areas. 
One of the Minnesota Legislature's first acts when it opened in 1858 was the creation of a normal school in Winona. Minnesota's commitment to education has contributed to a literate and well-educated populace. In 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota had the second-highest proportion of high school graduates, with 91.5% of people 25 and older holding a high school diploma, and the tenth-highest proportion of people with bachelor's degrees.  In 2015, Minneapolis was named the nation's "Most Literate City", while St. Paul placed fourth, according to a major annual survey.  In a 2013 study conducted by the National Center for Educational Statistics comparing the performance of eighth-grade students internationally in math and science, Minnesota ranked eighth in the world and third in the United States, behind Massachusetts and Vermont.  In 2014, Minnesota students earned the tenth-highest average composite score in the nation on the ACT exam.  In 2013, nationwide in per-student public education spending, Minnesota ranked 21st.  While Minnesota has chosen not to implement school vouchers,  it is home to the first charter school. 
The state supports a network of public universities and colleges, including 37 institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, and five major campuses of the University of Minnesota system. It is also home to more than 20 private colleges and universities, six of which rank among the nation's top 100 liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report. 
Transportation in Minnesota is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) at the state level and by regional and local governments at the local level. Principal transportation corridors radiate from the Twin Cities metropolitan area and along interstate corridors in Greater Minnesota. The major Interstate highways are Interstate 35 (I-35), I-90, and I-94, with I-35 and I-94 connecting the Minneapolis–St. Paul area, and I-90 traveling east–west along the southern edge of the state.  In 2006, a constitutional amendment was passed that required sales and use taxes on motor vehicles to fund transportation, with at least forty percent dedicated to public transit.  There are nearly two dozen rail corridors in Minnesota, most of which go through Minneapolis–St. Paul or Duluth.  There is water transportation along the Mississippi River system and from the ports of Lake Superior. 
Minnesota's principal airport is Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP), a major passenger and freight hub for Delta Air Lines and Sun Country Airlines. Most other domestic carriers serve the airport. Large commercial jet service is provided at Duluth and Rochester, with scheduled commuter service to four smaller cities via Delta Connection carriers SkyWest Airlines, Compass Airlines, and Endeavor Air. 
Public transit services are available in the regional urban centers in Minnesota including Metro Transit in the Twin Cities, opt-out suburban operators Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, SouthWest Transit, Plymouth Metrolink, Maple Grove Transit and others. In Greater Minnesota transit services are provided by city systems such as Duluth Transit Authority, Mankato Transit System, MATBUS (Fargo-Moorhead), Rochester Public Transit, Saint Cloud Metro Bus, Winona Public Transit and others. Dial-a-Ride service is available for persons with disabilities in a majority of Minnesota Counties. 
In addition to bus services, Amtrak's daily Empire Builder (Chicago–Seattle/Portland) train runs through Minnesota, calling at the Saint Paul Union Depot and five other stations.  Intercity bus providers include Jefferson Lines, Greyhound, and Megabus. Local public transit is provided by bus networks in the larger cities and by two rail services. The Northstar Line commuter rail service runs from Big Lake to the Target Field station in downtown Minneapolis. From there, light rail runs to Saint Paul Union Depot on the Green Line, and to the MSP airport and the Mall of America via the Blue Line.
As with the federal government of the United States, power in Minnesota is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. 
The executive branch is headed by the governor. Governor Tim Walz, DFL (Democratic–Farmer–Labor), took office on January 7, 2019. The governor has a cabinet consisting of the leaders of various state government agencies, called commissioners. The other elected constitutional offices are secretary of state, attorney general, and state auditor.
- Governor Tim Walz (DFL)
- Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan (DFL)
- Secretary of State Steve Simon (DFL)
- Attorney General Keith Ellison (DFL)
- State Auditor Julie Blaha (DFL)
The Minnesota Legislature is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The state has 67 districts, each with about 60,000 people. Each district has one senator and two representatives, each senatorial district being divided into A and B sections for members of the House. Senators serve for four years and representatives for two years.
In the November 2010 Minnesota House election, the Republicans gained 25 house seats, giving them control of the body by a 72–62 margin.  The 2010 Senate election also saw Minnesota voters elect a Republican majority in the state Senate for the first time since 1972. In 2012, the Democrats regained the House of Representatives by a margin of 73–61, picking up 11 seats the Democrats also regained the Minnesota Senate. Control of the House shifted back to Republicans in the 2014 election, and returned to the DFL in the 2018 midterm election. Since 2016, the Senate has had a slim Republican majority.
- Speaker: Melissa Hortman (DFL-36B)
- Majority Leader: Ryan Winkler (DFL-46A)
- Majority Whip: Kaohly Her (DFL-64A)
- Speaker Pro Tempore: Liz Olson (DFL-7B)
- Assistant Majority Leaders: Heather Edelson (DFL-49A), Emma Greenman (DFL-63B), Michael Howard (DFL-50A), Todd Lippert (DLF-20B), Kelly Morrison (DFL-33B), Dan Wolgamott (DFL-14B)
- Minority Leader: Kurt Daudt (R-31A)
- Deputy Minority Leader: Anne Neu (R-32B)
- Minority Whip: Barb Haley (R-21A)
- Assistant Minority Leaders: Dave Baker (R-17B), Peggy Bennett (R-27A), Lisa Demuth (R-13A), Jim Nash (R-47A), Paul Novotny (R-30A), Bjorn Olson (R-23A), Peggy Scott (R-35B), Paul Torkelson (R-16B)
- President: Jeremy Miller (R-28)
- President Pro Tempore: David Tomassoni (I-06)
- Majority Leader: Paul Gazelka (R-09)
- Deputy Majority Leader: Mark Johnson (R-01)
- Assistant Majority Leaders: Roger Chamberlain (R-38), Karin Housley (R-39), John Jasinski (R-24), Zach Duckworth (R-58), Eric Pratt (R-55)
- Minority Leader: Susan Kent (DFL-53)
- Minority Whips: Kent Eken (DFL-4), Jason Isaacson (DLF-42)
- Assistant Minority Leaders: Nick Frentz (DFL-19), Melisa Franzen (DFL-49), Foung Hawj (DFL-67)
Minnesota's court system has three levels. Most cases start in the district courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction. There are 279 district court judgeships in ten judicial districts. Appeals from the trial courts and challenges to certain governmental decisions are heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, consisting of 19 judges who typically sit in three-judge panels. The seven-justice Minnesota Supreme Court hears all appeals from the tax court, the workers' compensation court of appeals, first-degree murder convictions, and discretionary appeals from the court of appeals it also has original jurisdiction over election disputes. 
Two specialized courts within administrative agencies have been established: the workers' compensation court of appeals, and the tax court, which deals with non-criminal tax cases.
In addition to the city and county levels of government found in the United States, Minnesota has other entities that provide governmental oversight and planning. Regional development commissions (RDCs) provide technical assistance to local governments in the broad multi-county areas of the state. Along with this Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), such as the Metropolitan Council, provide planning and oversight of land use actions in metropolitan areas. Many lakes and rivers are overseen by watershed districts and soil and water conservation districts.
Federal court cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Fergus Falls. Appeals are heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Missouri and St. Paul.
The State of Minnesota was created by the United States federal government in the traditional and cultural range of lands occupied by the Dakota and Anishinaabe peoples as well as other Native American groups. After many years of unequal treaties and forced resettlement by the state and federal government, the tribes re-organized into sovereign tribal governments. Today, the tribal governments are divided into 11 semi-autonomous reservations that negotiate with the U.S. and the state on a bilateral basis:
Seven Anishinaabe reservations:
The first six of the Anishinaabe bands compose the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, the collective federally recognized tribal government of the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth reservations.
Minnesota is known for a politically active citizenry, and populism has been a long-standing force among the state's political parties.   Minnesota has a consistently high voter turnout. In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, 78.2% of eligible Minnesotans voted – the highest percentage of any U.S. state – versus the national average of 61.2%.  That figure was surpassed in 2020, when 79.96% of registered voters participated in the general election.  Voters can register on election day at their polling places with evidence of residency. 
Hubert Humphrey brought national attention to the state with his address at the 1948 Democratic National Convention. Minnesotans have consistently cast their Electoral College votes for Democratic presidential candidates since 1976, longer than any other state. Minnesota is the only state in the nation that did not vote for Ronald Reagan in either of his presidential runs. Minnesota has gone for the Democratic Party in every presidential election since 1960, with the exception of 1972, when it was carried by Republican Richard Nixon.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties have major-party status in Minnesota, but its state-level Democratic party has a different name, officially known as the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). It was formed out of a 1944 alliance of the Minnesota Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties.
The state has had active third-party movements. The Reform Party, now the Independence Party, was able to elect former mayor of Brooklyn Park and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura to the governorship in 1998. The Independence Party has received enough support to keep major-party status. The Green Party, while no longer having major-party status, has a large presence in municipal government,  notably in Minneapolis and Duluth, where it competes directly with the DFL party for local offices. Major-party status in Minnesota (which grants state funding for elections) is reserved to parties whose candidates receive five percent or more of the vote in any statewide election (e.g., governor, secretary of state, U.S. president).
The state's U.S. Senate seats have generally been split since the early 1990s and in the 108th and 109th Congresses, Minnesota's congressional delegation was split, with four representatives and one senator from each party. In the 2006 mid-term election, Democrats were elected to all state offices, except governor and lieutenant governor, where Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Carol Molnau narrowly won re-election. The DFL posted double-digit gains in both houses of the legislature, elected Amy Klobuchar to the U.S. Senate, and increased the party's U.S. House caucus by one. Keith Ellison (DFL) was elected as the first African American U.S. Representative from Minnesota, as well as the first Muslim elected to Congress nationwide.  In 2008, DFLer and former comedian and radio talk show host Al Franken defeated incumbent Republican Norm Coleman in the U.S. Senate race by 312 votes out of three million cast.
In the 2010 election, Republicans took control of both chambers of the Minnesota legislature for the first time in 38 years and, with Mark Dayton's election, the DFL party took the governor's office for the first time in 20 years. Two years later, the DFL regained control of both houses, and with Dayton in office, the party had same-party control of both the legislative and executive branches for the first time since 1990. Two years later, the Republicans regained control of the Minnesota House,  and in 2016, the GOP also regained control of the State Senate. 
In 2018, the DFL retook control of the Minnesota House, while electing DFLer Tim Walz as Governor.
The Twin Cities area is the fifteenth-largest media market in the United States, as ranked by Nielsen Media Research. The state's other top markets are Fargo–Moorhead (118th nationally), Duluth–Superior (137th), Rochester–Mason City–Austin (152nd), and Mankato (200th). 
Broadcast television in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest started on April 27, 1948, when KSTP-TV began broadcasting.  Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns KSTP, is now the only locally owned television company in Minnesota. Twin Cities CBS station WCCO-TV and FOX station KMSP-TV are owned-and-operated by their respective networks. There are 39 analog broadcast stations and 23 digital channels broadcast over Minnesota.
The four largest daily newspapers are the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, the Pioneer Press in Saint Paul, the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, and the Post-Bulletin in Rochester. The Minnesota Daily is the largest student-run newspaper in the U.S.  Sites offering daily news on the Web include The UpTake, MinnPost, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, business news site Finance and Commerce and Washington D.C.-based Minnesota Independent. Weeklies including City Pages and monthly publications such as Minnesota Monthly are available.
Two of the largest public radio networks, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and Public Radio International (PRI), are based in the state. MPR has the largest audience of any regional public radio network in the nation, broadcasting on 46 radio stations as of 2019.   PRI weekly provides more than 400 hours of programming to almost 800 affiliates.  The state's oldest radio station, KUOM-AM, was launched in 1922 and is among the 10-oldest radio stations in the United States. The University of Minnesota-owned station is still on the air, and since 1993 broadcasts a college rock format.
Minnesota has an active program of organized amateur and professional sports. Tourism has become an important industry, especially in the Lake region. In the North Country, what had been an industrial area focused on mining and timber has largely been transformed into a vacation destination. Popular interest in the environment and environmentalism, added to traditional interests in hunting and fishing, has attracted a large urban audience within driving range. 
Organized sports Edit
Minnesota has professional men's teams in all major sports.
The Minnesota Vikings have played in the National Football League since their admission as an expansion franchise in 1961. They played in Metropolitan Stadium from 1961 through 1981 and in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome from 1982 until its demolition after the 2013 season for the construction of the team's new home, U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings' current stadium hosted Super Bowl LII in February 2018. Super Bowl XXVI was played in the Metrodome in 1992. The Vikings have advanced to the Super Bowl Super Bowl IV, Super Bowl VIII, Super Bowl IX, and Super Bowl XI, losing all four games to their AFC/AFL opponent
The Minnesota Twins have played in the Major League Baseball in the Twin Cities since 1961. The Twins began play as the original Washington Senators, a founding member of the American League in 1901, relocating to Minnesota in 1961. The Twins won the 1987 and 1991 World Series in seven-game matches where the home team was victorious in all games. The Twins also advanced to the 1965 World Series, where they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. The team has played at Target Field since 2010.
The Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association played in the Minneapolis Auditorium from 1947 to 1960, after which they relocated to Los Angeles. The Minnesota Timberwolves joined the NBA in 1989, and have played in Target Center since 1990.
The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild play in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center, and reached 300 consecutive sold-out games on January 16, 2008.  Previously, the Minnesota North Stars competed in NHL from 1967 to 1993, which played in and lost the 1981 and 1991 Stanley Cup Finals.
Minnesota United FC joined Major League Soccer as an expansion team in 2017, having played in the lower-division North American Soccer League from 2010 to 2016. The team plays at Allianz Field in St. Paul.  Previous professional soccer teams have included the Minnesota Kicks, which played at Metropolitan Stadium from 1976 to 1981, and the Minnesota Strikers from 1984 to 1988.
Minnesota also has minor-league professional sports teams. The Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League played at the Xcel Energy Center until the team moved to Georgia in 2015. The St. Paul Saints, who play at CHS Field in St. Paul, are the Triple-A minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
Professional women's sports include the Minnesota Lynx of the Women's National Basketball Association, winners of the 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 WNBA Championships, the Minnesota Lightning of the United Soccer Leagues W-League, the Minnesota Vixen of the Independent Women's Football League, the Minnesota Valkyrie of the Legends Football League, and the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women's Hockey League.
The Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I school competing in the Big Ten Conference. Four additional schools in the state compete in NCAA Division I ice hockey: the University of Minnesota Duluth Minnesota State University, Mankato St. Cloud State University and Bemidji State University. There are nine NCAA Division II colleges in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, and twenty NCAA Division III colleges in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.  
The Hazeltine National Golf Club has hosted the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open and PGA Championship. The course also hosted the Ryder Cup in the fall of 2016, when it became one of two courses in the U.S. to host all major golf competitions. The Ryder Cup is scheduled to return in 2028. 
Winter Olympic Games medalists from the state include twelve of the twenty members of the gold medal 1980 ice hockey team (coached by Minnesota native Herb Brooks) and the bronze medalist U.S. men's curling team in the 2006 Winter Olympics. Swimmer Tom Malchow won an Olympic gold medal in the 2000 Summer games and a silver medal in 1996.
Grandma's Marathon is run every summer along the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior, and the Twin Cities Marathon winds around lakes and the Mississippi River during the peak of the fall color season. Farther north, Eveleth is the location of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
Outdoor recreation Edit
Minnesotans participate in high levels of physical activity,  and many of these activities are outdoors. The strong interest of Minnesotans in environmentalism has been attributed to the popularity of these pursuits. 
In the warmer months, these activities often involve water. Weekend and longer trips to family cabins on Minnesota's numerous lakes are a way of life for many residents. Activities include water sports such as water skiing, which originated in the state,  boating, canoeing, and fishing. More than 36 percent of Minnesotans fish, second only to Alaska. 
Fishing does not cease when the lakes freeze ice fishing has been around since the arrival of early Scandinavian immigrants.  Minnesotans have learned to embrace their long, harsh winters in ice sports such as skating, hockey, curling, and broomball, and snow sports such as cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, luge, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.  Minnesota is the only U.S. state where bandy is played. 
State and national forests and the seventy-two state parks are used year-round for hunting, camping, and hiking. There are almost 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of snowmobile trails statewide.  Minnesota has more miles of bike trails than any other state,  and a growing network of hiking trails, including the 235-mile (378 km) Superior Hiking Trail in the northeast.  Many hiking and bike trails are used for cross-country skiing during the winter.
Minnesota - History
Minnesota has been inhabited by people for thousands of years including ancient cultures such as the Woodland people and the Mississippian culture. When the Europeans arrived in the 1600s, Native American tribes lived throughout the region. The largest Native American tribe in the area was the Dakota Sioux. They hunted buffalo and farmed crops such as corn, beans, and squash. Other smaller tribes included the Ojibwa, the Cree, and the Cheyenne.
Fish Lake in Kanabec County, Minnesota by Smoove
The first Europeans to arrive in Minnesota were the French. Explorers such as Pierre Radisson and Medard des Groseilleirs first visited the region in the 1650s. These early explorers mapped out the coast of Lake Superior and claimed the land for France.
The French made an agreement with the Ojibwa peoples to trade for furs in 1671. French trader Daniel Graysolon, Sieur Du Luth explored the area and, in 1679, he helped to negotiate a peace agreement between the Dakota and Ojibwa tribes. The city of Duluth is named after him.
After the French and Indian war between the British and French ended in 1763, the British took over the eastern portion of Minnesota. However, the land was only in British hands for 20 years when it became a territory of the United States after the Revolutionary War. In 1803, the United States purchased the rest of Minnesota from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
After buying the Louisiana Purchase, President Thomas Jefferson sent out explorers to learn more about the vast new land. Explorer Zebulon Pike arrived in Minnesota in 1805. His main goal was to find the headwaters of the Mississippi River. He didn't find the source of the Mississippi, but he did sign a treaty with the Dakota Indians for land in the area.
Henry Schoolcraft by Wellstood and Peters
In 1832, explorer Henry Schoolcraft finally found the source of the Mississippi River with the help of the Ojibwa peoples. He named the source Lake Itasca. Later, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow would write The Song of Hiawatha based on Indian legends and stories told by Schoolcraft about Minnesota.
The first major U.S. outpost in Minnesota was Fort Snelling which was completed in 1825. It was built at the point where the Minnesota and the Mississippi Rivers come together. Two major cities eventually were built up on each side of the Mississippi River. The city on the west side was called Minneapolis and the city on the east side St. Paul. Today these two cities are often referred to as the Twin Cities and are the two largest cities in Minnesota.
In 1849, Minnesota became a territory of the United States. Over the next two decades, numerous immigrants from northern European countries such as Germany and Sweden settled in Minnesota. On May 11, 1858 Minnesota was admitted to the Union as the 32nd state.
Minneapolis, Minnesota by Jim Bean
Origin of name: From a Dakota Indian word meaning ??sky-tinted water?
10 largest cities (2012): Minneapolis, 392,880 St. Paul, 290,770 Rochester, 108,992 Duluth, 86,211 Bloomington, 86,033 Brooklyn Park, 77,752 Plymouth, 72,928 St. Cloud, 65,986 Eagan, 64,854 Woodbury, 64,496
Geographic center: In Crow Wing Co., 10 mi. SW of Brainerd
Number of counties: 87
Largest county by population and area: Hennepin, 1,152,425 (2010) St. Louis, 6,226 sq mi.
State forests: 58 (nearly 4 million ac.)
2010 resident census population (rank): 5,303,925 (21). Male: 2,632,132 Female: 2,671,793. White: 4,524,062 (88.0%) Black: 274,412 (4.4%) American Indian: 60,916 (1.0%) Asian: 214,234 (3.5%) Other race: 103,000 (1.4%) Two or more races: 125,145 (1.8%) Hispanic/Latino: 250,258 (4.0%). 2010 population 18 and over: 4,019,862 65 and over: 683,121 median age: 37.3.
Following the visits of several French explorers, fur traders, and missionaries, including Jacques Marquette, Louis Joliet, and Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, the region was claimed for Louis XIV by Daniel Greysolon, Sieur Duluth, in 1679.
The U.S. acquired eastern Minnesota from Great Britain after the Revolutionary War and 20 years later bought the western part from France in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Much of the region was explored by U.S. Army lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike before the northern strip of Minnesota bordering Canada was ceded by Britain in 1818.
The state is rich in natural resources. A few square miles of land in the north in the Mesabi, Cuyuna, and Vermilion ranges produce more than 75% of the nation's iron ore. The state's farms rank high in yields of corn, wheat, rye, alfalfa, and sugar beets. Other leading farm products include butter, eggs, milk, potatoes, green peas, barley, soybeans, oats, and livestock.
Minnesota's factories produce nonelectrical machinery, fabricated metals, flour-mill products, plastics, electronic computers, scientific instruments, and processed foods. The state is also a leader in the printing and paper-products industries.
Minneapolis is the trade center of the Midwest, and the headquarters of the world's largest super-computer and grain distributor. St. Paul is the nation's biggest publisher of calendars and law books. These ??twin cities? are the nation's third-largest trucking center. Duluth has the nation's largest inland harbor and now handles a significant amount of foreign trade. Rochester is home to the Mayo Clinic, a world-famous medical center.
Tourism is a major revenue producer in Minnesota, with arts, fishing, hunting, water sports, and winter sports bringing in millions of visitors each year.
Among the most popular attractions are the St. Paul Winter Carnival the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre, the Institute of Arts, Walker Art Center, and Minnehaha Park, in Minneapolis Boundary Waters Canoe Area Voyageurs National Park North Shore Drive the Minnesota Zoological Gardens and the state's more than 10,000 lakes.
Minnesota — History and Culture
Minnesota has enjoyed a fairly stable and prosperous economy since it began cutting timber and milling wood. Its mills have expanded to other sectors and added iron ore mining and shipping. Throughout its history, Minnesota has had a strong farming community. Today the state is diverse in both economy and population, with rich Scandinavian roots and a thriving arts scene in Minneapolis-St Paul. The natural beauty of the state and the strength of its people have shaped residents into some of America’s nicest folks. They seem to take everything in stride and are always welcoming when visitors come to town.
Like most of the northern United States, Minnesota had been traditional Native American land long before the first French fur trappers arrived in the 17th century. The Dakota, Sioux and Ojibwe were three of the biggest tribes in this region, and they did not always get along. Fort Snelling was built in the early 1800s to protect American interests in the area.
In the mid-1800s, Native Americans began selling their land to the US government and were displaced onto small reservations. This did not sit well with the Dakota, which led to the six-week Dakota War of 1862. The Indians lost and were moved to Crow Reservation in Dakota Territory. Hundreds of white settlers and Native Americans were killed in the battle.
Farming and logging were the first big industries in Minnesota thanks to the wealth of waterways that provided transportation and irrigation. Sawmills at Saint Anthony Falls and logging hubs at Winona and Stillwater helped the state grow. The mills gradually expanded into the flour industry, and several historic mills like Phelps are still around.
Iron ore provided the next economic boost, and port towns like Duluth and Two Harbors prospered through shipping routes on Lake Superior. The Great Depression brought much of Minnesota’s industry to a halt, allowing farming to become more important.
After WWII the state became a center for technology manufacturing. Early computer companies like Control Data and Cray built their headquarters in Minneapolis-St Paul, which in turn injected much needed cash, jobs and positivity into the state. With a strengthened economy came the creation of cultural attractions like the Guthrie Theater and Walker Art Center. Today, Minnesotans enjoy a broad lifestyle supported by outdoor recreation tourism and the energy of the Twin Cities.
Ask any American who the friendliest people in the are country and the answer often is Minnesotans. Maybe it’s the brutally harsh winters that forge such warm-hearted folks, but whatever the cause, it’s welcoming to travelers who can expect smiles and help all around.
Minnesota is well-known as a center of Scandinavian and German heritage thanks to the immigrants who settled over a century ago. Recent newcomers have been Asian and Latin American, helping create a rich ethnic diversity especially in Minneapolis-St Paul. The population of the state is one of the healthiest and best-educated in America. Residents are involved in their local communities and enjoy both the outdoors and the arts.
African Americans in Minnesota
Engravings of Harriet Robinson Scott (at left) and Dred Scott (at right) that appeared in the June 27, 1857, edition of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.
African Americans have lived in Minnesota since the 1800s. The local African American population developed from individuals who were born in the state as well as those who migrated to Minnesota from other states in search of a better life. Despite being subjected to discrimination and inequality, African Americans established communities and institutions that contributed to the vibrancy of the state. This article defines African Americans as Americans who are descendants of enslaved black Africans in the U.S. and does not include immigrants or refugees from Africa (for example, Somali and Oromo people.
EARLY SETTLER-COLONISTS AND THE BLACK POPULATION
George Bonga, born near Duluth in 1802, is believed to be the first black person born in Minnesota. His father was black and his mother was Ojibwe. Bonga became a fur trader like his father and also worked as a translator as he was fluent in English, French, and Ojibwe. He married an Ojibwe woman, and they along with their children lived in the Leech Lake area, where they operated a lodge. Bungo Township in Cass County is named after Bonga’s family.
Although slavery was not allowed in Minnesota, officers stationed at Fort Snelling, fur traders, and vacationing southerners brought enslaved people to the state in the late 1800s. Dred Scott and his wife, Harriet, lived at the fort in the 1830s. James Thompson, an enslaved man, lived at Fort Snelling in 1827 and was emancipated in 1837. He lived in St. Paul, where he worked as a carpenter. Eliza Winston, an enslaved woman who visited Minnesota with her owners from Mississippi, obtained her freedom in 1860 after a judge ruled she was a free woman. In 1862, Joseph Godfrey, an enslaved man born near Mendota, escaped and joined the Dakota, with whom he fought against white settler-colonists during the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862.
African Americans migrated to the state during the Civil War as Minnesota suffered a labor shortage. White Minnesotans who served in the U.S. Colored Regiments sent enslaved men and women who had escaped to Minnesota to work on farms and in the army. In 1863, the steamboats Northerner and Davenport brought enslaved people to Minnesota who had escaped from Missouri.
The Mississippi River was a frequently traveled route connecting St. Louis and St. Paul. Reverend Robert Hickman and about seventy-five enslaved men, women, and children escaped from Missouri and traveled north to live and work as free persons. They were found adrift on the Mississippi River, where the Northerner encountered the raft and towed it to St. Paul.
On May 5, 1863, when the Northerner reached St. Paul, an angry crowd threatened them, so the steamboat continued to Fort Snelling. Less than two weeks later, on May 15, 1863, the steamboat Davenport, escorted by the Union Army, brought over two hundred enslaved persons to work in St. Paul. At the end of the war, a few freed people followed soldiers returning to Minnesota to work as laborers. Many moved to cities and towns, and a few became farmers.
The black population in Minnesota has historically been small. According to the state census, in 1890 Minnesota’s total population was 1,310,283 and the black population was 3,683—only 0.3 percent. The state’s black population remained below 1 percent for many years.
The black population began growing significantly between 1950 and 1970 during the “Great Migration” of African Americans from southern states to the North, Midwest, and West. Although Minnesota’s black population did not increase as much as the populations of other northern states, such as Illinois and Michigan, during this twenty-year period, it rose by 149 percent.
The black population continued to increase, but remained small. In 1980, the state’s total population was 4,075,970 and its black population was 53,344. By 2010, the census reported Minnesota’s total population as 5,303,925, compared to the black population of 274,412—only 5 percent.
STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
Blacks were not allowed to vote until 1868, when voters approved the equal suffrage amendment to the Minnesota constitution, which gave voting rights to black men. The amendment had been rejected twice—in 1865 and 1867—before passing. Minnesota granted black men the right to vote two years before the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted such a right in 1870.
While Minnesota was considered a progressive state and had laws against discrimination, many restaurants and hotels denied blacks service. In addition, restrictive housing covenants prevented blacks from moving into many neighborhoods.
African Americans experienced discrimination in housing, employment, and education, but they challenged discriminatory practices by filing court actions and creating organizations to fight for civil rights. In 1865, St. Paul segregated its public schools by opening a “School for Colored Children.” The St. Paul schools were the only education system in Minnesota that was segregated. In response to community and political pressure, the state legislature passed a law in 1869 banning school segregation in St. Paul.
In 1885, Minnesota passed the Equal Accommodations Act, which guaranteed blacks equal access to all public places and hotels. However, in 1887, William Hazel, a black architect, was denied a room at the Clarendon and Astoria hotels in St. Paul because of his race. When he complained, he was arrested. Hazel filed a lawsuit and won. In 1897, Minnesota passed a civil rights law that was quickly tested by McCants Stewart, who filed suit in 1898 against a restaurant when he was refused service. The jury took only fifteen minutes to decide in Stewart’s favor.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, blacks formed groups to fight discrimination. These included the Minnesota Protective and Industrial League, the Afro-American League, and the Minnesota Citizen Civil Rights Committee. In 1902, the annual meeting of the National Afro-American Council was held in St. Paul and attended by national leaders W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, and Booker T. Washington. The meeting, organized by St. Paul attorney Fredrick McGhee, prompted a split between Du Bois and Washington, who had different ideologies and methods regarding blacks’ pursuit of civil rights. Du Bois, McGhee, and others formed the Niagara Movement, which led to the creation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910. The NAACP formed local branches in St. Paul in 1913 and Minneapolis in 1914.
In 1919, during a “red summer,” race riots erupted in several American cities, resulting in numerous deaths and extensive property damage. Also during this period, the NAACP published a report examining lynching and sponsored anti-lynching legislation. In 1920, three black men were lynched in Duluth. Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie were circus workers who were accused of sexually assaulting a white woman. They were dragged from jail, beaten, and hung from a telephone pole by a white mob while thousands of people, including the police, watched. The lynching led to the enactment of an anti-lynch law that had been lobbied for by an African American suffragist and civil rights leader named Nellie Francis. Soon, the Duluth branch of the NAACP was organized. In 2003, the City of Duluth built a memorial to honor the three men who were brutally killed.
Housing discrimination was rampant in the Twin Cities, and incidents of racially motivated violence occurred when blacks moved into white neighborhoods. Lena O. Smith, the first black woman to become an attorney in Minnesota, challenged discrimination in the courts. But discrimination continued. In 1931, a black family, Arthur and Edith Lee, moved into a white neighborhood in South Minneapolis. White residents tried to get them to sell their home, but they refused. A mob protested outside their house every night, throwing rocks and black paint, shouting threats and racial slurs, and leaving garbage and excrement on the lawn. The harassment continued for two years until the Lees moved to a historically black neighborhood in south Minneapolis. The Lee house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. There were other sporadic incidents of racially motivated intimidation against blacks when they moved into white neighborhoods, including cross burnings.
In 1967, during the “long hot summer,” hundreds of race riots erupted across the country. Racial tensions exploded along Plymouth Avenue in North Minneapolis when blacks demonstrated against discrimination and police brutality. The Minnesota National Guard was dispatched to Plymouth Avenue for over a week.
Employment discrimination was pervasive in Minnesota. While some blacks worked in skilled trade jobs as stonecutters and bricklayers, many white employers refused to hire blacks. This limited their opportunities to unskilled jobs as laborers, waiters, cooks, and porters in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Blacks who worked for the railroad as porters organized St. Paul Lodge No. 5 of the United Brotherhood of Railway Porters of North America in 1887. In 1925, A. Philip Randolph organized a national union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Frank Boyd, who had worked as a Pullman porter since 1907, organized meetings for the Brotherhood in St. Paul. Boyd was fired for union organizing. In 1976, the City of St. Paul dedicated a park in his name.
The St. Paul Urban League was founded in 1923 to address black unemployment and race discrimination. In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) encouraged workers to organize unions, but most labor unions barred blacks from membership. Despite this prohibition, Anthony Cassius and Nellie Stone Johnson became prominent labor organizers in Minnesota. Cassius organized the all-black waiters union at the Curtis Hotel in Minneapolis in 1935 after learning that white waiters made more money than black waiters. The Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union did not accept black members, so Cassius organized Local 614 of the Hotel and Restaurant Waiters Union.
Cassius sued the hotel and won a $13,000 wage increase and $3,500 in back pay for black waiters in 1940. Johnson helped organize Local 665 of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union at the Minneapolis Athletic Club. She later became the first black elected official when she was elected to the Minneapolis Library Board in 1945, and she helped create the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL). A school in Minneapolis is named after Johnson.
COMMUNITIES AND INSTITUTIONS
In the twenty-first century, most blacks live in Minneapolis and St. Paul. In 2010, of the 274,412 blacks in Minnesota, Minneapolis had the largest population with 71,098, followed by St. Paul with 44,728. While some blacks have achieved success, the Twin Cities continue to have problems with racial disparities and segregation.
Due to restrictive covenants and discriminatory housing practices in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, blacks were limited to living in certain areas, which created distinct black communities. In Minneapolis, blacks lived on the near Northside along Sixth and Lyndale Avenues North at Seven Corners, where Washington, Fifteenth Avenue, Nineteenth Avenue, and Cedar Avenue intersect and on the Southside, between Nicollet and Chicago Avenues and Thirty-fourth and Forty-sixth Streets. A black enclave also developed in the Shingle Creek neighborhood near Fiftieth Street and Humboldt Avenue North.
In St. Paul, blacks lived in the Rondo neighborhood, south of University Avenue from Rice Street to Lexington Parkway. In the 1960s, the Rondo neighborhood was destroyed and more than six hundred residents were displaced to make way for Interstate 94. The annual Rondo Days and Jazz Festivals commemorate its history. In the 1970s, some African Americans moved from Rondo and other historically black neighborhoods to new areas in the Twin Cities and the suburbs.
The first black churches were organized in the 1800s. St. James African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Minneapolis was organized in 1863 as a small prayer group it became a church in 1869. Pilgrim Baptist Church was founded in 1866 St. Mark’s Episcopal Church was organized in 1867 St. James African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in St. Paul was organized in 1876 St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church was founded in 1880 Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church was formed in 1887 and St. Peter Claver Catholic Church was organized in 1888. Blacks created business districts in Rondo in South Minneapolis at Thirty-Eighth Street and Fourth Avenue and in North Minneapolis along Plymouth Avenue.
African Americans started community centers that provided housing and employment information and recreational activities. In Minneapolis, the Phyllis Wheatley House was founded in 1924 as a “settlement house,” and Sabathani Community Center was established in 1966. In St. Paul, the Neighborhood House was established in 1897, the Welcome Hall Community Center in 1916, the Christian Center in 1926, and the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in 1929.
Blacks also founded newspapers and publications. The Western Appeal and the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder were the longest running and most successful. The Western Appeal was published from 1885 to 1923, and John Q. Adams was its outspoken editor. Roy Wilkins, who led the NAACP from 1949 to 1977, also served as editor at the Appeal. The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (formerly the Minneapolis Spokesman and the St. Paul Recorder), Minnesota’s longest-published black newspaper and black-owned business, was founded in 1934 by Cecil Newman. In 2015, the paper celebrated its eightieth anniversary and was designated a historic landmark.
From 1885 to 1974, there were almost twenty black newspapers published in the state. In 2017, there are only two: the Spokesman-Recorder and Insight News. In addition to newspapers, Walter Scott Sr. published photo books featuring blacks in Minneapolis between the 1950s and 1970s called the Minneapolis Beacon and Minneapolis Negro Profile.
Blacks formed social clubs, fraternal organizations, bowling leagues and baseball teams but were historically excluded from private golf clubs and tournaments. In response, Jimmie Slemmons created the Minnesota Negro Open golf tournament in 1939 to give blacks an opportunity to play and compete. The tournament was renamed the Upper Midwest Bronze Amateur Tournament in 1954 and attracted participants from around the country. Former heavyweight champion Joe Louis won the tournament in 1957.
Outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul, black communities developed in pockets around Duluth and Fergus Falls in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Blacks moved to Duluth in search of jobs created by the railroad, shipping, and mining industries. John Nichols, who moved to Duluth in 1884, owned and operated the City Hotel until his death in 1907. In 1890, Reverend Richmond Taylor founded St. Mark’s African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Many social clubs established in the Twin Cities also had chapters in Duluth. There were black newspapers: the World, published by P. O. Gray in 1895, and the Progressive News Review, published in 1904 by Henry Williams. In the 1920s, the U.S. Steel Corporation recruited black laborers from the South to work in its Duluth plant. However, many workers left because of low wages, segregated housing, and cold weather. Duluth’s black population was 1,946 in 2015.
In Fergus Falls, Prince Honeycutt was the city’s first black resident (1872). He owned a barbershop, founded the local baseball team, and ran for mayor in 1896. In 1898, a group of eighty-five African Americans moved to Fergus Falls from Kentucky after being recruited by real estate agents. They started farms, opened businesses, founded a church, and built homes, but during the Great Depression in the 1930s, many families faced financial hardship and moved away. Descendants of the “First 85” gathered in Fergus Falls in 2010 for a reunion. In 2015, only 156 blacks lived in Fergus Falls.
African Americans contributed to and achieved success in medicine, education, law, business, politics, and the arts. Some Minnesota trailblazers were Dr. Robert S. Brown, the first black doctor Richard Green, the first black superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools and Clarence “Cap” Wigington, the first black municipal architect. Frederick Jones was the first black inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He created the Thermo King portable refrigeration unit, which allowed delivery trucks to keep goods cool. Archie Givens, a business owner and real estate developer, was the first black millionaire in Minnesota. He and his wife, Phebe, established the Archie Givens Sr. Collection of African American Literature at the University of Minnesota, which consists of over 10,000 books, magazines, and pamphlets by or about African Americans.
Blacks excelled in the field of law. Fredrick McGhee was Minnesota’s first black lawyer Lena Smith the first black female lawyer L. Howard Bennett the first black municipal judge and Stephen Maxwell the first black district court judge. Pamela Alexander was the first black female prosecutor and first black female judge in Hennepin County. In addition, Alan Page was the first black judge on the Minnesota Supreme Court Michael J. Davis was the first black federal judge in Minnesota and Wilhelmina Wright was the first black female federal judge in Minnesota.
In politics, John Francis Wheaton was the first black elected to the Minnesota legislature Neva Walker the first black woman elected to the Minnesota legislature Van White the first black elected to the Minneapolis City Council Sharon Sayles Belton the first black and first woman elected Mayor of Minneapolis Bill Wilson the first black elected to the St. Paul City Council Jean Harris the first black woman elected mayor of Eden Prairie and Keith Ellison the first black elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota.
African Americans’ contributions to the arts transcended Minnesota and received international recognition. Prince Rogers Nelson (Prince), born in Minneapolis, was a legendary singer-songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist musician, philanthropist, and producer. He was also a best-selling artist who won Grammy, American Music, Golden Globe, and Academy awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. He created the “Minneapolis Sound,” a mix of soul, dance, funk, and rock and roll music that featured synthesizers and drum machines.
Jimmy “Jam” Harris III and Terry Lewis started their music careers in the Minneapolis band “Flyte Tyme.” The group later became “The Time,” which was produced by Prince. Harris and Lewis also wrote and produced hit songs for numerous artists, including Janet Jackson. Grammy-award-winning Sounds of Blackness, a musical ensemble, started in 1969 at Macalester College. Grammy-nominated band Mint Condition was started in the 1980s at St. Paul Central High School. Penumbra Theatre, founded in 1976 by artistic director Lou Bellamy, is credited with launching the career of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson.
Minnesota - History
General Minnesota State History
Humans first came to Minnesota during the last ice age, following herds of large game as glaciers melted. Long before the first Europeans arrived, Indians from as far away as 1,000 miles came to make ceremonial pipes from soft read pipestone carved from sacred quarries. The Pipestone National Monument in southwest Minnesota illustrates how these quarries were and still are used.
Five thousand years ago, humans made rock carvings of people, animals, and weapons that can be seen today at Jeffers Petroglyphs in southwest Minnesota. These people also brought to Minnesota the idea of building earth mounds for graves and sacred ceremonies. At one time, there were more than 10,000 of these mounds in Minnesota.
When the first French fur traders, or voyageurs, arrived in the late 1600s, the Dakota (or Sioux) people had lived in Minnesota for many years. They hunted buffalo, fished, planted corn, beans, and squash, and harvested northern beds of wild rice. They lived in warm skin tipis in the winter and had airy bark houses, or wigwams, for the summer. The Anishinabe (or Ojibwe, also Chippewa) people moved into Minnesota from the east. They lived much like the Dakota, but from the French fur traders they obtained metal tools and weapons, cloth, blankets, and ornaments. By 1800, the Anishinabe had taken over the lakes and woods of the north.
In the early 1800s, the U.S. government said it needed more land in this area. The Dakota signed a treaty with the U.S. government for the land where the Minnesota River joins the Mississippi, and, in the 1820s, Fort Snelling was built there.
During the years that followed, the Dakota and Anishinabe tribes were forced to sign treaties to relinquish most of Minnesota to the U.S. government. Thousands of new people poured into the region to build farms and cut timber. In 1858, Minnesota became the 32nd state.
THE DAKOTA CONFLICT By 1862, the Dakota were crowded into a small reservation along the Minnesota River. Times were had and Indian families hungry. When the U.S. government broke its promises, some of the Dakota went to war against the white farmers and towns. Many Dakota did not join in, but the fighting lasted six weeks and many people on both sides were killed or fled Minnesota. Afterwards the government forced most of the remaining Dakota to leave Minnesota. The Anishinabe stayed in northern Minnesota, and were not involved in the war.
The Dakota who stayed and those who eventually returned have formed four communities in southern Minnesota. There are seven Anishinabe Indian reservations in northern Minnesota. Many of the Indian people and their families who moved to the cities after World War II have continued to live there. Wherever they live, Minnesota's Indians are maintaining their cultural identities.
Large number of immigrants came to Minnesota beginning in the 1830s to work in lumbering and farming. They were mainly from the eastern United States, Canada, and northern Europe. By 1900, the combined total of Scandinavians from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark outnumbered those from any single county. Later, as cities and new industries grew, people came also from eastern and southern Europe. Finland, Yugoslavia, and Italy sent many workers to Minnesota mines and factories. In 1900, nearly half of all Minnesotans were of German ancestry.
A few people of African descent had come with the early fur traders and soldiers. More moved to Minnesota after the Civil War, living and working mainly in the cities.
By the 1920s, many migrant farm workers of Mexican descent had come to the state. In the 1990 census, 53,884 Minnesotans were of Spanish-speaking ancestry, an increase of nearly 70%. They include people from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
In the 1980s, Minnesota became home to many Southeast Asian refugees who left Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos because of the Vietnam War and its aftermath.