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Minnesota, US (Population: 5,167,101)

State Capitol: Saint Paul

Major Cities: Minneapolis, Duluth, Rochester, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Plymouth, Eagan, Coon Rapids, Burnsville

State Nickname/Motto: North Star State/Land of 10,000 Lakes – L’Etoile du nord: The Star of the North

Statehood Granted: May 11, 1858

History: The name Minnesota comes from the word for the Minnesota River in the Dakota language, Mnisota. The Dakota word Mni (sometimes spelled mini, or minne) can be translated as "water." Mnisota is then translated as sky-tinted water or somewhat clouded water. American Indians demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mnisota. The names of many locations in the state contain the Dakota word for water, such as Minnehaha Falls ("waterfall," not "laughing waters" as is commonly thought), Minneiska ("white water"), Minnetonka ("big water"), Minnetrista ("crooked water"), and Minneapolis, which is a combination of mni and polis, the Greek word for "city. Before European settlement, Minnesota was populated by the Anishinaabe, the Dakota, and other Native Americans. The first Europeans were French fur traders who arrived in the 1600s. Late that century, the Ojibwe Indians migrated westward to Minnesota, causing tensions with the Sioux. Explorers such as Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, Father Louis Hennepin, Jonathan Carver, Henry Schoolcraft, and Joseph Nicollet, among others, mapped out the state.

Geography: Highest point; Eagle Mountain 2,301 feet. Minnesota is the northernmost state outside of Alaska; its isolated Northwest Angle in Lake of the Woods is the only part of the 48 contiguous states lying north of the 49th Parallel. Minnesota is in the heart of the U.S. region known as the Upper Midwest. The state shares a Lake Superior water border with Michigan and Wisconsin on the northeast; the remainder of the eastern border is with Wisconsin. Iowa is to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota are west, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba are north. With 87,014 square miles (225,365 km²), or approximately 2.25% of the United States, Minnesota is the 12th largest state.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (98.5%), White (88.0%), Black or African American (4.1%), American Indian and Alaska Native (1.1%), Asian (3.6%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.0%), Some other race 1.8), Two or more races (1.5%), Hispanic or Latino (3.6%)*

Famous State People:

  • Charles Bender (1883 - 1954) The first pitcher in baseball to win six World Series games; born in Crow Wing County.
  • Patty Berg (1918 - ) One of the greatest female golfers ever, founded the U.S. Ladies’ Professional Golfers’ Association; born in Minneapolis.
  • William O. Douglass (1898 - 1980) The Longest-serving U.S. Supreme Court Justice; born in Maine.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940) Author famous for his characters and sense of style as in The Great Gatsby; born in St. Paul.
  • Judy Garland (1922 - 1969) Singer and Actress most famous for her role as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz; born in Grand Rapids.
  • J. Paul Getty (1892 - 1976) Richest man in the world when he died; born in Minneapolis.
  • Sinclair Lewis (1885 - 1951) The first American to win the Nobel Prize for literature, he wrote of small town life such as Main Street; born in Sauk Centre.
  • Hubert H. Humphrey (1911 - 1978), U. S. senator and vice president of the U. S. (1965 - 1969); Democratic candidate for president, 1968; Minnesota Senator.
  • John S. Pillsbury (1827 - 1901) A leader in flour milling, he helped found the family company in Minneapolis in 1872; three-time Republican governor of Minnesota (1876 - 1882).
  • Garrison Keillor (1942 - ) Author and host of "A Prairie Home Companion"; born in Anoka.
  • Roger Maris (1934 - 1985) Baseball player that while playing for the Yankees made history hitting 61 home runs in a single season; born in Hibbing.
  • Winona Ryder (1971 - ) Actress named after her birthplace, Winona, known in movies The Age of Innocence and The Crucible.
  • Charles Schulz (1922 - 2000) Cartoonist that created the comic strip Peanuts about Charlie Brown; born in Minneapolis.
  • Richard W. Sears (1863 - 1914) Founder of the Sears, Roebuck and Company; born in Stewartville.
  • DeWitt Wallace(1889 - 1981) Founder of the Reader’s Digest magazine; born in St. Paul.
  • John Madden (1936 - ) Emmy Award winning sport analyst and commentator and former coach of the Oakland Raiders; born in Austin.
  • Bob Dylan (1941 - ) Songwriter and singer whose songs of protest made him a hero to the civil-rights and student movements of the 1960s; born in Hibbing.
  • Charles H. Mayo (1865 - 1939) and William J. Mayo (1861 - 1939) Physicians who founded the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
  • Walter Frederick Mondale (1928 - ) 42d vice-president of the United States (1977 - 1980); Democratic candidate for president of the United States in 1984.
  • Eugene McCarthy (1916 - ) U.S. Senator from Minnesota. Professor, author, and poet; born in Watkins.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: University of Minnesota, Bemidji State University, Minnesota State University – Mankato, Minnesota State University – Moorehead, Metropolitan State University, St. Cloud State University, Winona State University, Lake Superior College, Itasca Community College, Dakota County Technical College, South Central College

    National and State Forests: Chippewa National Forest, Superior National Forest, Badoura, Battleground, Big fork, Buena Vista, Cloquet Valley, Crow Wing, Foud du Lac, Grand Portage, Hill river, Huntersville, Land O’Lakes, Lyons, Minnesota, Northwest Angle, Nemadji, Red Lake, Saint Croix, Smokey Bear, Snake River, Two Inlets, Wealthwood, Welsh, White Earth

    Misc: 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. 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% of Minnesotans fish, second only to Alaska. In the winter fishing continues with a long tradition of ice fishing originating with the arrival of early Scandinavian immigrants. State residents embrace their long, harsh winters in ice sports such as skating, hockey, curling, and broomball; and snow sports such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. State and national forests and the state-owned and run properties are used year-round for hunting, camping, and hiking. There are almost 20,000 miles 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 Superior Hiking Trail in the northeast. Hiking and bike trails are used for cross-country skiing during the winter.

    *U.S. Census - 2005