The history of Minnesota is comprised of several different periods: Native American inhabitation after the last Ice Age, exploration by explorers and fur traders during the 1600s and 1700s, land acquisition by the United States in the late 1700s and early 1800s, and the eventual foundation as Minnesota Territory in 1849 and the 32nd US state on May 11, 1858.
The first people who came to the region that now forms Minnesota during the last Ice Age, following herds of large game. The Anishinaabe, the Sioux, and the other Native American inhabitants of the region represent the ancestors of these first early settlers. European presence began with the coming of French fur traders in the 1600s. During the 1800s most of the Native American population was pushed out as American settlers moved westward. By 1858, thousands of people had come to build farms and cut timber, and Minnesota achieved statehood.
Native American inhabitationEdit
Prior to European colonization, the region was primarily inhabited by Native Americans. There were tribes of Ojibwa (Sometimes called Chippewa, or Anishinaabe) and Dakota, with some Winnebago presence in the southeastern part of the region. Prior to these tribes the Cheyenne and Gros Ventre tribes were present in the region. The economy was chiefly based on hunter-gatherer activities.
According to local lore, the first European visitors were Swedish and Norwegian Vikings in the 14th century. The evidence for this is largely based on the controversial Kensington Runestone, which is considered to be an elaborate hoax.
Noted European explorers of Minnesota:
- Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, 1679 - French trader who visited the Mille Lacs Lake area
- Michel Aco and Father Louis Hennepin, 1679 - explored the upper Mississippi River; first Europeans to see Saint Anthony Falls; taken captive at Mille Lacs Lake until du Lhut appealed for their release
- Pierre-Charles Le Sueur, 1700 - explored the Minnesota River to the Blue Earth area
- Jonathan Carver, 1766-67 - explored Mississippi and Minnesota River valleys, rediscovered Carver's Cave; wintered on Lake Waconia in what is now Carver County, named for him
- Zebulon Pike, 1805 - traveled to the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers and bargained with the Dakota Indians for land to establish Fort Snelling
- Henry Schoolcraft, 1832 - discovered Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the Mississippi River
- Joseph Nicollet, 1836-1839 - led several expeditions up the Mississippi River, St. Croix River, the Pipestone quarries, and the land between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers 
Territorial foundation and settlementEdit
Fort Snelling was one of the earliest U.S. military presences in the state. The land for the fort, at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, was acquired in 1805 by Zebulon Pike. When concerns mounted about the fur trade in the area, construction of the fort began in 1819. Construction was completed in 1825, and Colonel Josiah Snelling and his officers and soldiers left their imprint on the area. They built roads, planted crops, built a grist mill and a sawmill at Saint Anthony Falls, and mediated disputes between Dakota and Ojibwa. Meanwhile, tourists, government officials, settlers, and immigrants from Lord Selkirk's unsuccessful colony in Canada started settling in the vicinity of the fort. The Army eventually forced those settlers, including the colorful Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant, to move downriver in 1839. They settled in the area that became Saint Paul, Minnesota. Fort Snelling is now a historic site operated by the Minnesota Historical Society.
In the 1850s Fort Snelling played a key role in the infamous Dred Scott case. Slaves Dred Scott and his wife were taken to the fort by their master, John Emerson. They lived at the fort and elsewhere in territories where slavery was prohibited. After Emerson's death, the Scotts argued that since they had lived in free territory, they were no longer slaves. Ultimately, the Supreme Court sided against the Scotts. Dred Scott Field, located just a short distance away in Bloomington, is named in the memory of Fort Snelling's significance in one of the most important legal precedents in U.S. History. FORT SNELLING is an awesome place to learn about and meet. i hope that you enjoyed this description. :)!!!!!!
All of the land east of the Mississippi River was granted to the United States by the Second Treaty of Paris at the end of the American Revolution in 1783. This included what would become modern day Saint Paul (but only part of Minneapolis), including the northeast, north-central and east-central portions of the state. Most of the state, was purchased in 1803 from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The northern border between Minnesota and British North America was disputed until 1818. At the time it was erroneously believed that the Mississippi River ran well into modern Canada, making some earlier agreements flawed. Parts of northern Minnesota were considered to be in Ruperts Land. The exact definition of the boundary was not addressed until the Anglo-American Convention of 1818, which set the border at the 49th parallel west of the Lake of the Woods (except for a small chunk of land now dubbed the Northwest Angle). Border disputes east of the Lake of the Woods continued until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.
Throughout the first half of the 19th century, the northeastern portion of the state was a part of the Northwest Territory, then the Illinois Territory, then the Michigan Territory, and finally the Wisconsin Territory. The west and south areas of the state were not formally organized until 1838, when they became part of the Iowa Territory.
After Wisconsin and Iowa achieved statehood, the Minnesota Territory was carved out of the remaining land and established on March 3, 1849. The Minnesota Territory extended far into what is now North Dakota and South Dakota, all the way to the Missouri River.
The eastern half of the Minnesota Territory became the country's 32nd state on May 11, 1858. The remaining western part fell unorganized until its incorporation into the Dakota Territory on March 2, 1861.
Civil War era and Sioux UprisingEdit
Although Minnesota was a new state when the American Civil War started, it was the first to contribute troops to the Union effort, with about 22,000 Minnesotans serving. The 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry was particularly important to the Battle of Gettysburg. Meanwhile, trouble was brewing in Minnesota as the Sioux Uprising of 1862 broke out. The Dakota had signed the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux and Treaty of Mendota in 1851 because they were concerned that without money from the United States government, they would starve. They were initially given a strip of land of ten miles north and south of the Minnesota River, but they were later forced to sell the northern half of the land. In 1862, crop failures left the Dakota with food shortages, and government money was delayed. The conflict was ignited when four young Dakota men, searching for food, shot a family of white settlers. The ensuing battles at the Lower Sioux Agency, Fort Ridgely, Birch Coulee, and Wood Lake punctuated a six-week war, which ended with 425 Indians tried for their participation in the war. Of this number, 303 men were convicted and sentenced to death. Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple pled to President Abraham Lincoln for clemency, and the death sentences of all but 38 men were reduced to prison terms. On December 26, 1862, the 38 men were hanged in the largest mass execution in the United States. Many of the remaining Dakota Indians were confined in a prison camp at Fort Snelling over the winter of 1862-1863, and they were later exiled to the Crow Creek Reservation, then later to a reservation near Niobrara, Nebraska. A small number of Dakota Indians managed to return to Minnesota in the 1880s and established small communities near Granite Falls, Morton, Prior Lake, and Red Wing.
Early settlement and developmentEdit
One area of early economic development in Minnesota was the logging industry. Loggers found the white pine especially valuable, and it was plentiful in the northeastern section of the state and in the St. Croix River valley. Before railroads, lumbermen relied mostly on river transportation to bring logs to market, which made Minnesota's timber resources attractive. Towns like Marine on St. Croix and Stillwater became important lumber centers fed by the St. Croix River, while Winona was supplied by areas in southern Minnesota and along the Minnesota River. St. Anthony, on the east bank of the Mississippi River in what became Minneapolis, became an important lumber milling center supplied by the Rum River. The unregulated logging practices of the time and a severe drought took their toll in 1894, when the Great Hinckley Fire ravaged 350,000 acres in the Hinckley area.
Farming and railroad developmentEdit
After the Civil War, Minnesota also became an attractive region for immigration and settlement as farmland. Minnesota's population in 1870 was 439,000; this number tripled during the two subsequent decades. The Homestead Act made it easy for settlers to claim land, which was regarded as being cheap and fertile. The railroad industry, led by the Northern Pacific Railway and St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (a predecessor of the Great Northern Railway), advertised the many possibilities of the state and worked to get immigrants to settle in Minnesota. Other railroads, such as the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad and the Milwaukee Road, played an important role in the early days of Minnesota's statehood. Later railways, such as the Soo Line Railroad and Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway, served as outlets for Minneapolis grain and other products, although they were not as involved in attracting settlers.
Saint Anthony Falls played an important part in the development of Minneapolis. The power of the waterfall first fueled sawmills, but later it was tapped to serve grist mills. In 1870, only a small number of the state's flour mills were in the Minneapolis area. Advances in transportation and milling technology combined to give Minneapolis a dominance in the milling industry. Spring wheat could be sown in the spring and harvested in late summer, but it posed special problems for milling. To get around these problems, Minneapolis millers implemented innovative processes to remove the husks of the wheat kernels and to gradually pulverize the middlings. This strategy resulted in the production of Minnesota "patent" flour, widely regarded as the finest bread flour of its time. Pillsbury and the Washburn-Crosby Company (a forerunner of General Mills) became the leaders in the Minneapolis milling industry. By 1900, Minnesota mills were grinding 14.1 percent of the nation's grain. This leadership in milling declined as milling was no longer dependent on water power, but the dominance of the mills contributed greatly to the economy of Minneapolis and Minnesota as a whole.
At the end of the 19th century, several forms of industrial development shaped Minnesota. In 1882, a hydroelectric power plant was built at St. Anthony Falls, marking one of the first developments of hydroelectric power in the United States. Iron mining began in northern Minnesota with the opening of the Soudan Mine in 1884. The Vermilion Range was surveyed and mapped by a party financed by Charlemagne Tower, for whom the town of Tower is named. Ely also started as a mining town with the foundation of the Chandler Mine in 1888. Soon after, the Mesabi Range was established when ore was found just under the surface of the ground in Mountain Iron. The Mesabi Range ultimately had much more ore than the Vermilion Range, and it was easy to extract because it was so close to the surface. As a result, open-pit mines became well-established on the Mesabi Range, with 111 mines operating by 1904. To ship the iron ore to refineries, railroads such as the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway were built from the iron ranges to Two Harbors and Duluth on the edge of Lake Superior. Large ore docks were used at these cities to load the iron ore onto ships for transport east on the Great Lakes. The mining industry also helped to propel Duluth from a small town to a large, thriving city. In 1904, iron was discovered in the Cuyuna Range in Crow Wing County. Between 1904 and 1984, when mining ceased, more than 106 million tons of ore were mined. Iron from the Cuyuna Range also contained significant proportions of manganese.
Urbanization and governmentEdit
A consequence of industrialization was that the population tended to cluster more into urban areas. Around 1900, the Twin Cities were becoming a center of commerce, led by the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and the foundation of the Federal Reserve Bank with its ninth district being in Minneapolis. Many of the businessmen who had made money in the railroad, flour milling, and logging industries lived in the Twin Cities. They started to donate money for cultural institutions such as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (now the Minnesota Orchestra). The parks of Minneapolis became famous, and the new Minnesota State Capitol building and the Cathedral of Saint Paul attracted attention to Saint Paul.
The role of government also grew during the early 20th century. In the rural era, most people got food and manufactured goods from neighbors and other people they knew personally. As industry and commerce grew, goods such as food and medicines were no longer made by neighbors, but by large companies. In response, citizens called on their government for consumer protection, inspection of goods, and regulation of public utilities. The growth of the automobile spurred calls to develop roads and to enforce traffic laws. The state officially started its trunk highway system in 1920, with the passage of the Babcock Amendment that established 70 Constitutional Routes around the state. Additional regulation was necessary for banking and insurance. The safety of industrial workers and miners became an increasing concern, and brought about the workers' compensation system. Since government was getting more complex, citizens demanded more of a role in their government, and became more politically active.
The period of the Great Depression had its impact on Minnesota, with layoffs on the Iron Range and a drought in the Great Plains from 1931 through 1936. A truckers' strike in Minneapolis in 1934 turned ugly, with the union demanding the right to speak for all trucking employees. As a result of this strike and many others across the nation, Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act in 1935. Government programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration brought much-needed work projects to the state. Congress also passed the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934, giving Minnesota's Ojibwa and Dakota tribes more autonomy over their own affairs.
Post-World War IIEdit
Agriculture became a major industry after World War II. Many technological developments increased productivity on farms, such as automation of feedlots for hogs and cattle, machine milking at dairy farms, and raising chickens in large buildings. Planting also became more specialized with hybridization of corn and wheat, and mechanical equipment such as tractors and combines became the norm. University of Minnesota professor Norman Borlaug contributed to this knowledge as part of the Green Revolution.
Suburban development intensified after the war, fueled by the demand for new housing. In 1957, the Legislature created a planning commission for the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. This became the Metropolitan Council in 1967.
Minnesota also 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 later 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 got its start in the Twin Cities in 1949.
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