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Minnesota State Flag
Minnesota State Seal
is the 32nd state of the United
States, having joined the Union on May 11, 1858. Its name is from
the Dakota people's name for the Minnesota River, mini sota, variously
translated "smoky-white water" or "sky-tinted water". The state's name
is abbreviated Minn. or MN.
along with neighboring states North
Dakota, South Dakota,
Iowa, and Wisconsin,
form a region called the "Upper Midwest," a subsection of the Midwestern
The USS Minnesota
was named in honor of this state, as was the SS Gopher State.
State; North Star State; Land of 10,000 Lakes
- % water
- Total (2000)
May 11, 1858
89°34'W to 97°12'W
du Nord ( Star of the North )
and White Showy Lady Slipper
(adopted as part of a school project on how a bill becomes law)
(sponge mushroom; honeycomb morel)
sursum volo videre ( I wish to see what is beyond )
sursum velo videre ( I cover to see what is above is
the closest translation)
History Prior to Joining
the United States
- Originally inhabited
by Native Americans, in particular the Ojibwe (Chippewa, Anishinaabe)
and Dakota, although the Ho-Chunk also had a presence in the southeastern
part of the state.
- Economy originally
consisted of hunter-gather lifemode, which changed over time as Europeans
settled in the area and further exploited the state's natural resources.
- First European
visitors were, according to local tradition, Swedish and Norwegian
Vikings, in the 14th century, as testified by the controversial Kensington
- First European
settlement was the area now known as the city of Stillwater,
on the St. Croix River.
- Fort Snelling,
located at the confluence of the Minnesota River and the Mississippi
River, was one of the earliest U.S. military presences in the state.
It is now a historic site.
- Michel Aco
- Father Louis
- Daniel Greysolon,
Sieur du Lhut
- Zebulon Pike
- Henry Schoolcraft
- Joseph Nicollet
- Father Jacques
Joins the United States
was designated a territory on March 3, 1849, but that territory was
not coextensive with the present state, since the territory included
what later became the territory of Dakota, and later still became
the states of North Dakota
and South Dakota.
- The eastern half
of the territory of Minnesota
became the present state of Minnesota—the
32nd state—on May 11, 1858.
Law and Government
- Executive. The
current governor—Tim Pawlenty, a Republican—started his term on January
Minnesota has a bicameral
legislature (Senate and House). The state has 67 districts, each covering
about 60,000 people. Each district has one senator and two representatives
(each district being divided into A and B). Senators serve for four
years, and representatives serve for two years. As of July 2004, the
state House of Representatives is controlled by the Republican Party,
with the state Senate being controlled by the DFL. As of July 5, 2004,
there is one Independence Party legislator, former Republican State
Senator Sheila Kiscaden (IP-Rochester).
- Judiciary. The
state court system has three levels:
- Trial courts.
The state is split into 10 judicial districts, with 257 judges.
Most state cases start in the trial courts.
Court of Appeals. This body hears appeals on cases tried in the
trial courts. There are 16 judges, who divide into three-judge
panels to hear appeals in courts across the state.
Supreme Court. The seven justices on the Supreme Court hear appeals
from the Court of Appeals, the Tax Court, and the Worker's Compensation
Court. The court automatically reviews first-degree murder convictions,
and settles disuputes over legislative elections.
- The state
has two special courts created by state law as executive-branch
- The Tax
Court deals with non-criminal tax cases across the state.
It has three judges appointed by the governor to six-year
terms, following approval from the state Senate
- The Workers'
Compensation Court of Appeals deals with cases involving worker
injuries referred to it on appeal, or transferred from district
court. It has five judges appointed by the governor to six-year
terms, following approval from the state Senate
- Federal cases
are heard in the federal district courts in Minneapolis,
Minnesota is part
of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is located in St.
Paul. Appeals beyond this level go to the U.S. Supreme Court
- In addition to
the standard city and county levels of government found in the United
also has other entities that provide governmental oversight. Some
actions in the Twin Cities metropolitan area are coordinated by the
Metropolitan Council, and many lakes and rivers are overseen by watershed
districts and soil and water conservation districts.
covers 79,610 square miles (2.25% of the United
States). It is famous for its lakes, having in excess of 15,000,
depending on the source of the count. Much of the state is flat, having
been eroded during repeated glacial periods (most recently the Wisconsin
Glacier). The Minnesota portion of Lake Superior is the largest body
of water in the state.
is home to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), as well
as a number of state and county parks, most notably Itasca State Park,
the source of the Mississippi River.
- After its rivers
and lakes, Minnesota's most prominent physical feature is the Iron
Range. This is a range of low mountains that run across the northern
part of the state. It is called the Iron Range because when discovered,
it had some of the largest deposits of iron ore in the country. Although
the high-grade iron ore was mostly mined out during World War II,
taconite is still mined across the Iron Range.
- It is bordered
on the north by Canada
(Manitoba and Ontario),
on the east by Wisconsin
and Lake Superior, on the south by Iowa,
and on the west by North Dakota
and South Dakota. It is
the northernmost of the 48 contiguous states (Alaska
reaches significantly farther north), reaching to 49° 23' 4"
north latitude, due to a small piece of the state known as the Northwest
- The capital
is St. Paul,
which sits on the opposite bank of the Mississippi River to the largest
(together known as the Twin Cities). Other prominent cities include
(home of the world-famous Mayo Clinic), and Bloomington.
- The state's
average elevation is 1,200 feet, with a high point at Eagle Mountain
(2,301 feet) and a low at the surface of Lake Superior (602 feet)
- The state is
famously cold in the winters, with a record low of -60°F measured
at Tower, MN
on February 2, 1996. Surprisingly, due to the flows of the jet stream,
parts of Alaska often
see relatively warm temperatures when Minnesota
is experiencing extreme cold. As part of the Great Plains region,
however, it also experiences warm summers, with a record high of 114°F
reached in 1917 and 1936. The average temperature in January (the
coldest month) is 11.2°F, and the average in the warmest month
of July is 73.1°F. The average annual precipitation is 28.32 inches,
with a snowfall figure of 49.6 inches.
- State income
- The average
state income in Minnesota
in 1999 was $30,742 (according to the State Demographic Center
the Northeast Midwest Institute gives the figure as $30,793).
This compares to a national average of $28,546. The average household
income in 1999 was approximately $48,000, ranking eighth in the
nation (U.S. Census Bureau). The county averages range from $17,369
(Todd County) to $42,313 (Hennepin County, a portion of the Metro
area). In general, salaries are lowest in more rural areas, particularly
in the northwest portion of the state.
- Major industries/products
- The Twin
Cities are home to a diverse range of major businesses, including
3M Co. (formerly Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co.), Northwest
Airlines, Target Corporation (including Target Stores and Mervyn's),
U.S. Bancorp, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (formerly Lutheran
Brotherhood), Medtronic, Cray Computers, Imation, and a regional
headquarters of Wells Fargo & Co. The city of Rochester
is the headquarters of the Mayo Clinic, and has a significant
manufacturing presence in International Business Machines. The
largest shopping mall in the United
States, the Mall of America, is located in Bloomington.
- A large
proportion of the state's economy is still agricultural. Additionally,
is a source for iron ore and wood products, though these are both
declining industries. A fair amount of ethanol alcohol fuel is
produced in the state, and a 10% mix of ethanol into consumer
gasoline has been mandated since 1997 (as of 2004, Minnesota
is the only U.S. state with such a mandate). If production capacity
meets the need, 2% biodiesel will be required in diesel fuel in
2005. Many farmers also now operate windmills to produce electricity,
particularly in the windy southwest region.
- State Taxes
is regarded as a high-tax state by some. It has an income and
sales tax, as well as levying taxes on a common range of goods
such as tobacco, gasoline, and alcohol. The state does not charge
sales tax on clothing, services (massages, haircuts, auto work,
etc), or non-prepared food items.
businesses and individuals paid an average of 11.8% of their income
in state and local taxes in 1998, down from 12.7% in 1996 (Minnesota
Department of Revenue). The Gross State Product was just under
$173 billion in 1999 (Northeast Midwest Institute), with approximately
$17.5 billion in exports in 2000
- Retail sales
per capita were $10,260 in 1997, higher than the U.S. average
of $9,190 (U.S. Census Bureau).
- The state population,
as of 2002, is 5,019,720 (1.74% of the nation), with a growth rate
of 12.4% in the last 10 years (compared to 13.1% for the nation).
- 88.2% of the
state is white (excluding Hispanic/Latino), 3.5% Black/African American,
2.9% Hispanic/Latino, 2.9% Asian. Minnesotans traditionally count
themselves as of Nordic descent (approximately 1.5 million people
claim Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish ancestry), though more
families originated in Germany (approximately 2 million). More modern
immigrant communities include the third-largest Hmong population in
the United States (from the
Laos/Cambodia/Vietnam region), and a large presence from Somalia.
- The population
distribution by age is (Northeast Midwest Institute):
- 0-18 - 1,361,616
- 19-34 -
- 35-64 -
- 65+ - 594,266
- Religious makeup
are largely Catholic and mainline Protestant. The largest Protestant
body in the state is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
In recent years, new immigrants have added to the religious mix
in Minnesota. There
are now mosques throughout the state, as well as Buddhist temples
and Hindu mandirs.
Colleges and Universities
Lutheran Theological Seminary
Free Lutheran Bible School and Seminary
College and Seminary
of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University
of St. Catherine
of St. Scholastica
of Visual Arts
University, Saint Paul
College of Art and Design
Community and Technical College (MCTC)
State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU)
State University Mankato
State University Moorhead
Minnesota State University
Cloud State University
- Oak Hills
Baptist Bible College
Mary's University of Minnesota
St. Olaf College
of Minnesota System
of Minnesota Crookston
of Minnesota Duluth
of Minnesota Morris
of Minnesota Twin Cities
of Saint Thomas
Mitchell College of Law
Professional Sports Teams
- Minnesota Vikings,
National Football League
- Minnesota Twins,
Major League Baseball
- Minnesota Timberwolves,
National Basketball Association
- Minnesota Lynx,
Women's National Basketball Association
- Minnesota Wild,
National Hockey League
- Minnesota Thunder,
- St. Paul Saints,
minor league baseball
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