Minnesota facts for kids
|State of Minnesota|
|Nickname(s): Land of 10,000 Lakes;
North Star State; The Gopher State; Agate State; State of Hockey.
|Motto(s): L'Étoile du Nord (French: The Star of the North)|
|Largest metro||Minneapolis–Saint Paul|
|- Total||86,936 sq mi
|- Width||c. 200–351 miles (c. 320–560 km)|
|- Length||c. 400 miles (c. 640 km)|
|- % water||8.40|
|- Latitude||43° 30′ N to 49° 23′ N|
|- Longitude||89° 29′ W to 97° 14′ W|
|Number of people||Ranked 21st|
|- Total||5,489,594 (2015 est)|
|- Density||68.9/sq mi (26.6/km2)
Ranked 30th (2015 est.)
|- Average income||$68,730 (6th)|
|Height above sea level|
|- Highest point||Eagle Mountain
2,301 ft (701 m)
|- Average||1,200 ft (370 m)|
|- Lowest point||Lake Superior
602 ft (183 m)
|Before statehood||Minnesota Territory|
|Became part of the U.S.||May 11, 1858 (32nd)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC −6/−5|
|Abbreviations||MN, Minn. US-MN|
|Minnesota state symbols|
|Flower||Pink-and-white lady's slipper|
|Gemstone||Lake Superior agate|
|Motto||L'Étoile du Nord (Star of the North)|
|State route marker|
Released in 2005
|Lists of United States state symbols|
Minnesota; is a state in the midwestern and northern regions of the United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory.
The state has a large number of lakes, and is known by the slogan "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Its official motto is L'Étoile du Nord (French: Star of the North).
Nearly 60 percent of its residents live in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area (known as the "Twin Cities"), the center of transportation, business, industry, education, and government 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 partially cleared, farmed and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the large majority of the European settlers emigrated from Scandinavia and Germany, and the state remains a center of Scandinavian American and German American culture.
- Cities and towns
- Sports, recreation and tourism
- Images for kids
The word Minnesota comes from the Dakota name for the Minnesota River: The river got its name from one of two words in the Dakota language, either 'Mnisota' which means "clear blue water", or 'Mnißota', which means cloudy water. Native Americans demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mnisota.
The state is part of the U.S. region known as the Upper Midwest and part of North America's Great Lakes Region. It shares a Lake Superior water border with Michigan and a land and water border with Wisconsin to the east. Iowa is to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota are to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba are to the north. With 86,943 square miles (225,180 km2), or approximately 2.25 percent of the United States, Minnesota is the 12th-largest state.
- See also: List of lakes in Minnesota
Minnesota has some of the Earth's oldest rocks, gneisses that are about 3.6 billion years old (80 percent as old as the planet). About 2.7 billion years ago, basaltic lava poured out of cracks in the floor of the primordial ocean; the remains of this volcanic rock formed the Canadian Shield in northeast Minnesota.
In more recent times, massive ice sheets at least one kilometer thick ravaged the landscape of the state and sculpted its terrain. The Wisconsin glaciation left 12,000 years ago. These glaciers covered all of Minnesota except the far southeast, an area characterized by steep hills and streams that cut into the bedrock. This area is known as the Driftless Zone for its absence of glacial drift.
Much of the remainder of the state outside 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 and the Upper Mississippi downstream from Fort Snelling. Minnesota is geologically quiet today; it experiences earthquakes infrequently, and most of them are minor.
The state's high point is Eagle Mountain at 2,301 feet (701 m), which is only 13 miles (21 km) away from the low of 601 feet (183 m) at the shore of Lake Superior. Notwithstanding dramatic local differences in elevation, much of the state is a gently rolling peneplain.
The state's nickname, the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", is apt, as there are 11,842 Minnesota lakes over 10 acres (4 ha) in size. The Minnesota portion of Lake Superior is the largest at 962,700 acres (389,600 ha; 3,896 km2) and deepest (at 1,290 ft (390 m)) body of water in the state. Minnesota has 6,564 natural rivers and streams that cumulatively flow for 69,000 miles (111,000 km). T
he Mississippi River begins its journey from its headwaters at Lake Itasca and crosses the Iowa border 680 miles (1,090 km) downstream. It is joined by the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling, by the St. Croix River near Hastings, by the Chippewa River at Wabasha, and by many smaller streams. The Red River, 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 (4,300,000 ha; 43,000 km2) of wetlands are contained within Minnesota's borders, the most of any state except Alaska.
Flora and fauna
Minnesota has four ecological provinces: Prairie Parkland, in the southwestern and western parts of the state; the Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Big Woods) in the southeast, extending in a narrowing strip to the state's northwestern part, where it transitions into Tallgrass Aspen Parkland; and the northern Laurentian Mixed Forest, a transitional forest between the northern boreal forest and the broadleaf forests to the south. These northern forests are a vast wilderness of pine and spruce trees mixed with patchy stands of birch and poplar.
Much of Minnesota's northern forest 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 (162,000 ha) of unlogged land. Although logging continues, regrowth and replanting keep about one third of the state forested. Nearly all of Minnesota's prairies and oak savannas have been fragmented by farming, grazing, logging, and suburban development.
While loss of habitat has affected native animals such as the pine marten, elk, woodland caribou, and bison, others like whitetail deer and bobcat thrive. The state has the nation's largest population of timber wolves outside Alaska, and supports healthy populations of black bears, moose, and gophers. Located on the Mississippi Flyway, Minnesota hosts migratory waterfowl such as geese and ducks, and game birds such as grouse, pheasants, and turkeys. It is home to birds of prey, including the largest number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states as of 2007, red-tailed hawks, and snowy owls. The lakes teem with sport fish such as walleye, bass, muskellunge, and northern pike, and streams in the southeast and northeast are populated by brook, brown, and rainbow trout.
Minnesota experiences temperature extremes characteristic of its continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. Meteorological events include rain, snow, blizzards, thunderstorms, hail, derechos, tornadoes, and high-velocity straight-line winds.
Minnesota's first state park, Itasca State Park, was established in 1891, and is the source of the Mississippi River. Today Minnesota has 72 state parks and recreation areas, 58 state forests covering about four million acres (16,000 km²), and numerous state wildlife preserves, all managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Before European settlement of North America, Minnesota was populated by a subculture of Sioux called the Dakota people. As Europeans settled the east coast, Native American movement away from them caused migration of the Anishinaabe (also known as Ojibwe) and other Native Americans into the Minnesota area.
The first Europeans in the area were French fur traders who arrived in the 17th century. Late that century, Anishinaabe migrated westward to Minnesota, causing tensions with the Dakota people. Explorers such as Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, Father Louis Hennepin, Jonathan Carver, Henry Schoolcraft, and Joseph Nicollet mapped out the state.
In 1762 the region became part of Spanish Louisiana until 1802.
Land west of the Mississippi River was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase.
The construction of Fort Snelling followed between 1819 and 1825. 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.
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. The founding population was so overwhelmingly of New England origins that the state was dubbed "the New England of the West".
Treaties between European settlers and the Dakota and Ojibwe gradually forced the natives off their lands and on to smaller reservations. In 1861, residents of Mankato formed the Knights of the Forest, with a goal of eliminating all Indians from Minnesota. 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 and the exile of most of the rest of the Dakota to the Crow Creek Reservation in Dakota Territory. As many as 800 white settlers died during the war.
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. Later, Saint Anthony Falls was tapped to provide power for flour mills. By 1900, Minnesota mills, led by Pillsbury, Northwestern and the Washburn-Crosby Company (a forerunner of General Mills), were grinding 14.1 percent of the nation's grain.
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 20th century. The ore was shipped by rail to Duluth and Two Harbors, then loaded onto ships and transported eastward over the Great Lakes.
Industrial development and the rise of manufacturing caused the population to shift gradually from rural areas to cities during the early 20th century. Nevertheless, farming remained prevalent. Minnesota's economy was 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.
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. Suburban development accelerated due to increased postwar housing demand and convenient transportation. Increased mobility, in turn, enabled more specialized jobs.
Minnesota became a center of technology after World War II. Engineering Research Associates was formed in 1946 to develop computers for the United States Navy. It later merged with Remington Rand, and then became Sperry Rand. William Norris left Sperry in 1957 to form Control Data Corporation (CDC). Cray Research was formed when Seymour Cray left CDC to form his own company. Medical device maker Medtronic also started business in the Twin Cities in 1949.
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 13th-largest metropolitan area in the United States and home to about 60 percent of the state's population. The remainder of the state is known as "Greater Minnesota" or "Outstate Minnesota".
The state has 17 cities with populations above 50,000 (as of the 2010 census). In descending order of population, they are Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Rochester, Duluth, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Plymouth, Saint Cloud, Woodbury, Eagan, Maple Grove, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Blaine and Lakeville. Of these only Rochester, Duluth, and Saint Cloud are outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Minnesota's population continues to grow, primarily in the urban centers. The populations of metropolitan Sherburne and Scott counties doubled between 1980 and 2000, while 40 of the state's 87 counties lost residents over the same period.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Minnesota was 5,489,594 on July 1, 2015.
Race and ancestry
The state's estimated racial composition in the 2011 American Census Bureau estimate was:
- White American: 86.9% (Non-Hispanic Whites 83.1%, White Hispanic 3.8%)
- African American: 5.4%
- American Indian and Alaska Native: 1.1%
- Asian: 4.0%
- Pacific Islander: 0.0%
- Other races: 2.4%
- Multiracial: 1.8%
Hispanics or Latinos made up 6.7 percent of the population.
The principal ancestries of Minnesota's residents in 2010 were surveyed to be the following:
- 37.9% German
- 32.1% from the Nordic countries; (16.8% Norwegian, 9.5% Swedish, 4.7% Finnish, Danish, Icelandic, Faroese and Karelian)
- 11.7% Irish
- 6.3% English
- 5.1% Polish
- 4.2% French
- 3.7% Italian
Once primarily a producer of raw materials, Minnesota's economy has transformed to emphasize finished products and services.
In 2008, thirty-three of the United States' top 1,000 publicly traded companies (by revenue) were headquartered in Minnesota, including Target, UnitedHealth Group, 3M, General Mills, U.S. Bancorp, Ameriprise, Hormel, Land O' Lakes, SuperValu, Best Buy and Valspar. Private companies based in Minnesota include Cargill, the largest privately owned company in the United States, and Carlson Companies, the parent company of Radisson Hotels.
Industry and commerce
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 one percent of the population is now employed in the agricultural sector, it remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking sixth in the nation in the value of products sold.
The state is the U.S.'s largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and green peas for processing, and farm-raised turkeys.
Minnesota is also a large producer of corn and soybeans.
Minnesota was famous for its soft-ore mines, which produced a significant portion of the world's iron ore for over a century.
Energy use and production
Minnesota produces ethanol fuel and is the first to mandate its use, a ten percent mix (E10). In 2005 there were more than 310 service stations supplying E85 fuel, comprising 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. A two percent biodiesel blend has been required in diesel fuel since 2005.
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.
Fine and performing arts
Minnesota's leading fine art museums include the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, and the The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA). All are located in Minneapolis. 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 Twin Cities' community. The world-renowned Guthrie Theater moved into a new Minneapolis facility in 2006, boasting three stages and overlooking the Mississippi River. Attendance at theatrical, musical, and comedy events in the area is strong. In the United States, the Twin Cities' number of theater seats per capita ranks behind only New York City; with some 2.3 million theater tickets sold annually. 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.
The rigors and rewards of pioneer life on the prairie are the subject of Giants in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag and the Little House series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Small-town life is portrayed grimly by Sinclair Lewis in the novel Main Street, and more gently and affectionately by Garrison Keillor in his tales of Lake Wobegon. St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald writes of the social insecurities and aspirations of the young city in stories such as Winter Dreams and The Ice Palace (published in Flappers and Philosophers). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha was inspired by Minnesota and names many of the state's places and bodies of water. Minnesota native Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Minnesota musicians include Bob Dylan, Eddie Cochran, The Andrews Sisters, The Castaways, The Trashmen, Prince, Soul Asylum, David Ellefson, Hüsker Dü, Owl City, and The Replacements. Minnesotans helped shape the history of music through popular American culture: the Andrews Sisters' "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" was an iconic tune of World War II, while the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird" and Bob Dylan epitomize two sides of the 1960s. In the 1980s, influential hit radio groups and musicians included Prince, The Original 7ven, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, The Jets, Lipps Inc., and Information Society.
Joel and Ethan Coen, Terry Gilliam, Bill Pohlad, and Mike Todd contributed to the art of filmmaking as writers, directors, and producers. Actors from Minnesota include Loni Anderson, Richard Dean Anderson, James Arness, Jessica Biel, Rachael Leigh Cook, Julia Duffy, Mike Farrell, Judy Garland, Peter Graves, Josh Hartnett, Garrett Hedlund, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Lange, Kelly Lynch, E.G. Marshall, Melissa Peterman, Chris Pratt, Jane Russell, Winona Ryder, Seann William Scott, Kevin Sorbo, Lea Thompson, Vince Vaughn, Jesse Ventura, and Steve Zahn.
Stereotypical traits of Minnesotans include "Minnesota nice", Lutheranism, a strong sense of community and shared culture, and a distinctive brand of North Central American English sprinkled with Scandinavian expressions.
Potlucks, usually with a variety of hotdishes, are popular small-town church activities. A small segment of the Scandinavian population attend a traditional lutefisk dinner to celebrate Christmas.
Life in Minnesota is depicted in movies such as Fargo, Grumpy Old Men, Grumpier Old Men, Juno, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Young Adult, A Serious Man, New in Town, and in famous television series like Little House on the Prairie, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, Coach, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, and Fargo. Major movies that were shot on location in Minnesota include That Was Then... This Is Now, Purple Rain, Airport, Beautiful Girls, North Country, Untamed Heart, Feeling Minnesota, Jingle All The Way, A Simple Plan and The Mighty Ducks films.
The Minnesota State Fair, advertised as The Great Minnesota Get-Together, is an icon of state culture. In a state of 5.4 million people, there were over 1.8 million visitors to the fair in 2014, setting a new attendance record. The fair covers the variety of Minnesotan life, including fine art, science, agriculture, food preparation, 4-H displays, music, the midway, and corporate merchandising. It is known for its displays of seed art, butter sculptures of dairy princesses, the birthing barn, and the "fattest pig" competition. One can also find dozens of varieties of food on a stick, such as Pronto Pups, cheese curds, and deep-fried candy bars. On a smaller scale, many of these attractions are offered at numerous county fairs.
Other large annual festivals include the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Minneapolis' Aquatennial and Mill City Music Festival, Moondance Jam in Walker, Sonshine Christian music festival in Willmar, the Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids, the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake, and the WE Fest in Detroit Lakes.
In 2006, a constitutional amendment was passed that required sales and use taxes on motor vehicles to fund transportation, with at least 40 percent dedicated to public transit.
There are nearly two dozen rail corridors in Minnesota, most of which go through Minneapolis–St. Paul or Duluth.
Minnesota's principal airport is Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP), a major passenger and freight hub for Delta Air Lines and Sun Country Airlines. Most other domestic carriers serve the airport. Large commercial jet service is provided at Duluth and Rochester, with scheduled commuter service to four smaller cities via Delta Connection carriers SkyWest Airlines, Compass Airlines, and Endeavor Air.
Amtrak's daily Empire Builder (Chicago–Seattle/Portland) train runs through Minnesota, calling at the Saint Paul Union Depot and five other stations. Intercity bus providers include Jefferson Lines, Greyhound, and Megabus. Local public transit is provided by bus networks in the larger cities and by two rail services. The Northstar Line commuter rail service runs from Big Lake to the Target Field station in downtown Minneapolis. From there, light rail runs to Saint Paul Union Depot on the Green Line, and to the MSP airport and the Mall of America via the Blue Line.
Sports, recreation and tourism
Minnesota has a very active program of organized amateur and professional sports. Tourism has become an important industry, especially in the Lake region. In the North Country, what had been an industrial area focused on mining and timber has largely been transformed into a vacation destination. Popular interest in the environment and environmentalism, added to traditional interests in hunting and fishing, has attracted a large urban audience within driving range.
Minnesotans participate in high levels of physical activity, and many of these activities are outdoors. The strong interest of Minnesotans in environmentalism has been attributed to the popularity of these pursuits.
In the warmer months, these activities often involve water. Weekend and longer trips to family cabins on Minnesota's numerous lakes are a way of life for many residents. Activities include water sports such as water skiing, which originated in the state, boating, canoeing, and fishing. More than 36 percent of Minnesotans fish, second only to Alaska.
Fishing does not cease when the lakes freeze; ice fishing has been around since the arrival of early Scandinavian immigrants. Minnesotans have learned to embrace their long, harsh winters in ice sports such as skating, hockey, curling, and broomball, and snow sports such as cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Minnesota is the only U.S. state where bandy is played.
State and national forests and the seventy-two state parks are used year-round for hunting, camping, and hiking. There are almost 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of snowmobile trails statewide. Minnesota has more miles of bike trails than any other state, and a growing network of hiking trails, including the 235-mile (378 km) Superior Hiking Trail in the northeast. Many hiking and bike trails are used for cross-country skiing during the winter.
Images for kids
Minnesota Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.