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State of Minnesota
Flag of Minnesota State seal of Minnesota
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): North Star State;
Land of 10,000 Lakes; The Gopher State
Motto(s): L’Étoile du Nord (French: The Star of the North)
before statehood, known as
the Minnesota Territory
Map of the United States with Minnesota highlighted
Demonym Minnesotan
Capital Saint Paul
Largest city Minneapolis
Largest metro area Minneapolis-Saint Paul
Area  Ranked 12th in the US
 - Total 86,943 sq mi
(225,181 km2)
 - Width c. 200–350 miles (c. 320–560 km)
 - Length c. 400 miles (c. 640 km)
 - % water 8.4
 - Latitude 43° 30′ N to 49° 23′ N
 - Longitude 89° 29′ W to 97° 14′ W
Population  Ranked 21st in the US
 - Total 5,266,214 (2009 est.)[1]
4,919,479 (2000)
 - Density 65.3/sq mi  (25.21/km2)
Ranked 31st in the US
 - Median income  $55,802[2] (10th[2])
Elevation  
 - Highest point Eagle Mountain[3]
2,301 ft  (701 m)
 - Mean 1,198 ft  (365 m)
 - Lowest point Lake Superior[3]
601 ft  (183 m)
Admission to Union  May 11, 1858 (32nd)
Governor Tim Pawlenty (R)
Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau (R)
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (DFL)
Al Franken (DFL)
U.S. House delegation 5 Democrats, 3 Republicans (list)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Abbreviations MN Minn. US-MN
Website http://www.state.mn.us

Minnesota (Listeni /mɪnɪˈstə/)[4] is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. The twelfth largest state by area in the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.2 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state on May 11, 1858. Known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", the state's name comes from a Dakota word for "sky-tinted water". Those waters, together with forests, parks, and wilderness areas, offer residents and tourists a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.

Nearly sixty percent of Minnesota's residents live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area known as the Twin Cities, the center of transportation, business and industry, education and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous forests in the southeast, now cleared, farmed and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation. The large majority of residents are of Nordic or German descent, but ethnic diversity has increased in recent decades. Substantial influxes of African, Asian, and Latin American immigrants have joined the descendants of European immigrants and the original Native American inhabitants.

The state is known for its moderate to progressive politics and social policies, civic involvement, and high voter turnout. Minnesota ranks among the healthiest states, and has a highly literate population.

Contents

Etymology

The word Minnesota comes from the Dakota name for the Minnesota River: Mnisota. The root mni (also spelled mini or minne) means, "water". Mnisota can be translated as sky-tinted water or somewhat clouded water.[4][5] Native Americans demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mnisota.[5] Many locations in the state have similar names, such as Minnehaha Falls ("waterfall"), Minneiska ("white water"), Minneota ("much water"), Minnetonka ("big water"), Minnetrista ("crooked water"), and Minneapolis, which is a combination of mni and polis, the Greek word for "city".[6]

Geography

Minnesota, showing roads and major bodies of water

Minnesota is the northernmost state apart from 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. The state is part 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 to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba to the north. With 86,943 square miles (225,181 km²),[7] or approximately 2.25% of the United States,[8] Minnesota is the twelfth-largest state.[9]

Geology and terrain

Tilted beds of the Middle Precambrian Thompson Formation in Jay Cooke State Park[10]

Minnesota contains some of the oldest rocks found on earth, gneisses some 3.6 billion years old, or 80% as old as the planet.[11][10] 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.[10][12] The roots of these volcanic mountains and the action of Precambrian seas formed the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. Following 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.[10]

In more recent times, massive ice sheets at least one kilometer thick ravaged the landscape of the state and sculpted its current terrain.[10] The Wisconsin glaciation left 12,000 years ago.[10] 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.[13] Much of the remainder of the state outside of the northeast has 50 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 bed created the fertile Red River valley, and its outflow, glacial River Warren, carved the valley of the Minnesota River.[10] Minnesota is geologically quiet today; it experiences earthquakes infrequently, and most of them are minor.[14]

The state's high point is Eagle Mountain at 2,301 feet (701 m), which is only 13 miles (20.9 km) away from the low of 602 feet (183 m) at the shore of Lake Superior.[12][15] Notwithstanding dramatic local differences in elevation, much of the state is a gently rolling peneplain.[10]

Two continental divides meet in the northeastern part of Minnesota 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.[16]

The state's nickname, The Land of 10,000 Lakes, is no exaggeration; there are 11,842 lakes over 10 acres (.04 km²) in size.[17] The Minnesota portion of Lake Superior is the largest at 962,700 acres (3,896 km²) and deepest (at 1,290 ft (390 m)) body of water in the state.[17] Minnesota has 6,564 natural rivers and streams that cumulatively flow for 69,000 miles (111,000 km).[17] The Mississippi River begins its journey from its headwaters at Lake Itasca and crosses the Iowa border 680 miles (1,094 km) downstream.[17] 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, in the bed of glacial Lake Agassiz, drains the northwest part of the state northward toward Canada's Hudson Bay. Approximately 10.6 million acres (42,900 km²) of wetlands are contained within Minnesota's borders, the most of any state except Alaska.[18]

Flora and fauna

A groundhog seen in Minneapolis, along the banks of the Mississippi River

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 northwestern part of the state, where it transitions into Tallgrass Aspen Parkland, and the northern Laurentian Mixed Forest, a transitional forest between the northern boreal forest and broadleaf forests to the south.[19] These northern forests are a vast wilderness of pine and spruce trees mixed with patchy stands of birch and poplar.

An example of Laurentian Mixed Forest along the St. Croix River in Chisago County

Much of Minnesota's northern forest underwent logging at some time, 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 (1,600 km²) of unlogged land.[20] Although logging continues, regrowth keeps about one third of the state forested.[21] Nearly all of Minnesota's prairies and oak savannas have been destroyed or fragmented because of farming, grazing, logging, and suburban development.[22]

While loss of habitat has affected native animals such as the pine marten, elk, woodland caribou, and bison,[23] others like whitetail deer and bobcat thrive. The state has the nation's largest population of timber wolves outside Alaska,[24] and supports healthy populations of black bear and moose. 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 bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, and snowy owl. The lakes teem with sport fish such as walleye, bass, muskellunge, and northern pike, and streams in the southeast are populated by brook, brown, and rainbow trout.

Climate

A springtime view of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus

Minnesota endures temperature extremes characteristic of its continental climate; with cold winters and hot summers. The record high and low span is 174 degrees (from -60 to 114 degrees) Fahrenheit (span of 96C°; from -51°C to 45°C).[25] Meteorological events include rain, snow, blizzards, thunderstorms, hail, derechos, tornadoes, and high-velocity straight-line winds. The growing season varies from 90 days per year in the Iron Range to 160 days in southeast Minnesota near the Mississippi River, and mean average temperatures range from 37 °F (2 °C) to 49 °F (9 °C).[26] Average summer dew points range from about 58 °F (14.4 °C) in the south to about 48 °F (8.9 °C) in the north.[26][27] Depending on location, average annual precipitation ranges from 19 in (48.3 cm) to 35 in (88.9 cm), and droughts occur every 10 to 50 years.[26]

Protected lands

Minnesota's first state park, Itasca State Park, was established in 1891, and is the source of the Mississippi River.[28] Today Minnesota has 72 state parks and recreation areas, 58 state forests covering about four million acres (16,000 km²), and numerous state wildlife preserves, all managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. There are 5.5 million acres (22,000 km²) in the Chippewa and Superior National Forests. The Superior National Forest in the northeast contains the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which encompasses over a million acres (4,000 km²) and a thousand lakes. To its west is Voyageurs National Park. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA), is a 72 miles (116 km) long corridor along the Mississippi River through the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area connecting a variety of sites of historic, cultural, and geologic interest.[29]

History

Map of Minnesota Territory 1849–1858

Before European settlement, Minnesota was populated by the Anishinaabe, the Dakota, and other Native Americans. The first Europeans were French fur traders that arrived in the 1600s. Late that century, Ojibwe Indians migrated westward to Minnesota, causing tensions with the Sioux.[30] Explorers such as Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, Father Louis Hennepin, Jonathan Carver, Henry Schoolcraft, and Joseph Nicollet, among others, mapped out the state.

The portion of the state east of the Mississippi River became a part of the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War, when the Second Treaty of Paris was signed. Land west of the Mississippi River was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase, although a portion of the Red River Valley was disputed until the Treaty of 1818.[31] In 1805, Zebulon Pike bargained with Native Americans to acquire land at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The construction of Fort Snelling followed between 1819 and 1825.[32] Its soldiers built a grist mill and a sawmill at Saint Anthony Falls, the first of the water-powered industries around which the city of Minneapolis later grew. Meanwhile, squatters, government officials, and tourists had settled near the fort. In 1839, the Army forced them to move downriver, and they settled in the area that became St. Paul.[33] Minnesota Territory was formed on March 3, 1849. Thousands of people had come to build farms and cut timber, and Minnesota became the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858.

Settlers escaping the Dakota War of 1862

Treaties between European settlers and the Dakota and Ojibwe gradually forced the natives off their lands and on to smaller reservations. As conditions deteriorated for the Dakota, tensions rose, leading to the Dakota War of 1862.[34] The result of the six-week war was the execution of 38 Dakota — the largest mass execution in United States history — and the exile of most of the rest of the Dakota to the Crow Creek Reservation in Nebraska.[31] As many as 800 white settlers died during the war.[35]

Logging and farming were mainstays of Minnesota's early economy. The sawmills at Saint Anthony Falls, and logging centers like Marine on St. Croix, Stillwater, and Winona, processed high volumes of lumber. These cities were situated on rivers that were ideal for transportation.[31] Later, Saint Anthony Falls was tapped to provide power for flour mills. Innovations by Minneapolis millers led to the production of Minnesota "patent" flour, which commanded almost double the price of "bakers" or "clear" flour, which it replaced.[36] 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.[37]

The state's iron-mining industry was established with the discovery of iron in the Vermilion Range and the Mesabi Range in the 1880s, and in the Cuyuna Range in the early 1900s. The ore was shipped by rail to Duluth and Two Harbors, then loaded onto ships and transported eastward over the Great Lakes.[31]

Industrial development and the rise of manufacturing caused the population to shift gradually from rural areas to cities during the early 1900s. Nevertheless, farming remained prevalent. Minnesota's economy was hard-hit by the Great Depression, resulting in lower prices for farmers, layoffs among iron miners, and labor unrest. Compounding the adversity, western Minnesota and the Dakotas were hit by drought from 1931 to 1935. New Deal programs provided some economic turnaround. The Civilian Conservation Corps and other programs around the state established some jobs for Indians on their reservations, and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 provided the tribes with a mechanism of self-government. This provided natives a greater voice within the state, and promoted more respect for tribal customs because religious ceremonies and native languages were no longer suppressed.[32]

After World War II, industrial development quickened. New technology increased farm productivity through automation of feedlots for hogs and cattle, machine milking at dairy farms, and raising chickens in large buildings. Planting became more specialized with hybridization of corn and wheat, and the use of farm machinery such as tractors and combines became the norm. University of Minnesota professor Norman Borlaug contributed to these developments as part of the Green Revolution.[32] Suburban development accelerated due to increased postwar housing demand and convenient transportation. Increased mobility, in turn, enabled more specialized jobs.[32]

Minnesota became a center of technology after the war. Engineering Research Associates was formed in 1946 to develop computers for the United States Navy. It later merged with Remington Rand, and then became Sperry Rand. William Norris left Sperry in 1957 to form Control Data Corporation (CDC).[38] 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.

Cities and towns

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

Saint Paul is adjacent to Minnesota's most populous city, Minneapolis; they and their suburbs are known collectively as the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the thirteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States and home to about 60% of the state's population.[39][40] The remainder of the state is known as "Greater Minnesota" or "Outstate Minnesota".

The state has eighteen cities with populations above 50,000 (based on 2005 estimates). In descending order of size they are Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Rochester, Duluth, Bloomington, Plymouth, Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Coon Rapids, Saint Cloud, Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Woodbury, Blaine, Apple Valley, Lakeville, and Minnetonka.[40] Of these only Rochester, Duluth, and Saint Cloud are outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Minnesota's population continues to grow, primarily in the urban centers. The populations of metropolitan Sherburne and Scott Counties doubled between 1980 and 2000, while 40 of the state's 87 counties lost residents over the same decades.[41]

Demographics

A map of Minnesota's population density.
Map of Minnesota's population change.

Population

From fewer than 6,100 people in 1850, Minnesota's population grew to over 1.7 million by 1900. Each of the next six decades saw a 15% increase in population, reaching 3.4 million in 1960. Growth then slowed, rising 11% to 3.8 million in 1970, and an average of 9% over the next three decades to 4.9 million in the 2000 Census.[41] As of July 1, 2008, the state's population was estimated at 5,220,393 by the U.S. Census Bureau.[42] The rate of population change along with age and gender distributions approximate the national average. Minnesota's growing minority groups, however, still form a significantly smaller percentage of the population than in the nation as a whole.[43] The center of population of Minnesota is located in Hennepin County, in the city of Rogers.[44]

Race and ancestry

The principal ancestries of Minnesota's residents in 2010 has been surveyed to be the following:[45]

Ancestries claimed by less than 3% of the population include American, Italian, Dutch, and Czech, each between 2 and 3%; Danish, Sub-Saharan and East Africans, Scottish, French Canadian, and Scotch-Irish, each between 1 and 1.9%; and less than 1% each for Russian, Welsh, Bosnian, Swiss, Arab, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Greek, Slovak, Lithuanian, Portuguese, and West Indian.[46]

The French Renaissance style Cathedral of St. Paul in the city of St. Paul

The state's racial composition in the 2008 American Community Survey was:

Source: [47]

Religion

Although Christianity is dominant, there is a long history of non-Christian faiths. Ashkenazi Jewish pioneers set up Saint Paul's first synagogue in 1856,[32] and there are now appreciable numbers of adherents to Islam, Buddhism, and other traditions. The majority of Minnesotans are Protestants, though Roman Catholics make up the largest single Christian denomination. A 2010 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that 32.0% of Minnesotans were affiliated with Protestant traditions, 21.0% with Evangelical Protestants, 28.0% with Roman Catholic, 1.0% each with Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and Black Protestant traditions, smaller amounts for other faiths, and 13.0% unaffiliated.[48] This is broadly consistent with the results of the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, which also gives detail on percentages of many individual denominations.[49]

Economy

Once primarily a producer of raw materials, Minnesota's economy has transformed in the last 200 years 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.[50] The economy of Minnesota had a gross domestic product of $262 billion in 2008.[51] Thirty-three of the United States' top 1,000 publicly traded companies (by revenue in 2008) are headquartered in Minnesota,[52] including Target, UnitedHealth Group, 3M, Medtronic, 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,[53] and Carlson Companies, the parent company of Radisson Hotels.[54]

The per capita personal income in 2008 was $42,772, the tenth-highest in the nation.[55] The three-year median household income from 2002 to 2004 was $55,914, ranking fifth in the U.S. and first among the 36 states not on the Atlantic coast.[56] White families earned more income than the national average but among the population under age 18, more than 20% of Asians and Hispanics, more than 40% of African Americans and more than 40% of Native American females in Minnesota lived in poverty.[57]

Industry and commerce

The IDS Tower, designed by Philip Johnson and the state's tallest building,[58] reflecting César Pelli's Art Deco-style Wells Fargo Center

Minnesota's earliest industries were fur trading and agriculture; the city of Minneapolis grew around the flour mills powered by St. Anthony Falls. Although less than 1% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector,[59] it remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking 6th in the nation in the value of products sold.[60] The state is the U.S.'s largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and green peas for processing, and farm-raised turkeys.[61] 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 over a century. Although the high-grade ore is now depleted, taconite mining continues, using processes developed locally to save the industry. In 2004, the state produced 75% of the country's usable iron ore.[61] 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 42 U.S. states with its own lottery; its games include Powerball, Hot Lotto (both multi-state), and Gopher 5.

Energy use and production

The state produces ethanol fuel and is the first to mandate its use, a 10% mix (E10),[62] and a 20% mix (E20) in 2013.[63] There are more than 310 service stations supplying E85 fuel.[64] A 2% biodiesel blend has been required in diesel fuel since 2005. As of December 2006 the state was the country's fourth-largest producer of wind power, with 895 megawatts installed and another 200 megawatts planned, much of it on the windy Buffalo Ridge in the southwest part of the state.[65]

State taxes

Minnesota has a slightly progressive income tax structure; the three brackets of state income tax rates are 5.35%, 7.05% and 7.85%.[66] Minnesota is ranked as the 6th highest in the nation for per capita total state taxes.[67] The sales tax in Minnesota is 6.875%, but there is no sales tax on clothing, prescription medications, some services, or food items for home consumption.[68] The state legislature may allow municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 0.5% supplemental sales tax in Minneapolis.[69] Excise taxes are levied on alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel. The state imposes a use tax on items purchased elsewhere but used within Minnesota.[68] Owners of real property in Minnesota pay property tax to their county, municipality, school district, and special taxing districts.

Culture

Fine and performing arts

Minnesota's major fine art museums include the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center, and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum. The Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra are prominent full-time professional musical ensembles that perform concerts and offer educational programs to the community. Attendance at theatrical, musical, and comedy events in the area is strong. The Guthrie Theater moved into a new building in 2006, boasting three stages and overlooking the Mississippi River. In the United States, the Twin Cities' number of theater seats per capita ranks behind only New York City;[70] with some 2.3 million theater tickets sold annually.[71] The Minnesota Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of theatre, dance, improvisation, puppetry, kids' shows, visual art, and musicals. The summer festival consists of over 800 performances over 11 days in Minneapolis, and is the largest non-juried performing arts festival in the United States.[72]

Literature

The rigors and rewards of pioneer life on the prairie were the subject of Giants in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag and of the Little House series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Small-town life was attacked by Sinclair Lewis in the novel Main Street, and more gently and affectionately satirized by Garrison Keillor in his tales of Lake Wobegon. St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote 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.

Entertainment

First Avenue nightclub, the heart of Minnesota's music community.[12]

Minnesotan musicians of many genres include rock star Prince, electronic Owl City, harmony singers The Andrews Sisters, rockabilly star Eddie Cochran, folk musician Bob Dylan, surf band The Trashmen, garage rock band The Castaways, pop songwriters Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, indie rock artists Jonny Lang and Soul Asylum, and cult favorites such as Hüsker Dü and The Replacements.

Minnesotans have made significant contributions to comedy, theater, and film. Ole and Lena jokes are best appreciated when delivered in the accent of Scandinavian Americans. Garrison Keillor is known around the country for resurrecting old-style radio comedy with A Prairie Home Companion, which has aired since the 1970s.[12] Local television had the satirical show The Bedtime Nooz in the 1960s, while area natives Lizz Winstead and Craig Kilborn helped create the increasingly influential Daily Show decades later. Actors from the state include Eddie Albert, Judy Garland, Jessica Lange, Winona Ryder. Joel and Ethan Coen, Terry Gilliam and Mike Todd contributed to the art of film, and others brought the offbeat cult shows Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Let's Bowl to national cable from the Twin Cities.

Popular culture

Stereotypical Minnesotan traits include manners known as "Minnesota nice," Lutheranism, a strong sense of community and shared culture, and their distinctive brand of North Central American English sprinkled with Scandinavian-sounding words such as uff da. Potlucks, usually with a variety of hotdish casseroles, are popular at community functions, especially church activities. Minnesota's Scandinavian heritage makes lutefisk a traditional holiday dish. Movies like Fargo, Juno, A Serious Man, Drop Dead Gorgeous, New in Town, Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men; the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Golden Girls, and Coach; the radio show A Prairie Home Companion; and the book How to Talk Minnesotan lampoon (and celebrate) Minnesotan culture, speech and mannerisms.

The Minnesota State Fair, advertised as The Great Minnesota Get-Together, is an icon of state culture. In a state of 5.2 million people, there were almost 1.8 million visitors to the fair in 2009, breaking the previous record set in 2001.[73] The fair covers the variety of life in Minnesota, including fine art, science, agriculture, food preparation, 4H 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.

Other large annual festivals include the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Minneapolis' Aquatennial and Mill City Music Festival, Moondance Jam in Walker, the Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids, and Detroit Lakes' 10,000 Lakes Festival and WE Fest.

Health

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

The people of Minnesota have a high rate of participation in outdoor activities; the state is ranked first in the percentage of residents who engage in regular exercise.[74] Minnesotans have the nation's lowest premature death rate, third-lowest infant mortality rate,[75][76] and the second-longest life expectancies.[77] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 91% of Minnesotans have health insurance, more than in any other state.[78] These and other measures have led two groups to rank Minnesota as the fourth-healthiest state in the nation.[79][80]

On October 1, 2007 Minnesota became the seventeenth state to enact a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and bars with the enactment of Freedom to Breathe Act.[81]

Medical care is provided by a comprehensive network of hospitals and clinics, headed by two institutions with international reputations. The University of Minnesota Medical School is a highly 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.[82] The Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned medical practice, is based in Rochester. Mayo and the University 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.[83]

In March 2008, The American State Litter Scorecard, presented at the American Society for Public Administration national conference, rated Minnesota along with Vermont as topmost Best states for litter/debris removals from public properties (roadways, streams, trails), resulting in an overall healthy environmental quality status.[84]

Education

The Richardsonian Romanesque Pillsbury Hall (1889) is one of the oldest buildings on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus.

One of the first acts of the Minnesota Legislature when it opened in 1858 was the creation of a normal school at Winona. This commitment to education has contributed to a literate and well-educated population;[85] the state ranked 13th on the 2006–2007 Morgan Quitno Smartest State Award, and is first in the percentage of residents with at least a high school diploma.[86][87] But while more than 90% of high school seniors graduated in 2006, about 6% of white, 28% of African American, 30% of Asian American and more than 34% of Hispanic and Native American students dropped out of school.[57] Minnesota students earn the highest average score in the nation on the ACT exam.[88] While Minnesota has chosen not to implement school vouchers,[89] it is home to the first charter school.[90]

The state supports a network of public universities and colleges, currently 32 institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, and five major campuses of the University of Minnesota. It is also home to more than 20 private colleges and universities, six of which rank among the top 100 liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report.[91]

Transportation

Transportation in Minnesota is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT for short and used in the local news media). Principal transportation corridors radiate from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and Duluth. The major Interstate highways are I-35, I-90, and I-94, with I-35 and I-94 passing through the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, and I-90 going east-west along the southern edge of the state.[92] In 2006, a constitutional amendment was passed that required sales and use taxes on motor vehicles to fund transportation, with at least 40% dedicated to public transit.[93] There are nearly two dozen rail corridors in Minnesota, most of which go through Minneapolis-St. Paul or Duluth.[94] There is water transportation along the Mississippi River system and from the ports of Lake Superior.[95]

A Hiawatha Line vehicle in Minneapolis

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 six smaller cities via Northwest Airlines subsidiary Mesaba Airlines.[96][97]

Amtrak's daily Empire Builder (Chicago–Seattle/Portland) train runs through Minnesota, calling at Midway Station in St. Paul and five other stations.[98] Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound, Jefferson Lines, and Coach USA. Local public transit is provided by bus networks in the larger cities and by the Hiawatha Line electrified light rail service linking downtown Minneapolis with the Airport and Bloomington.

Law and government

As with the federal government of the United States, power in Minnesota is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.[99]

Executive

The executive branch is headed by the governor. The current governor is Tim Pawlenty, a Republican whose first term began on January 6, 2003 and who was narrowly re-elected in 2006. The current Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota is Carol Molnau, who was also the head of the Minnesota Department of Transportation until the Senate refused to confirm her appointment in February 2008.[100] The offices of governor and lieutenant governor have four-year terms. 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.

Legislature

The Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul, designed by Cass Gilbert.

The Minnesota Legislature is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The state has sixty-seven districts, each covering about sixty thousand people. Each district has one senator and two representatives (each district being divided into A and B sections). Senators serve for four years and representatives for two years. In the November 2008 election, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) gained two more house seats, giving them control of the House of Representatives by 87-47.[101] The Senate is also controlled by the DFL with a veto-proof majority of 47-21.[102]

Judiciary

Minnesota's court system has three levels. Most cases start in the district courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction. There are 272 district court judges 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 sixteen judges who typically sit in three-judge panels. The seven-justice Minnesota Supreme Court hears all appeals from the Tax Court, the Worker's Compensation Court, first-degree murder convictions, and discretionary appeals from the Court of Appeals; it also has original jurisdiction over election disputes.[103]

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.

Regional

Below the city and county levels of government found in the United States, Minnesota has other entities that provide governmental oversight and planning. 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.

There are seven Anishinaabe reservations and four Dakota communities in Minnesota. These communities are self-governing.[104]

Federal

Minnesota's United States senators are Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Democrat Al Franken. The outcome of the United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2008 was contested until June 30 the next year; when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in favor of Franken, Republican Norm Coleman conceded defeat, and the vacant seat was filled.[105] The state has eight congressional districts; they are represented by Tim Walz (1st district; DFL), John Kline (2nd; R), Erik Paulsen (3rd; R), Betty McCollum (4th; DFL), Keith Ellison (5th; DFL), Michele Bachmann (6th; R), Collin Peterson (7th; DFL), and James Oberstar (8th; DFL).

Federal court cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, which holds court in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Fergus Falls. Appeals are heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals based in St. Louis, Missouri and St. Paul.

Politics

Election results from statewide races[106]
Year Office GOP DFL Others
2008 President 43.8% 54.1% 2.1%
Senator 42.0% 42.0% 16.0%
2006 Governor 46.7% 45.7% 7.6%
Senator 37.9% 58.1% 4.0%
2004 President 47.6% 51.1% 1.3%
2002 Governor 44.4% 33.5% 22.1%
Senator 49.5% 47.3% 1.0%
2000 President 45.5% 47.9% 6.6%
Senator 43.3% 48.8% 7.9%
1998 Governor 34.3% 28.1% 37.6%
1996 President 35.0% 51.1% 13.9%
Senator 41.3% 50.3% 8.4%
1994 Governor 63.3% 34.1% 2.6%
Senator 49.1% 44.1% 6.8%
1992 President 31.9% 43.5% 24.6%

Minnesota is known for a politically active citizenry, and populism has been a longstanding force among the state's political parties.[107][108] Minnesota has a consistently high voter turnout, due in part to its liberal voter registration laws, with virtually no evidence of voter fraud.[109] In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, 77.9% of eligible Minnesotans voted—the highest percentage of any U.S. state—versus the national average of 61.2%.[110] Previously unregistered voters can register on election day at their polls with evidence of residency.

Hubert Humphrey brought national attention to the state with his address at the 1948 Democratic National Convention. Eugene McCarthy's anti-war stance and popularity in the 1968 New Hampshire Primary likely convinced Lyndon B. Johnson to drop out of the presidential election. 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 to the Democratic Party in the Presidential in every Presidential Election since 1960, with the exception of 1972, when it was carried by Richard Nixon and the Republican Party.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties have major party status in Minnesota, but its state-level "Democratic" party is actually a separate party, officially known as the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). Formed out of a 1944 alliance of the Minnesota Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties, the DFL now serves as a de-facto proxy to the federal Democratic Party, and its distinction from the Democratic Party, while still official, is now a functional technicality.

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,[111] notably in Minneapolis and Duluth, where it competes directly with the DFL party for local offices. Official "Major party" status in Minnesota (which grants state funding for elections) is reserved to parties whose candidates receive 5% 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 midterm election, Democrats were elected to all state offices except for governor and lieutenant governor, where Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Carol Molnau narrowly won re-election. The DFL also 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.[112] In 2008 DFLer and former comedian and radio talk show host Al Franken beat incumbent Republican Norm Coleman in the United States Senate race by only a few hundred votes out of 3 million cast.

Media

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).[113]

Broadcast television in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest started on April 27, 1948, when KSTP-TV began broadcasting.[114] Hubbard Broadcasting Corporation, which owns KSTP, is now the only locally owned television company in Minnesota. There are currently 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 Minnesota Daily, the largest student-run newspaper in the U.S.[115] Sites offering daily news on the Web include MinnPost, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, business news site Finance and Commerce (web site) 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 37 radio stations.[116] PRI weekly provides more than 400 hours of programming to almost 800 affiliates.[117] 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.

Sports and recreation

Organized sports

A faceoff between the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux and the Saint Cloud State University Huskies during the WCHA Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center.

Minnesota has professional men's teams in all major sports. Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is home to the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. The building formerly hosted The Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball, winners of the 1987 and 1991 World Series. The Twins are moving to the newly constructed Target Field for the 2010 season. The Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association play in the Target Center. The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild team reached 300 consecutive sold-out games in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center on January 16, 2008.[118] The Minnesota Thunder plays professional soccer in the USL First Division, the second tier of the American Soccer Pyramid; it plays at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

The city of Eveleth, Minnesota is home to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Minor league baseball is represented both by major league-sponsored teams and independent teams such as the popular St. Paul Saints.

Professional women's sports include the Minnesota Lynx of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Minnesota Lightning of the United Soccer Leagues W-League, the Minnesota Vixen of the Independent Women's 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, with sports teams competing in either the Big Ten Conference or the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. 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 represented by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in Minnesota, and nineteen NCAA Division III colleges represented by the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.[119][120]

Winter Olympic Games medallists from the state include eleven of the twenty members of the gold medal 1980 ice hockey team (coached by Minnesota native Herb Brooks) and the bronze medallist 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.

Outdoor recreation

Fishing in Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.

Minnesotans participate in high levels of physical activity,[121] and many of these activities are outdoors. The strong interest of Minnesotans in environmentalism has been attributed to the popularity of these pursuits.[122]

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,[123] boating, canoeing, and fishing. More than 36% of Minnesotans fish, second only to Alaska.[124]

Fishing does not cease when the lakes freeze; ice fishing has been around since the arrival of early Scandinavian immigrants.[125] 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, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.[126]

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.[127] Minnesota has more miles of bike trails than any other state,[128] and a growing network of hiking trails, including the 235-mile (378 km) Superior Hiking Trail in the northeast.[129] Many hiking and bike trails are used for cross-country skiing during the winter.

State symbols

The Common Loon's distinctive cry is heard during the summer months on lakes throughout the state.[130]

Minnesota's state symbols:[131]

See also

References

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  89. ^ Hallman, Charles (2007-03-14). "School vouchers: Who stands to gain at what cost?". Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. http://spokesman-recorder.com/news/Article/Article.asp?NewsID=76873&sID=4. 
  90. ^ "Charter Schools". Minnesota Department of Education. 2007. http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/Academic_Excellence/School_Choice/Public_School_Choice/Charter_Schools/index.html. Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  91. ^ "Best Colleges 2009: Liberal Arts Rankings". USNews.com. 2009. http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/college/liberal-arts-search/. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  92. ^ Minnesota Department of Transportation. 2007–2008 Official Highway Map [map]. Retrieved on 2008-04-07.
  93. ^ "Transportation amendment update". Minnesota Department of Transportation. 2006. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/information/mvst/index.html. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  94. ^ Minnesota Department of Transportation. Minnesota Rail System [map]. (2007) Retrieved on 2007-04-07.
  95. ^ "Minnesota Ports and Waterways". Minnesota Department of Transportation. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/ofrw/waterways.html. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  96. ^ "Airports with Scheduled Air Service". Commercial Service Airports. Minnesota Department of Transportation. 2008. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/aero/avoffice/commaviation.html. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  97. ^ "Route Map". Mesaba Airlines. http://www.mesaba.com/documents/Routemap.jpg. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  98. ^ "Amtrak - Routes - Northwest". Amtrak. http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Route/Horizontal_Route_Page&c=am2Route&cid=1081256321887&ssid=135. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  99. ^ "Minnesota Government". State of Minnesota. http://www.state.mn.us/portal/mn/jsp/content.do?id=-8494&agency=NorthStar. Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  100. ^ "Gov. Looks For New MnDOT Head after Molnau Out". Kare11 News. http://wcco.com/local/carol.molnau.job.2.664858.html. Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  101. ^ Members of the Minnesota House of Representatives 2009-2010 Minnesota House of Representatives. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  102. ^ Minnesota Senate Members, Minnesota Senate. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  103. ^ "Minnesota Supreme Court" (doc). Court Information Office, State of Minnesota. http://www.courts.state.mn.us/documents/CIO/otherResources/SupremeCourt.doc. Retrieved 2006-10-19. 
  104. ^ "Tribal Government". Minnesota North Star. http://www.state.mn.us/portal/mn/jsp/content.do?subchannel=-536888182&id=-8494&agency=NorthStar. Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  105. ^ Davey, Monica; Hulse, Carl (2009-06-30), "After 8 Months, Franken Wins Senate Seat in Minnesota", The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/01/us/politics/01minnesota.html?hp, retrieved 2009-06-30 
  106. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/
  107. ^ Leigh Pomeroy (2007). "Populism Is Alive and Well in Southern Minnesota". Minnesota Monitor. http://www.minnesotamonitor.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1728. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  108. ^ Grayson, Katharine (2006-09-18). "Study: Minnesota tops nation in voter turnout". Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal. http://twincities.bizjournals.com/twincities/stories/2006/09/18/daily3.html?surround=lfn. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  109. ^ Huefner, Steven F., Daniel P Tokaji, and Edward B. Foley (2007), ‘'From Registration to Recounts: The Election Ecosystems of Five Midwestern States'’, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, p. 137. ISBN 978-0-9801400-0-2.
  110. ^ Michael P. McDonald. "2008 Unofficial Voter Turnout". United States Elections Project, George Mason University. http://elections.gmu.edu/preliminary_vote_2008.html. Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  111. ^ "Office Holders". Green Party of Minnesota. http://www.mngreens.org/officeholders.php. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  112. ^ "Minnesota Democrat becomes first Muslim to win seat in Congress". Associated Press. International Herald Tribune. 2006-11-07. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/11/08/america/NA_POL_US_Election_Muslim.php. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  113. ^ "210 Designated Market Areas - 03-04". Nielsen Media. Archived from the original on 2006-05-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20060517010320/http://www.nielsenmedia.com/DMAs.html. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
  114. ^ "5 EYEWITNESS NEWS History". kstp.com. http://www.kstp.com/article/stories/S278.shtml?cat=14. Retrieved 2007-03-28. 
  115. ^ "Daily Board of Directors". The Minnesota Daily. http://www.mndaily.com/board.php. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  116. ^ "About MPR". Minnesota Public Radio. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/about/mpr/. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  117. ^ "PRI factsheet". Public Radio International. http://www.pri.org/InPRI_FactSheet.html. Retrieved 2007-05-07. 
  118. ^ "Recap, Flames 3, Wild 2, SO". Minnesota Wild. 2008-01-17. http://wild.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=Recap&gameNumber=688&season=20072008&gameType=2. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  119. ^ "NCAA Members By Division". NCAA. http://web1.ncaa.org/onlineDir/exec/divisionListing?sortOrder=4&division=All. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  120. ^ "Upper Midwest Athletic Conference - History". Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. http://www.umacathletics.com/Sports/gen/2008/History.asp?nl=25&tab=abouttheumac. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  121. ^ "Statemaster Health Statistics Physical Exercise by State". Statemaster. 2002. http://www.statemaster.com/graph/hea_phy_exe-health-physical-exercise. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  122. ^ "Green Hunters: Minnesota DNR". Fish & Wildlife Today. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fwt/back_issues/september97/message.html. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  123. ^ "Water Skiing History". ABC of Skiing. MaxLifestyle.net "Go Skiing like Max!". 2006. http://www.abc-of-skiing.com/water-skiing/history.asp. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  124. ^ "Managing for Results" (PDF). Minnesota DNR. http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/aboutdnr/budget/budgetpres0303.pdf. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  125. ^ Benjamin, Robert W. (2006-07-15). "Ice Fishing can be a very exciting experience". Buzzle.com. http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/7-15-2006-102438.asp. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  126. ^ "Turning Snow into Sport". Explore Minnesota Experiences. Minnesota Department of Tourism. http://www.exploreminnesota.com/experiences/outdoors/snow/index.aspx. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  127. ^ "Snowmobiling Minnesota". Minnesota Department of Tourism. http://www.exploreminnesota.com/story.aspx?EntityId=19499. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  128. ^ "Take to the Trails! Explore Minnesota Biking". Minnesota Department of Tourism. http://www.exploreminnesota.com/experiences/outdoors/biking/index.aspx. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  129. ^ "Superior Hiking Trail". Minnesota Department of Tourism. http://www.exploreminnesota.com/listing.aspx?EntityID=7727. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  130. ^ "All About Birds". Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2003. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Common_Loon_dtl.html. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 
  131. ^ "Minnesota State Symbols". Minnesota State Legislature. http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/Symbols.asp. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 

External links

General

Government

Tourism & recreation

Culture & history

Maps and Demographics


Preceded by
California
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on May 11, 1858 (32nd)
Succeeded by
Oregon

Coordinates: 46°N 94°W / 46°N 94°W / 46; -94


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Midwest : Minnesota

Minnesota [1] is a state in the Midwest of the USA. Known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it technically has well over 15,000. The northern tip of Minnesota that juts into Lake of the Woods is the most northern point in the lower 48 states of the United States.

Twin Cities
Northwestern Minnesota
Northeastern Minnesota
Southern Minnesota
Mall of America, Bloomington
Mall of America, Bloomington

Understand

Minnesotans generally present a cheery, genial attitude ("Minnesota nice") and may be caught off-guard when people don't reciprocate. Minnesotans' cheery attitude combined with a sing-song accent contrasts them with their fellow Midwesterners. Also, Minnesota represents a rare left-wing presence in the Midwest United States, famously described in the book Mainstreet by Minnesotan author Sinclair Lewis as Mr. Stowbody, "Trouble enough with these foreign farmers; if you don't watch these Swedes they turn socialist or populist or some fool thing on you in a minute." In fact, these Swedes and foreign farmers did turn socialist, forming the farmer-labor party in 1918, electing 3 successive governors, four senators and eight US representatives, until it merged with the Minnesota Democratic party in 1944. The state still maintains liberal leanings and is home to the second largest openly homosexual population in the US. Combine Minnesota's cultural eccentricities with its beautiful forests and lakes and you have a gem for any tourist in the Midwestern US.

Talk

The stereotypical Minnesotan dialect as popularized in the film Fargo is more prevalent in northern (Iron Range) and rural parts of the state than it is in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, but it is by no means non-existent even there. In fact, in the metropolitan area, it's hardly even noticed by most visitors, much less the locals. The dialect is characterized by long vowels (especially Os as found in the word "boat"). The sing-songy intonation is less common with each generation removed from the Scandinavian ancestors. Typically words ending with 'ag' have a long 'a', eg. 'bag' rhymes with 'bake' not 'back'. Other vowels are sometimes affected as well. Native Americans (primarily Ojibwe) have an accent of their own.

In addition to a unique dialect, Minnesota also has several phrases and colloquial expressions that can be overheard somewhat frequently. These include:

  • Uff-da (Norwegian exclamation meaning "Off it!" Typically used as a response to surprising or exasperating circumstances.
  • You betcha (You bet/of course)
  • Hot dish (Casserole)
  • Oh yah (Yes)
  • Lutefisk (A traditional Scandinavian food of dried white fish soaked in lye.)
  • Choppers (leather mittens with wool inserts, used for the really cold days)
  • Twenty below (shorthand for 20 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit), or -30'C (without windchill), which is when choppers start becoming necessary)
  • Tuque (Knitted winter hat)
  • Sorels (brand name of preferred winter boots, leather/rubber exterior, felt inserts)
  • boughten (adjective for a store-bought item, as opposed to home-made, as in 'boughten bread')
  • sled (slang term for a snowmobile)
  • popple (aspen or poplar tree, one of the most common trees in northern Minnesota and important part of the logging industry)
  • a forty (40 acres (about 16 hectares), or quarter-mile by quarter-mile of land, a derivative of the Public Land Survey (PLS) system)
  • Acrost (Scandinavian influenced regional pronunciation of "across")
  • Up north (Usually refers to anywhere that is north of the twin cities or where the person is at that time. ex.- Up north to Ely [while in Duluth])
  • Parka (A very warm winter coat)
  • Whipping Shitties (Breaking suddenly in an icy parking lot while the steering wheel is turned sharply causing the vehicle to spin)
  • Skol (A common drinking phrase used when clinking glasses together, such as "Cheers", "Salud", or "Chin Chin." Also used in their song for the Minnesota Vikings American football team, "Skol Vikings."
  • Snus (Slang for chewing tobacco common in the North)

A soft drink is typically called 'pop', never soda - even in newspaper advertisements. Much of the time in restaurants, if you ask for a "coke" you will receive a regular Coca-Cola, you will not be asked "What kind?".

Sentences frequently end with a preposition, such as "Are you coming with?". If the sentence doesn't end with a preposition, the filler word 'then' may be appended, as in "So how's the car been running then?" Pronouns are dropped when assumed to be understood, "Took the car to the dealer, told me it just needed a new battery". People tend to speak modestly without extra superlatives or direct commands "Most folks turn off their cell phones before church starts, you know." Garrison Keillor, a radio personality and humorist, often plays this up in his "Prairie Home Companion" which takes place in the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, somewhere near St. Cloud.

Locals also tend to softly "hum" before saying goodbye in informal conversation. "Bye" is commonly pronounced "mmmbye", with the second syllable much shorter than the first.

Expletives are often from Scandinavian backgrounds such as "fitta" or "knulet."

Get in

By car

Three Interstate Highways travel through Minnesota. I-90 and I-94 travel East-West, while I-35 travels North-South. Highway 2 Travels through the state. Several other national and state highways also travel through the state.

By plane

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP - the Lindbergh Terminal or HHH - the Hubert H. Humphrey terminal) a major hub for Northwest Airlines [3], while regional airports exist in Duluth (DLH), Rochester (RST), Saint Cloud (STC), Brainerd (BRD), Bemidji (BJI), Thief River Falls (TRF), Hibbing (HIB), and International Falls (INL).

By train

For rail travel, there are Amtrak stations in La Crosse (Wisconsin), Winona, Red Wing, Saint Paul, Saint Cloud, Staples, Detroit Lakes, Fargo (North Dakota), and Grand Forks (North Dakota). These are served by the Empire Builder daily, which runs from Chicago to Seattle/Portland.

By bus

For bus travel, both Minneapolis and St. Paul are served by Greyhound and Jefferson Lines (popular for intrastate travel). Megabus also stops at the University of Minnesota East Bank Campus and downtown Minneapolis, with direct fares to Chicago, Madison, and Milwaukee.

Get around

The Metro Transit [4] offers bus and light rail services to the Twin Cities and their surrounding suburbs. Average fare for either service is typically $1.75 ($2.25 for the peak times of 6:00-9:00 am and 3:00-6:30 pm.) The fare buys the rider a pass that can be used to ride on or transfer to any Metro Transit bus or train for 150 minutes. The Duluth Transit authority offers bus and trolley service to the Twin Ports area.

The relatively new light rail service offers a visitor-friendly line that connects the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), the Mall of America, the Warehouse District, and downtown Minneapolis among other places.

The I-35W bridge which collapsed in August 2007 over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is now rebuilt and open to traffic ahead of schedule.

If your vehicle can run on E85, you can save money by using E85 instead of gas. There are over 350 stations that sell E85.

  • Walker Art Center [5] and adjacent Sculpture Garden, near downtown Minneapolis.
  • Minnesota Children's Museum, 10 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, MN 55102, 651-225-6000, [6]. T-Th, Sat & Sun: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fri: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Memorial Day-Labor Day). At Minnesota Children's Museum, kids will have a blast discovering an exciting, immersive world that arouses their curiosity, increases their understanding, and ignites an appreciation for learning. Each of the Museum’s seven galleries is uniquely designed to provide a hands-on, stimulating environment for children six months to 10 years old. Roving "funstigators" engage kids in fun and interactive smart play as they blow bubbles, toss balls, play with finger puppets, and provide a variety of stimulating play experiences for children of all ages. $8.95, Children under 1: Free.  edit
  • Science Museum of Minnesota [7], in downtown Saint Paul.
  • Guthrie Theater, newly opened, June 2006
  • Valley Fair [8], a theme park located in Shakopee that includes 6 roller coasters, a water park and an assortment of family rides.
  • Canterbury Park [9], a horse race track & card club casino located in Shakopee. Card club is ope 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Live horse racing runs in summers, normally Thursday through Sunday, beginning May 15th, and ending August 30th. Famed for hosting the Claiming Crown semi-annually, a series of races with $ 600,000 in purses for claiming horses. Live racing is a much more family orientated event, with a playground and pony rides offered normally on Sundays.
  • Canal Park
  • Enger Tower
  • Glensheen Mansion [10], locally famous "haunted" mansion.
  • Great Lakes Aquarium [11] devoted exclusively to freshwater exhibits
  • Lake Superior Zoo
  • Karpeles Manuscript Museum
  • Mayo Clinic [12], an internationally-known hospital.
  • Itasca State Park [13], home to the Mississippi River headwaters.
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) [14], part of the Superior National Forest.
  • Pipestone National Monument [15], home to Native American petroglyphs.
  • Tenney, the smallest incorporated city in America, with a population of 6.
  • Grand Marais,[16], a small town on the upper tip of the Arrow Head of Minnesota, Grand Marais is about 2.4 hours northeast of Duluth by car. Not only is the lake-front drive beautful, but many refurbished portions of Highway 61 make the drive a breeze. Grand Marais is located on Lake Superior and is a port for tourist boats and those interested in open water kayaking. While visiting, make sure to stop in at World's Famous Donuts for a snack, Sivertson's Gallery for a peek at local artists, shop for gifts and outdoors gear at the Trading Post and eat dinner at the Angry Trout, a great place for a fresh caught meal and even a shot of maple syrup for dessert. During the day tourists enjoy walking around town and experiencing the north wood's culture as well as walking out on the old rock formations that create the semi-natural harbor, skip a few of the perfect gray stones and live the true north life.
  • Minneapolis Aquatennial [17]
  • St. Paul Winter Carnival [18]
  • Minnesota Irish Fair [19]
  • Svenskarnas Dag [20], one of the biggest Swedish festivals in the US, Svenskarnas Dag is held on the 4th Sunday in June at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. The day includes many traditional Swedish events such as the raising of the Midsommer Pole, singing and dancing, a morning church service and the crowning of Queen Midsommer. Authentic Scandinavian gifts and food are available for purchase.
  • Grandma's Marathon [21] is one of the top road races in the Midwest, attracting over 9,000 runners each June in Two Harbors and Duluth.
  • State Fair [22], probably the biggest and best attraction is the annual state fair. Twelve days ending Labor Day includes such notable moments as the crowning of Princess Kay of the Milky Way (who, along with her court of runners up, will become busts carved out of a life size block of butter), farm animals of all kinds, any kind of food on a stick (make sure to try a Pronto Pup corn dog) as well as evening concerts from well known bands. Tickets cost $11 for adults and $8 for kids at the gate. It opens at 6 am and closes at 12; 10 pm on Labor Day.
  • Minnesota Renaissance Festival [23], running weekends and Labor Day in August and September, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival boasts the highest attendance of all Renaissance festivals in the Midwest. Like most Renaissance festivals, it is host to a myriad of stage and street acts, jousting events, an
  • Karl Oskar Days, [24], located in a cute Minnesotan-Swedish village, Lindström, MN, known as "Americas Little Sweden". Located 45 minutes northeast on 35E from Minneapolis. A celebration of Swedish Author, Vilhelm Moberg's book of "The Emigrants," detailing the lives of Swedish immigrants to Minnesota.
  • Twins Baseball [25] The Minnesota Twins currently play in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, located at 900 S. 5th Street in Minneapolis. This is easily accessed by one of numerous bus lines, on foot, or on the Hiawatha light rail line. Tickets cost anything from $7 or so on family night to $50+ for better seats.
  • Vikings American Football [26]
  • Wild Ice Hockey [27]
  • Timberwolves Men's Basketball [28]
  • Minnesota Lynx. A WNBA team [29]
  • Swarm Men's Lacrosse [30]
  • Saints Baseball [31]
  • Eat Street Minneapolis [32] 17 blocks of ethnic restaurants in Minneapolis on Nicollet from Grant to 29th Street

Drink

As in the rest of the United States, the drinking age is 21. Minnesota has an ingrained drinking culture that is prevalent even in rural areas. Bars and restaurants that serve liquor may do so until 2am, although not all do (especially on Sunday through Thursday), and some municipalities may enforce an earlier closing time. Unlike most other states, you cannot buy alcohol in a grocery store or convenience store, unless it is "3.2 beer", which is a low-alcohol beer containing only 3.2% alcohol by weight (4% alcohol by volume). Some grocery stores don't even bother selling 3.2 beer even though they are allowed to, a testament to the state's rather prevalent drinking culture. If you want regular beer, wine, or liquor, but don't want to drink it at a restaurant or bar, then you must go to a liquor store. Although liquor stores are plentiful, they have uncommon hours that visitors should be aware of: First, liquor stores are closed on Sundays in accordance with the law, meaning that you cannot purchase any alcohol for home consumption on that day (bars and restaurants can serve alcohol on Sundays). Also, liquor stores are generally required to close fairly early (10pm or earlier). Unlike some states, the bars here generally won't sell liquor "to go". This is less of a problem if you are near the border of a neighboring state with less restrictive liquor laws. Residents of the Twin Cities region have been known to make the short drive to Wisconsin on Sundays to purchase alcohol. Despite this puritanical approach to alcohol sales, even rural towns have a fairly active drinking culture (the cliche of "more bars than churches"). Identification is checked less often than in other states, though it happens more frequently in areas with a high amount of college students or tourists.

Stay safe

In summer months, Minnesota (particularly the south) can experience somewhat violent storms and tornadoes. Minnesota also can have very cold winters and very hot summers. Be sure to pack accordingly

In winter months, make sure to check the ice thickness before going out on a frozen lake or pond. Do not park your vehicle on a lake or pond unless it is deemed safe by the local DNR officers. Never walk on river ice. It may appear safe but may not be thick enough to support your weight, due to the river current flowing underneath.

Camping

Minnesota has some really beautiful camping sites.

State parks: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/index.html

  • North Dakota - Minnesota's western neighbor is America's least visited state, but its isolation provides opportunities for uncrowded visits to the state's hills and lakes, badlands, plains, and old frontier forts.
  • South Dakota - Home to such natural and cultural wonders as Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park and Mount Rushmore, Minnesota's neighbor to the southwest offers a surprising amount for travelers to see and do.
  • Iowa - Rural Iowa is Minnesota's southern neighbor and provides the opportunity to explore America's agricultural heartland.
  • Wisconsin - The Cheese State borders Minnesota to the east.
  • Michigan - The Upper Peninsula offer wilderness areas similar to those found in Northeastern Minnesota and can be reached by heading east across Lake Superior.
  • Ontario - Located northeast of Minnesota, Northern Ontario covers 90% of the actual land mass of Ontario but only holds 6% of its population.
  • Manitoba - Minnesota's northwestern neighbor is known for its prairies, agriculture, culture and history.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Contents

English

Map of US highlighting Minnesota

Etymology

From Siouan mni (water) + sota (hazy, smokey, turbid): "cloudy water."

Pronunciation

  • (US) IPA: /ˌmɪnɨˈsoʊtə/ or /ˌmɪnɨˈsoʊɾə/
  •  Audio (US)help, file Midland English dialect | women's voice
  •  Audio (US)help, file Minnesota native dialect | men's voice
    Rhymes: -əʊtə

Proper noun

Singular
Minnesota

Plural
-

Minnesota

  1. A north-central state of the United States of America. West of Wisconsin, north of Iowa, east of South Dakota and North Dakota; south of the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario. The capital is Saint Paul.

Derived terms

Translations

See also

Anagrams


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

State of Minnesota
Flag of Minnesota State seal of Minnesota
Flag of Minnesota SealImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Nickname(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: North Star State,
The Land of 10,000 Lakes, The Gopher State
Motto(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: L'Étoile du Nord (French: The Star of the North)
Map of the United States with Minnesota highlighted
CapitalImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Saint Paul
Largest cityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Minneapolis
AreaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 12thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total 87,014 sq miImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
(225,365 km²Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Width 250 miles (400 kmImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Length 400 miles (645 km)
 - % water 8.4
 - Latitude 43° 30′ N to 49° 23′ N
 - Longitude 89° 29′ W to 97° 14′ W
PopulationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 21stImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total (2000Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif) 4,919,479
 - DensityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif 61.80/sq mi 
23.86/km² (31st)
 - Median incomeImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  $55,914 (5th)
ElevationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  
 - Highest point Eagle Mountain[1]
2,301 ft  (701 m)
 - Mean 1,198 ft  (365 m)
 - Lowest point Lake Superior[1]
602 ft  (183 m)
Admission to UnionImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  May 11, 1858 (32nd)
GovernorImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Tim Pawlenty (R)
U.S. SenatorsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Norm Coleman (R)
Amy Klobuchar (DFL)
Congressional DelegationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif ListImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Time zoneImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Central: UTC-6/-5
Abbreviations MNImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif US-MNImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Web site www.state.mn.us
Minnesota welcome sign

Minnesota file— play in browser (pronouncedImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif /ˌmɪnɨˈsoʊtə/)[2] is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. The 12th-largest state by area in the U.S., it is the 21st most populous, with just over five million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. The state is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", and those lakes and the other waters for which the state is named, together with state and national forests and parks, offer residents and tourists a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.

Nearly 60% of Minnesota's residents live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area known as the Twin Cities, the center of transportation, business, and industry, and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state, often referred to as "Greater Minnesota" or "Outstate Minnesota", consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; eastern deciduous forests, also heavily farmed and settled; and the less-populated northern boreal forest. While the state's residents are primarily white and of Northern European ancestry, substantial influxes of African, Asian, and Latin American immigrants have joined the descendants of European immigrants and of the original Native American inhabitants.

The extremes of the climate contrast with the moderation of Minnesota’s people. The state is known for its moderate-to-progressive politics and social policies, its civic involvement, and high voter turnout. It ranks among the healthiest states by a number of measures, and has one of the most highly educated and literate populations.

Contents

Etymology

The word Minnesota comes from the Dakota language name for the Minnesota River: Mnisota. The root Mni (also spelled mini or minne) means "water". Mnisota can be translated as sky-tinted water or somewhat clouded water.[3][4] Native Americans demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mnisota.[3] Many locations in the state have similar names, 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."[5]

Geography

Minnesota, showing roads and major bodies of water

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 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,[6] Minnesota is the 12th largest state.[7]

Geology and terrain

Main article: Geology of Minnesota
See also: List of lakes in Minnesota and List of Minnesota rivers
Tilted beds of the Middle Precambrian Thompson Formation in Jay Cooke State Park.[8]

Minnesota contains some of the oldest rocks found on earth, gneisses some 3.6 billion years old, or 80% as old as the planet.[8][9] 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.[8][10] The roots of these volcanic mountains and the action of Precambrian seas formed the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. Following 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.[8]

In more recent times, massive ice sheets at least one kilometer thick ravaged the landscape of the state and sculpted its current terrain.[8] The Wisconsin glaciation left 12,000 years ago.[8] 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.[11] Much of the remainder of the state outside of the northeast has 50 feet (15 m) or more of glacial till left behind as the last glaciers retreated. 13,000 years ago gigantic Lake Agassiz formed in the northwest; the lake's outflow, the glacial River Warren, carved the valley of the Minnesota River, and its bottom created the fertile lands of the Red River valley.[8] Minnesota is geologically quiet today; it experiences earthquakes infrequently, and most of them are minor.[12]

The state's high point is Eagle Mountain at 2,301 feet (701 m), which is only 13 miles (20.9 km) away from the low of 602 feet (183 m) at the shore of Lake Superior.[13][10] Notwithstanding dramatic local differences in elevation, much of the state is a gently rolling peneplain.[8]

Two continental divides meet in the northeastern part of Minnesota in rural Hibbing, forming a triple watershed. Precipitation can follow the Mississippi River south to the Gulf of Mexico, the St. Lawrence Seaway east to the Atlantic Ocean, or the Hudson Bay watershed to the Arctic Ocean.[14]

The state's nickname, The Land of 10,000 Lakes, is no exaggeration; there are 11,842 lakes over 10 acres (.04 km²) in size.[15] The Minnesota portion of Lake Superior is the largest at 962,700 acres (3,896 km²) and deepest (at 1,290 ft, 393 m) body of water in the state.[15] Minnesota has 6,564 natural rivers and streams that cumulatively flow for 69,000 miles (111,000 km).[15] The Mississippi River begins its journey from its headwaters at Lake Itasca and crosses the Iowa border 680 miles (1,094 km)

downstream.[15] 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, in the bed of glacial Lake Agassiz, drains the northwest part of the state northward toward Canada's Hudson Bay.  Approximately 10.6 million acres (42,900 km²) of wetlands are contained within Minnesota's borders, the most of any state except Alaska.[16]

Flora and fauna

Main article: Ecology of Minnesota
A groundhog seen in Minneapolis, along the banks of the Mississippi River
Three of North America's biomes converge in Minnesota: prairie grasslands in the southwestern and western parts of the state, the Big Woods deciduous forest of the southeast and east-central, and the northern boreal forest.[17] The northern coniferous 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 been logged, 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 (1,600 km²) of unlogged land.[18] Although logging continues, regrowth keeps about one third of the state forested.[19]

While loss of habitat has affected native animals such as the pine marten, elk, and bison,[20] and supports healthy populations of black bear and moose. 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 bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, and snowy owl. The lakes teem with the sport fish such as walleye, bass, muskellunge, and northern pike, and streams in the southeast are populated by brook, brown, and rainbow trout.

Climate

Main article: Climate of Minnesota
A summertime view of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus
Minnesota endures temperature extremes characteristic of its continental climate; with cold winters and hot summers, the record high and low span 174 degrees Fahrenheit (96.6 °C).[21] Meteorological events include rain, snow, hail, blizzards, polar fronts, tornadoes, thunderstorms, and high-velocity straight-line winds. The growing season varies from 90 days per year in the Iron Range to 160 days in southeast Minnesota near the Mississippi River, and mean average temperatures range from 36 °F (2 °C) to 49 °F (9 °C).[22] Average summer dewpoints range from about 58 °F (14.4 °C) in the south to about 48 °F (8.9 °C) in the north.[22][23] Depending on location, average annual precipitation ranges from 19 in (48.3 cm) to 35 in (88.9 cm), and droughts occur every 10 to 50 years.[22]

Minnesota has experienced record low temperatures of -60 on February 2, 1996 in Tower Minnesota on the southeast shore of Lake Vermillion

Protected lands

Minnesota is home to a variety of wilderness, park, and other open spaces. Minnesota's first state park, Itasca State Park, was established in 1891, and is the source of the Mississippi River.[24] Today Minnesota has 72 state parks and recreation areas, 58 state forests covering about four million acres (16,000 km²), and numerous state wildlife preserves, all managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. There are 5.5 million acres (22,000 km²) in the Chippewa and Superior National Forests. The Superior National Forest in the northeast contains the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which encompasses over a million acres (4,000 km²) and a thousand lakes. To its west is Voyageurs National Park, the state's only national park.

History

Main article: History of Minnesota
Map of Minnesota Territory 1849–1858

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.[25] Explorers such as Daniel Greysolon, Father Louis Hennepin, Jonathan Carver, Henry Schoolcraft, and Joseph Nicollet, among others, mapped out the state.

The portion of the state east of the Mississippi River became a part of the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War, when the Second Treaty of Paris was signed. Land west of the Mississippi River was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase, although a portion of the Red River Valley was disputed until the Treaty of 1818.[26] In 1805, Zebulon Pike bargained with Native Americans to acquire land at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The construction of Fort Snelling followed between 1819 and 1825.[27] Minnesota Territory was formed on March 3, 1849. Thousands of people had come to build farms and cut timber, and Minnesota became the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858.

Treaties between whites and the Dakota and Ojibwe gradually forced the natives off their lands and onto smaller reservations. As conditions deteriorated for the Dakota, tensions rose, leading to the Dakota War of 1862. The result of the six-week war was the execution of 38 Dakota—the largest mass execution in United States history—and the exile of most of the rest of the Dakota to the Crow Creek Reservation in Nebraska.[26]

Fort Snelling played a pivotal role in Minnesota's history and in the development of the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Logging and farming were mainstays of Minnesota's early economy. The sawmills at Saint Anthony Falls, and logging centers like Marine on St. Croix, Stillwater, and Winona, processed high volumes of lumber. These cities were situated on rivers that were ideal for transportation.[26] Later, Saint Anthony Falls was tapped to provide power for flour mills. Innovations by Minneapolis millers led to the production of Minnesota "patent" flour, which commanded almost double the price of "bakers" or "clear" flour, which it replaced.[28] By 1900, Minnesota mills, led by Pillsbury and the Washburn-Crosby Company (a forerunner of General Mills), were grinding 14.1% of the nation's grain.[29]

The state's iron-mining industry was established with the discovery of iron in the Vermilion Range and the Mesabi Range in the 1880s, and in the Cuyuna Range in the early 1900s. The ore was shipped by rail to Two Harbors and Duluth, then loaded onto ships and transported eastward over the Great Lakes.[26]

Industrial development and the rise of manufacturing caused the population to shift gradually from rural areas to cities during the early 1900s. Nevertheless, farming remained prevalent. Minnesota's economy was hard-hit by the Great Depression, resulting in lower prices for farmers, layoffs among iron miners, and labor unrest. Compounding the adversity, western Minnesota and the Dakotas were hit by drought from 1931 to 1935. New Deal programs provided some economic turnaround. The Civilian Conservation Corps and other programs around the state established some jobs for Indians on their reservations, and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 provided the tribes with a mechanism of self-government. This provided natives a greater voice within the state, and promoted more respect for tribal customs because religious ceremonies and native languages were no longer suppressed.[27]

After World War II, industrial development quickened. New technology increased farm productivity through automation of feedlots for hogs and cattle, machine milking at dairy farms, and raising chickens in large buildings. Planting became more specialized with hybridization of corn and wheat, and the use of farm machinery such as tractors and combines became the norm. University of Minnesota professor Norman Borlaug contributed to these developments as part of the Green Revolution.[27] Suburban development accelerated due to increased postwar housing demand and convenient transportation. Increased mobility, in turn, enabled more specialized jobs.[27]

Minnesota became a center of technology after the war. Engineering Research Associates was formed in 1946 to develop computers for the United States Navy. It later merged with Remington Rand, and then became Sperry Rand. William Norris left Sperry in 1957 to form Control Data Corporation (CDC).[30] 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.

Cities and towns

See also: List of cities in Minnesota and List of townships in Minnesota

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

Saint Paul is adjacent to Minnesota's most populous city, Minneapolis; they and their suburbs are known collectively as the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the 16th largest metropolitan area in the United States and home to about 60% of the state's population (as of April 2005).[31][32] The remainder of the state is known as "Greater Minnesota" or "Outstate Minnesota".

Minnesota has 17 cities with populations above fifty thousand (based on 2005 estimates). In descending order they are Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Rochester, Duluth, Bloomington, Plymouth, Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Coon Rapids, St. Cloud, Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Woodbury, Blaine, Lakeville, and Minnetonka.[32] Of these listed, only Rochester, Duluth, and St. Cloud are outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Minnesota's population continues to grow, primarily in the urban centers. The populations of metropolitan Sherburne and Scott Counties doubled between 1980 and 2000, while 40 of the state's 87 counties lost residents over the same decades.[33]

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Minnesota
A map of Minnesota's population density.

Population

From fewer than 6,100 people in 1850, Minnesota's population grew to over 1.75 million by 1900. Each of the next six decades saw a 15% rise in population, reaching 3.41 million in 1960. Growth then slowed, rising 11% to 3.8 million in 1970, and an average of 9% over the next three decades to 4.91 million in the 2000 census.[33] As of July 1, 2006, the state's population was estimated at 5,167,101 by the U.S. Census Bureau.[34]

Race and ancestry

Over 75% of Minnesota's residents are of Western European descent, with the largest reported ancestries being German (39%), Norwegian (17.2%), Irish (11.9%), and Swedish (9.6%).[35] As of 2005, 6.3% of residents were foreign-born, compared to 12.4% for the nation.[35][36] The state has had the reputation of being relatively homogeneous, but that is changing. The Hispanic population of Minnesota is increasing rapidly,[37] and recent immigrants have come from all over the world, including Hmong,[38] Somalis, Vietnamese, Indians and emigrants from the former Soviet bloc.

The French Renaissance style Cathedral of St. Paul in the city of St. Paul.

The state's racial composition in 2005 was:[39]

Religion

A 2001 survey indicated that 25% of Minnesota's population was Roman Catholic, and 24% was Lutheran. Other religious groups represented were Baptists (5%), Methodists (4%), Presbyterians (2%), the Assembly of God (2%), and the Church of God (2%). Christians with unstated or other denominational affiliations, including other Protestants, totaled 13%, bringing the total Christian population to 77%. Non-Christian religions, such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, together represented 3% of the population. Fourteen percent of respondents answered "no religion" on the survey, and 6% refused to answer.[40]

Economy

Main article: Economy of Minnesota

Once primarily a producer of raw materials, Minnesota's economy has transformed in the last 200 years 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.[41] The economy of Minnesota had a gross domestic product of $234 billion in 2005.[42] Thirty-six of the United States' top 1,000 publicly traded companies (by revenue in 2006) are headquartered in Minnesota,[43] including Target, UnitedHealth Group, 3M, Medtronic, General Mills, U.S. Bancorp, and Best Buy. The second-largest privately owned U.S. company, Cargill, is headquartered in Wayzata.[44] The per capita income in 2005 was $37,290, the tenth-highest in the nation.[45] The three-year median household income from 2002-2004 was $55,914, ranking fifth in the U.S. and first among the 36 states not on the Atlantic coast.[46]

Industry and commerce

The IDS Tower, designed by Philip Johnson and the state's second tallest building, reflecting César Pelli's Art Deco-style Wells Fargo Center.
Minnesota's earliest industries were fur trading and agriculture; the city of Minneapolis grew around the flour mills powered by St. Anthony Falls. Although less than 1% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector,[47] it remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking 6th in the nation in the value of products sold.[48] The state is the U.S.'s largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and green peas for processing, and farm-raised turkeys.[49] 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 over a century. Although the high-grade ore is now depleted, taconite mining continues, using processes developed locally to save the industry. In 2004, the state produced 75% of the country's usable iron ore.[49] 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.

Energy use and production

The state produces ethanol fuel and is the first to mandate its use, a 10% mix (E10) since 1997,[50] and a 20% mix (E20) in 2013.[51] There are more than 310 service stations supplying E85 fuel.[52] A 2% biodiesel blend has been required in diesel fuel since 2005. As of December 2006 the state was the country's fourth-largest producer of wind power, with 895 megawatts installed and another 200 megawatts planned, much of it on the windy Buffalo Ridge in the southwest part of the state.[53]

State taxes

Minnesota has a slightly progressive income tax structure; the three brackets of state income tax rates are 5.35%, 7.05% and 7.85%.[54] Minnesota is ranked as the 6th highest in the nation for per capita total state taxes.[55] The sales tax in Minnesota is 6.5%, but there is no sales tax on clothing, prescription medications, some services, or food items for home consumption.[56] The state legislature may allow municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 0.5% supplemental sales tax in Minneapolis.[57] 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.

Culture

Fine and performing arts

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts' Beaux-Arts north facade, designed by McKim.
The Twin Cities area is considered the artistic capital of the Upper Midwest. Its major fine art museums include the Weisman Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra are full-time professional musical ensembles that perform concerts and offer educational programs to the community. Attendance at theatrical, musical, and comedy events in the area is strong, which may be attributed to the cold winters, the large population of post-secondary students, and a generally vibrant economy. The Guthrie Theater moved into a new building in 2006, boasting three stages and overlooking the Mississippi River. In the U.S., the Twin Cities' number of theater seats per capita ranks behind only New York City;[58]

Literature

The rigors and rewards of pioneer life on the prairie were the subject of Giants in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag and of the Little House series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Small-town life was savaged by Sinclair Lewis in the novel Main Street, and more gently and affectionately satirized by Garrison Keillor in his tales of Lake Wobegon. St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote 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 famous epic poem The Song of Hiawatha was inspired by Minnesota and many places and bodies of water in the state are named in the poem.

Entertainment

First Avenue nightclub, the heart of Minnesota's music community.[10]
Main article: Music of Minnesota

Minnesotan musicians of many genres include soul star Prince, harmony singers The Andrews Sisters, rockabilly star Eddie Cochran, folk musician Bob Dylan, pop songwriters Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Johnny Lang, and Soul Asylum. Minnesota has also produced cult favorites such as Hüsker Dü and The Replacements.[10]

Minnesotans have made significant contributions to comedy, theater, and film. Ole and Lena jokes are best appreciated when delivered in the accent of Scandinavian Americans. Garrison Keillor is known around the country for resurrecting old-style radio comedy with A Prairie Home Companion, which has aired since the 1970s.[10] Local television had the satirical show The Bedtime Nooz in the 1960s, while area natives Lizz Winstead and Craig Kilborn helped create the increasingly influential Daily Show decades later. Actors from the state include Eddie Albert, Judy Garland, Jessica Lange, Winona Ryder, Vince Vaughn, Josh Hartnett, Jessica Biel, Melissa Peterman, and Johnny Lang. Joel and Ethan Coen, Terry Gilliam and Mike Todd contributed to the art of film, and others brought the offbeat cult shows Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Let's Bowl to national cable from the Twin Cities.

Popular culture

Main article: Culture of Minnesota
A youth fiddle performance at the Minnesota State Fair.
Stereotypical Minnesotan traits include manners known as "Minnesota nice," Lutheranism, a strong sense of community and shared culture, and a distinctive Upper Midwestern accent sprinkled with Scandinavian-sounding words such as uff da. Potlucks, usually with a variety of hotdish casseroles, are popular at community functions, especially church activities. Minnesota's Norwegian and Scandinavian heritage makes lutefisk a traditional holiday dish. Movies like Fargo, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men, the radio show A Prairie Home Companion and the book How to Talk Minnesotan lampoon (and celebrate) Minnesotan culture, speech and mannerisms.

The Minnesota State Fair, advertised as The Great Minnesota Get-Together, is an icon of state culture. In a state of 5.1 million people, there were nearly 1.7 million visitors to the fair in 2006.[59] The fair covers the variety of life in Minnesota, including fine art, science, agriculture, food preparation, 4H 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 dozens of varieties of food on a stick, such as Pronto Pups, cheese curds, and deep fried candy bars. On a smaller scale, these attractions are also offered at the state's many county fairs.

Other large annual festivals include the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Minneapolis' Aquatennial and Mill City Music Festival, Moondance Jam in Walker, and Detroit Lakes' 10,000 Lakes Festival and WE Fest.

Health and education

Health

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

The people of Minnesota have a high rate of participation in outdoor activities; the state is ranked first in the percentage of residents who engage in regular exercise.[60] Minnesotans have the nation's lowest premature death rate, third-lowest infant mortality rate,[61][62] and the second-longest life expectancies.[63] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 91% of Minnesotans have health insurance, more than in any other state.[64]

On 1 October 2007, Minnesota became the 17th state to enact a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and bars with the enactment of Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007.[65]

Medical care is provided by a comprehensive network of hospitals and clinics, headed by two institutions with international reputations. The University of Minnesota Medical School is a highly 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.[66] The Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned medical practice, is based in Rochester. Mayo and the University 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.[67]

Education

See also: List of colleges and universities in Minnesota, List of high schools in Minnesota, and List of school districts in Minnesota
The Richardsonian Romanesque Pillsbury Hall (1889) is one of the oldest buildings on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus.

One of the first acts of the Minnesota Legislature when it opened in 1858 was the creation of a normal school at Winona. More recently, the state ranked 13th on the 2006–2007 Morgan Quitno Smartest State Award, and is first in the percentage of residents with at least a high school diploma.[68][69] With an 84% graduation rate, Minnesota ranks 5th in the nation in high school graduation[70] and Minnesota students earn the highest average score in the nation on the ACT exam.[71] While Minnesota has chosen not to implement school vouchers,[72]

The state supports a network of public universities and colleges, currently comprised of 32 institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, and five major campuses of the University of Minnesota. It is also home to more than 20 private colleges and universities, six of which rank among the top 100 liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report.[73]

Transportation

Main article: Transportation in Minnesota

Transportation in Minnesota is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Principal transportation corridors radiate from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and Duluth. The major Interstate highways are I-35, I-90, and I-94, with I-35 and I-94 passing through the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, and I-90 going 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 40% dedicated to public transit.[74] 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.

A Hiawatha Line vehicle in Minneapolis

Minnesota's principal airport is Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), the headquarters and major passenger and freight hub for Northwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines. The airport is served by most other domestic carriers. Large commercial jet service is provided at Duluth and Rochester, with scheduled commuter service to six smaller cities via Northwest Airlines subsidiary Mesaba Airlines.[75][76]

Amtrak's Empire Builder runs through Minnesota, making stops at Midway Station in St. Paul and five other stations.[77] It is the descendant of the famous line of the same name run by the Great Northern Railway, which was built by the tycoon James J. Hill and ran from St. Paul to Seattle. Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound, Jefferson Lines, and Coach USA. Public transit in Minnesota is currently limited to bus systems in the larger cities and the Hiawatha Line light rail corridor in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Law and government

As with the federal government of the United States, power in Minnesota is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.[78]

Executive

See also: List of Governors of Minnesota and Minnesota gubernatorial election, 2006

The executive branch is headed by the governor. The current governor is Tim Pawlenty, a Republican whose first term began January 6, 2003, and who was narrowly re-elected in 2006. The current Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota is Carol Molnau, who is also the head of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The offices of governor and lieutenant governor have four-year terms. 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.

The Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul, designed by Cass Gilbert.

Legislative

The Minnesota Legislature is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. 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 sections). Senators serve for four years and representatives for two years. In the November 2006 election, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) gained 19 house seats, giving them control of the House of Representatives by 85–49. The Senate is also controlled by the DFL, who in 2006 gained 6 seats to expand their majority to 44–23.

Judicial

Minnesota's court system has three levels. Most cases start in the district courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction. There are 272 district court judges 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 sixteen judges who typically sit in three-judge panels. The seven-justice Minnesota Supreme Court hears all appeals from the Tax Court, the Worker's Compensation Court, first-degree murder convictions, and discretionary appeals from the Court of Appeals; it also has original jurisdiction over election disputes.[79]

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.

Regional

Below the city and county levels of government found in the United States, Minnesota has other entities that provide governmental oversight and planning. 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.

There are seven Anishinaabe reservations and four Dakota communities in Minnesota. These communities are self-governing.[80]

Federal

See also: Minnesota United States Senate election, 2006 and United States House elections, 2006#Minnesota

Minnesota's two United States senators are Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Amy Klobuchar. The state has eight congressional districts; they are represented by Tim Walz (1st district), John Kline (2nd), Jim Ramstad (3rd), Betty McCollum (4th), Keith Ellison (5th), Michele Bachmann (6th), Collin Peterson (7th), and James Oberstar (8th).

Federal court cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, which holds court in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Fergus Falls. Appeals are heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals based in St. Louis and St. Paul.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Minnesota
See also: List of political parties in Minnesota, United States Congressional Delegations from Minnesota, and Minnesota Congressional Districts

Minnesota is known for a politically active citizenry, and populism has been a longstanding force among the state's political parties. Minnesota has a consistently high voter turnout, due in part to its liberal voter registration laws. In the 2004 U.S. presidential election, 77.2% of eligible Minnesotans voted—the most of any U.S. state—versus the national average of 60.93%.[81] Previously unregistered voters can register on election day at their polls with evidence of residency.

In 1922, three and a half years after women earned the vote in Minnesota, four women were elected to the Minnesota State House. Only two of those women, Hannah Kempfer and Mabeth Hurd Paige remained in office for more than one term. Rep. Kempfer served from Ottertail County until 1940, and Rep. Paige served from Hennepin County until 1942. In 1975 Nancy Brataas, a pro-choice Republican from Rochester was the first woman elected to the Minnesota State Senate. In 1994, Republican candidate Judi Dutcher was the first woman elected State Auditor.

In the 2004 United States presidential election Minnesota was an important Battleground Swing State. The last time Minnesota had been a key swing state was in the 1972 United States presidential election. As a result President George W. Bush made 8 unprecedented campaign visits to Minnesota, visiting St. Louis Park, Eden Prairie and Edina.

Hubert Humphrey brought national attention to the state with his address at the 1948 Democratic National Convention. Eugene McCarthy's anti-war stance and popularity prior to the 1968 Democratic National Convention likely convinced Lyndon B. Johnson to drop out of the presidential election. 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 to have never voted for Ronald Reagan.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties have major party status in Minnesota, however, its state-level "Democratic" party is actually a separate party, officially known as the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). Formed out of a 1944 alliance of the Minnesota Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties, the DFL now serves as a de-facto proxy to the federal Democratic Party, and its distinction from the Democratic party, while still official, is now a functional technicality.

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,[82] notably in Minneapolis and Duluth, where it competes directly with the DFL party for local offices. Official "Major party" status in Minnesota (which grants state funding for elections) is reserved to parties which receive 5% or more of the state's general vote in the U.S. Presidential election. Status is revised every four years.

Senator Norm Coleman (R-M) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, defeating former Vice President and former U.S. Senator Walter Mondale (D-MN), who entered the race as the Democratic candidate after Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash on October 25, 2002. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Senator Coleman was the mayor of Saint Paul from 1994 to 2002 and served 17 years with the Minnesota Attorney General Office, holding the positions of Chief Prosecutor and Solicitor General of the State of Minnesota. In 1996, after becoming increasingly frustrated with the Democratic Party, Coleman joined the Republican Party, which more closely matched his values. In his 1997 mayoral campaign for re-election as a Republican, Coleman received 59 percent of the vote.

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 for governor and lieutenant governor, where Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Carol Molnau narrowly won re-election. The DFL also 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. At the same time Michele Bachmann became the third woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota and the first Republican woman to represent the state on Capitol Hill.[83]

Media

The Twin Cities area is the 15th 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).[84]

Broadcast television in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest started on April 27, 1948, when KSTP-TV began broadcasting.[85] Hubbard Broadcasting Corporation, which owns KSTP, is now the only locally owned television company in Minnesota. There are currently 39 analog broadcast stations and 23 digital channels broadcast over Minnesota.

The Twin Cities metro area has the state's two largest newspapers: the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. Other weekly and monthly publications (most of which are fully supported by advertising) are also available. The most prominent of these is the alternative weekly City Pages, with competitor The Rake offering a free monthly.

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 37 radio stations.[86] PRI weekly provides more than 400 hours of programming to almost 800 affiliates.[87] 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.

Sports and recreation

Organized sports

A faceoff between the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux and the Saint Cloud State University Huskies during the WCHA Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center.
Main article: Sports in Minnesota

Minnesota has professional men's teams in all major sports. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is home to the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, and to the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball, winners of the 1987 and 1991 World Series. The Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association play in the Target Center. The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild team has sold out more than 230 consecutive games in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.[88]

Minor league baseball is represented both by major league-sponsored teams and independent teams such as the popular St. Paul Saints.

Professional women's sports include the Minnesota Lynx of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Minnesota Vixen of the Women's Professional 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, with sports teams competing in either the Big Ten Conference or the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Four additional schools in the state compete in NCAA Division I ice hockey: the University of Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State University, Bemidji State University, and Minnesota State University Mankato. There are ten NCAA Division II colleges represented by the North Central Conference and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in Minnesota, and sixteen NCAA Division III colleges represented by the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.[89]

Winter Olympic Games medalists from the state include eleven 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.

Outdoor recreation

Fishing in Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.

Minnesotans participate in high levels of physical activity,[90] and many of these activities are outdoors. The strong interest of Minnesotans in environmentalism has been attributed to the popularity of these pursuits.[91]

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,[92] boating, canoeing, and fishing. More than 36% of Minnesotans fish, second only to Alaska.[93]

Fishing does not cease when the lakes freeze; ice fishing has been around since the arrival of early Scandinavian immigrants.[94] 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, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. [95]

State and national forests and the 71 state parks are used year-round for hunting, camping, and hiking. There are almost 20,000 miles of snowmobile trails statewide.[96] Minnesota has more miles of bike trails than any other state,[97] and a growing network of hiking trails, including the 235-mile Superior Hiking Trail in the northeast.[98] Many hiking and bike trails are used for cross-country skiing during the winter.

State symbols

Main article: Lists of U.S. state insignia
The Common Loon

Minnesota's state symbols represent its history, diverse landscapes, and its people's love of the outdoors. The Common Loon, as state bird, is Minnesota's best-known symbol. Its distinctive cry is heard during the summer months in the northern part of the state, and on occasion the loon can be found as far south as the lakes of Minneapolis.[99]

State symbols:[100]

  • State bird: Common Loon
  • State butterfly: Monarch
  • State drink: Milk
  • State fish: Walleye
  • State flower: Pink and white lady slipper
  • State fruit: Honeycrisp apple, which was developed at the University of Minnesota; and was adopted as part of a school project on how a bill becomes law.
  • State gemstone: Lake Superior agate
  • State grain: Wild rice
  • Territory Motto (actual): Quo sursum velo videre ("I cover to see what is above" is the closest translation)
  • Territory Motto (intended): Quae sursum volo videre ("I wish to see what is above")
  • State motto: L'Étoile du Nord ("Star of the North")
  • State muffin: Blueberry
  • State mushroom: Morel
  • State photograph: Grace
  • State song: "Hail! Minnesota"
  • State tree: Norway Pine, also known as Red Pine
  • Nicknames:
    • "Land of 10,000 Lakes"
    • "North Star State"
    • "Gopher State"
    • "Land of Sky-Blue Waters"
    • "Bread and Butter State"

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Elevations and Distances in the United States. U.S Geological Survey (2005). Retrieved on 2006-11-06.
  2. ^ Minnesota - Definitions from Dictionary.com. Retrieved on 2007-06-04.
  3. ^ a b Minnesota State. Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved on 2006-06-29.
  4. ^ Minnesota definition. Dictionary.com. Retrieved on 2006-07-06.
  5. ^ Minnehaha Creek. Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved on 2006-10-12.
  6. ^ Facts and figures. infoplease.com. Retrieved on 2006-06-22.
  7. ^ Land and Water Area of States, 2000. Information Please (2006). Retrieved on 2006-11-22.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Ojakangas, Richard W.; Charles L. Matsch (1982). Minnesota's Geology, Illus. Dan Breedy, Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-0953-5. 
  9. ^ Geologic Time: Age of the Earth. United States Geological Survey (October 9 1997). Retrieved on 2007-03-27.
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  15. ^ a b c d Lakes, rivers & wetlands. MN Facts. Minnesota DNR (2003). Retrieved on 2006-09-16.
  16. ^ {{cite book | last = Seely | middle = W. | first = Mark | title = Minnesota Weather Almanac | publisher = [[Minnesota Historical Society|]]
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  18. ^ Heinselman, Miron (1996). The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-2805-X. 
  19. ^ Bewer, Tim (2004). Moon Handbooks Minnesota, First edition, Avalon Travel Publishing. ISBN 1-56691-482-5. 
  20. ^ Bison disappeared in the mid 1800s; the last bison was reported in southwest Minnesota in 1879. Moyle, J. B. (1965). Big Game in Minnesota, Technical Bulletin, no. 9. Minnesota Department of Conservation, Division of Game and Fish, Section of Research and Planning, p. 172.  As referenced in {{cite book|title=Southwestern Minnesota Archaelogy|last=Anfinson|first=Scott F.|publisher=[[Minnesota Historical Society|]]
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  22. ^ a b c Climate of Minnesota. National Weather Service Forecast Office. Retrieved on 2006-11-05.
  23. ^ 103 Years of Twin Cities Dew Point Temperature Records: 1902–2005. Minnesota Climatology Office (March 7 2006). Retrieved on 2007-04-09.
  24. ^ Itasca State Park. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved on 2006-11-13.
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  26. ^ a b c d Lass, William E. [1977] (1998). Minnesota: A History, 2nd, New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-04628-1. 
  27. ^ a b c d {{cite book | title = The Story of Minnesota's Past | last = Gilman | first = Rhoda R. | publisher = Minnesota Historical Society Press | location = St. Paul, Minnesota | date = [[1991-07-01|]]
  28. ^ Hazen, Theodore R.. New Process Milling of 1850–70. Pond Lily Mill Restorations. Retrieved on 2007-05-11.
  29. ^ Danbom, David B. (Spring 2003). "Flour Power: The Significance of Flour Milling at the Falls". Minnesota History 58 (5): 271–285. 
  30. ^ Engineering Research Associates Records 1946–1959. Hagley Museum and Library. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  31. ^ Population in Metropolitan Statistical Areas Ranked by 2000 Census (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
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  33. ^ a b {{cite web | title = Environmental Information Report, App. D Socioeconomic Information | publisher = Minnesota Pollution Control Agency | date = [[2003-05-30|]]
  34. ^ {{cite web| title = national and state population estimates| work = Annual Population Estimates 2000 to 2006| publisher = US Census Bureau| date = [[2006-12-22|]]
  35. ^ a b Minnesota - Selected Social Characteristics. U.S. Census Bureau (2005). Retrieved on 2007-05-12.
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  37. ^ Minnesota Population Projections by Race and Hispanic Origin (PDF). Minnesota Department of Administration (2004). Retrieved on 2006-08-14.
  38. ^ Modern Language Ass'n List of Hmong Language speakers by State using 2000 census data. Modern Language Association (2004). Retrieved on 2007-03-28.
  39. ^ State Population Estimates by Selected Race Categories: July 1, 2005. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  40. ^ American Religious Identification Survey. Exhibit 15. The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Retrieved on 2006-11-24.
  41. ^ Environmental Information Report, App. D Socioeconomic Information (PDF) ([[2003-05-30|]]). Retrieved on 2006-11-19.
  42. ^ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by State. U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis ([[2006-10-26|]]). Retrieved on 2006-11-13.
  43. ^ FORTUNE 500 2006: States. CNN Money. Retrieved on 2006-11-14.
  44. ^ Hoover's via Yahoo! Finance (2007). Cargill, Incorporated Company Profile. Retrieved on 2007-05-31.
  45. ^ Regional Economic Accounts. U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Retrieved on 2007-05-12.
  46. ^ United States and States - R2001. Median Household Income. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2007-08-05.
  47. ^ Minnesota - DP-3. Profile of Selected Economic Characteristics:  2000. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  48. ^ Census of Agriculture, Minnesota State Profile. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.
  49. ^ a b Wealth of Resources. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  50. ^ Ethanol Producer Magazine. Ethanol Producer Magazine. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  51. ^ 2005 Senate Bill 4 (Ethanol Mandate Increase). Minnesota Votes. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  52. ^ The complete list of Minnesota E85 fuel Sites. Minnesota Department of Commerce. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  53. ^ Wind Energy Projects Throughout the United States of America. The American Wind Energy Association. Retrieved on 2007-05-07.
  54. ^ Minnesota income tax rates for 2005/2006. Minnesota Department of Revenue. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  55. ^ States Ranked by Total State Taxes and Per Capita Amount: 2005. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2007-03-31.
  56. ^ Sales tax fact sheets. Minnesota Department of Revenue. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
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  58. ^ {{cite web | title=Gopher Express |work= Coffman Info Desk |publisher= Regents of the University of Minnesota |date= [[2006-04-01|]]
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  61. ^ America's Health Rankings 2006. United Health Foundation (2006). Retrieved on 2006-12-05.
  62. ^ Statemaster Health Statistics > Death Rate per 100,000. Statemaster. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
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  64. ^ {{cite web| authorlink = ask.census.gov| title = The Percentage of People Without Health Insurance Coverage by State Using 2- and 3-year Averages: 2003 to 2005| work = Health Insurance Coverage: 2005| publisher = U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division| date = [[2006-08-29|]]
  65. ^ Put 'Em Out: Minnesota Smoking Ban Kicks In Monday. WCCO (29 September 2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-01.
  66. ^ University of Minnesota Medical Milestones. University of Minnesota Medical School (2002). Retrieved on 2006-08-14.
  67. ^ Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics. University of Minnesota Medical School (2002). Retrieved on 2006-08-14.
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External links

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Articles on this topic in other Wikimedia projects can be found at: Minnesota



CoordinatesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: 46° N 94° W

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Minnesota. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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Subdivision of country United States  +

This article uses material from the "Minnesota" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

State of Minnesota
File:Flag of [[File:|100px|State seal of Minnesota]]
Flag of Minnesota Seal of Minnesota
Also called: North Star State,
The Land of 10,000 Lakes, The Gopher State
Saying(s): L'Étoile du Nord (French: The Star of the North)
Capital Saint Paul
Largest city Minneapolis
Area  Ranked 12th
 - Total 87,014 sq mi
(225,365 km²)
 - Width 250 miles (400 km)
 - Length 400 miles (645 km)
 - % water 8.4
 - Latitude 43°34'N to 49°23'50.26"N
 - Longitude 89°34'W to 97°12'W
Number of people  Ranked 21st
 - Total (2010) {{{2010Pop}}}
 - Density {{{2010DensityUS}}}/sq mi 
{{{2010Density}}}/km² (31st)
 - Average income  $55,914 (5th)
Height above sea level  
 - Highest point Eagle Mountain[1]
2,301 ft  (701 m)
 - Average 1,198 ft  (365 m)
 - Lowest point Lake Superior[1]
602 ft  (183 m)
Became part of the U.S.  May 11, 1858 (32nd)
Governor Tim Pawlenty (R)
U.S. Senators Al Franken (DFL)
Amy Klobuchar (DFL)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Abbreviations MN US-MN
Web site www.state.mn.us

Minnesota is a state in the north part of the United States of America. Part of the state has a border with the country of Canada.

The capital of Minnesota is Saint Paul. The largest city is Minneapolis. Over 1 million people live in the two cities and the subburbs that surround it, which are separated by the Mississippi River. They are known as the Twin Cities.

Minnesota became a state on May 11, 1858. It was the 32nd state in the United States of America. The name Minnesota is Dakota (a Native American language) for "sky-tinted water".

Climate

Minnesota is known for its cold climate. The winters in Minnesota are very cold and snowy. Because it is so cold, the state has a short growing season. During the summer, the weather is hot and humid.

References

frr:Minnesota








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